Create your future @ NCC



Who we are and what we do. . . . .

The Child Development Center and Laboratory School (CDLS) fulfills two primary purposes.

The CDLS provides students, faculty and staff and the community  high quality child-care program that foster children's development in a warm and nurturing environment. 

The CDLS also serves as a learning center for Early Childhood Education students with a forum for observing and practicing the methods and theories taught in our academic program.

Our staff includes the director, lead teacher,  3 teachers and 3 assistant teachers and an administrative assistant. 

Mission Statement

The CDLS at Norwalk Community College is dedicated to providing high quality training and support to our early childhood education students.  Our program is committed to quality education for children (ages 6 months to 5 years) and their families.



We support and nurture the growth of each individual child in all areas of development:  social, emotional, physical, cognitive and creative.  These areas are very important to the development of the whole child.

We want each child's experience to be a positive one, filled with activities that are both challenging and rewarding.  We will provide and maintain a classroom setting that is emotionally secure, supportive and planned for independence.  Our program is aimed at teaching the child how to think rather than what to think, and is more concerned with forming the mind rather than with filling the mind.




Due to the tireless efforts of the college administration and the first Early Childhood Coordinator, Professor Darlene Ragozzine, the Child Development Laboratory School (CDLS) at NCC was first opened in the fall of 1988 on Wilson Avenue, former home of Norwalk Community College.  In addition to the initial set-up funds appropriated by the 1987 Connecticut State Legislature, outside funding was provided by the Student Advisory Board and the Friends of Norwalk Community College.  The funding and opening of the Center was truly a collaborative effort uniting the college administration, students, faculty, staff and the business community.

The present CDLS opened in the fall of 1991, doubling the size of its operating site and incorporating an observation room for parents, NCC staff and students to view and record children's progress.  In 1994, Kathy Croaning became the coordinator of the ECE Program and continued to strengthen the program and its mission until her death in 1999.  The center was named in her honor in the spring of 2000.


Educational Framework

The CDLS offers quality early care and education for children ages six months to five years of age.  The professional staff involves the director and experienced teachers who establish a classroom environment and curriculum to foster each individual child"s emotional, physical, intellectual and social development.  The physical arrangement, daily schedule and routines are designed to suit individual and group needs. The CDLS also offers an opportunity for Early Childhood Education students to observe and practice theories and methods taught through the academic program at Norwalk Community College.  The CDLS staff and the ECE Program staff are unified in the presentation and implementation of developmentally appropriate practices for young children.