Early Learning Center

Letter from the Director

Welcome to the Early Learning Center at the University of Delaware. Thank you for choosing to partner with us to support the growth, development and learning of your child. The Early Learning Center is a “learning space” and is home to a diverse community -children and families, ELC staff,  faculty, UD students, and community partners joining together in an effort to impact each other and promote promising practices where all members blossom, and each learner’s abilities and gifts are able to flourish.

The values and beliefs of the Early Learning Center are evident in the way children and adults engage with each other and the environment daily.

We believe all individuals need to learn in a culture that promotes:

  • Confidence and Creativity: We see children as competent members of society from birth. We value their creativity and nurture their development and learning. We support the need for autonomy and help children and adults discover ways to continually grow and evolve.
  • Teamwork and Partnerships: We see children as members of our learning team. Teamwork is our support system and allows all members of the ELC to effectively work on individual and long-term goals. Adults honor the thinking of all participants of the learning community and communicate in ways to support the optimal outcome for everyone involved.
  • Compassionate and Responsive Learning:  We see the environment as an extension of our learning. How we care for and develop our spaces for learning will direct the way we behave in the space. Just as humans evolve, we hope our learning environments are also continually evolving and reflect the ongoing learning that takes place at the Early Learning Center.

The Educational Leadership Team includes four Associate Directors, Kelly Freel  Infant-Toddler Specialist; Jessica Peace Preschool/PreK and School-Age Specialist, Kathy Kampe Classroom Support and Marketing Specialist and Jissell Martinez Fiscal and Human Resource Specialist.
Our InfantToddler program is a state of the art child development program where educators engage with families and children to promote healthy, supportive learning opportunities for our youngest members and challenge their curiosity and language development as they learn to understand self and the world around them.

As children transition from the Infant-Toddler world, they are met with great expectation in our quality preschool and Pre-K program. Our educators welcome children and families into group learning experiences where children will begin to discover more about friendship, exploring increasing complex ideas and learning more about how our language and communication skill will set the foundation for later reading and lifelong learning.

Additionally, the ELC provides before and after care for children in grades K through 3rd grade who attend Las Aspiras Academy, West Park Elementary or Newark Charter.  We also offer summer camp for school age children, K-3rd grade.

The ELC supports the continual learning and development of all staff. As a way to assure teachers, child development specialists and all support specialists have time to meet, make decisions with families and continue to grow and develop, we provide thoughtful coverage with qualified part-time team members.

We are confident you have chosen the best early learning environment for your child/children. We strive to provide a learning space for all individuals across the age-span and look forward to partnering with you as we support the learning and development of your child.

About a year ago, the ELC began work with the Anti-Bias Curriculum; please click on the link to learn more.

Anti-Bias Curriculum


Diana Morello-DeSerio, EdD., Director ELC

Kelly Freel, Associate Director Infant-Toddlers

Jessica Peace, Associate Director Preschool/School-Age