The Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Child and Family Development Center became a reality when the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Menorah Medical Center partnered to create an early childhood school. The partnership created a multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art learning facility for professional development and research. The UMKC School of Education administers the center and the State of Missouri licenses the center. The Center holds voluntary accreditation through the National Association for the Education Young Children.
We offer open enrollment to all children & families however UMKC faculty, staff, and students do have first priority. Siblings of children already attending Berkley have priority of all children enrolled.
As a laboratory school, we strive to incorporate diversity throughout our program. Therefore, once the program is full, or where there are a limited number of spaces, enrollment consideration will be given to individual applications.
The center opened June 1, 1993. The center operates from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. In addition to closing for major legal holidays, the center closes to regular enrollment the second Friday of each month. The school uses these Fridays for faculty/staff development days.
All faculty/staff are highly educated and have a wealth of knowledge to share. Most teachers have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education and experience in early childhood education/child development or a related field. Some teachers have a master’s degree or are working towards a masters degree. Co-teachers have a minimum of an associate’s degree or equivalent education and experience. Most of the part-time staff members have years of experience and are university students. In order to maintain our high standards of teacher education, faculty/staff collaboration and curriculum development, Berkley closes for regular enrollment on the second Friday of each month for faculty/staff development days.
Classroom design allows for both children and adults comfort of surroundings. All rooms have many windows allowing filtration of natural light. In addition, the windows allow children opportunities for exploration from different perspectives. Classrooms project a home-like, beautiful, rich environment.
Philosophy on working with children
The Berkley CFDC is a learning laboratory dedicated to reflecting state-of-the-art practices in working with children, families, and other adults. Firmly embedded in our philosophy are the construct of educational theorist such as Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Erikson. As theories suggest, children learn through their individual experiences, with the world. When children build upon experiences they “construct” knowledge by building new experiences and connecting them to prior knowledge. Young children are active and curious participants in the construction of their knowledge. Teachers challenge children to make predictions, to explore, to discover, to challenge, to represent and to reorganize their ways of thinking.
Positive development of self-image is important and is a priority in aspects of program planning. Teachers provide opportunities for learning in an environment of respect and trust between and among all participants, young and old. In building upon trusting, respectful relationships, teachers learn the needs of individual children and plan for the successful fulfillment of those needs. The unique qualities of each child and adult are valued and differences are respected. We create an environment of cooperation and collaboration to enhance the process of learning to work together.
Understanding that the young child is a member of his/her family, it is our goal to collaborate with family members, in creating the best environment for each child. Building an equal relationship between family, child and teacher is a cornerstone of our philosophy.
Unique Features of the Berkley CFDC
We strive to model and emulate the components of high quality early childhood education. Berkley participates in the Quality Assurance project and is a pilot project for the Missouri Quality Rating System.
Early childhood research indicates there are three factors of quality. These factors include: ratio, faculty education, and family involvement. We build these quality indicators into our programming.
Ratios are often smaller than that required by licensing. The Berkley CFDC maintains a two teachers to 8 children ratio in the infant and toddler classrooms; Once all children are over two a 1 teacher to 6 children is maintained and a one teacher to ever 10 preschool children (all children are 3 and older.)
Our teacher qualifications, as stated previously, far exceed any current requirements in the field. Along with requiring a minimum 21 professional hours, many of our teachers work towards advanced degrees. In addition, our teachers provide numerous seminars for the community.
The school involves families throughout our program. We host an active Family Involvement Program (FIP) (similar to a PTA), where families work to benefit the school. Families join committees where they can utilize their talents and interests. Furthermore, within the FIP, we involve families on a daily basis through verbal communication, lunch, field trips, etc. Additionally, our families work with us on the advisory committee, in interviewing personnel, and in volunteering in their child’s classroom.
Thank you for your interest in our unique program.