Our Philosophy

We believe children learn best when they are the key component in their own development and education. This means our curricula are designed to emphasize play and first-hand experiences that encourage curiosity and love of learning. Our ultimate goal is that through early intervention and education, each child will succeed in their future academic and life endeavors.  The ELC’s commitment to quality education and care extends beyond the classroom to the home and the research field. The Early Learning Center provides:

  • Services for families, including assessments, intervention services and parenting education
  • Technical assistance and training for child care providers to continuously improve teaching methods across the state
  • A laboratory for faculty and student researchers and a hands-on learning site for undergraduate and graduate students to contribute to the field of early childhood education

Community Partners

The ELC has a close relationship with community programs such as:

Our Population

Diversity is key to any education, and the ELC is committed to accepting children of all backgrounds and needs.

Our ELC Newark enrollment includes, but is not limited to, children with special needs, children receiving Purchase of Care, children living in foster care, and children of UD employees. 

Our ELC Wilmington enrollment is comprised of children in the New Directions Early Head Start Program.

Our Locations

The Early Learning Center currently operates in two locations in Delaware:


ELC Newark

Open since June 2004 as an extension of the UD College of Education and Human Development, the Newark Center is accredited by The National Association for the Education of Young Children.




ELC Wilmington

The state-accredited Wilmington Center operates in the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington. Both centers feature state-of-the-art facilities and staff that meet or exceed state and/or NAEYC accreditation standards.



The University of Delaware does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation in its programs and activities as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statures and University policies.