Philosophy & Mission


It is the ECRC philosophy that learning is a developmental process and children learn through play. The Center has adopted a program, which stresses the interaction of social, emotional, intellectual, and physical aspects of growth. This program fosters creativity. Development of self-esteem, concern and acceptance for others, curiosity, autonomy, self-motivation, and physical activity are encouraged through staff direction and active play. Children learn to make choices and to be responsible for them. They are encouraged to share, problem solve, and collaborate with each other in a trusting, non-competitive environment. The multi-age classroom nurtures cooperation, camaraderie and a sense of self. The multicultural atmosphere, prepare the children for their lives in a global society.


The mission of the ECRC has three distinct components. First, it provides a model early childhood education program that serves children between the ages of 21 months and eight years old. Second, the center serves as a resource for quality enhancement and professional development for early care and education programs and pre-service and in-service teachers of young children. And, finally, the ECRC provides a context in which to enhance the body of knowledge, through research, regarding teaching and child development, while offering an opportunity for professionals to practice developing skills.

Early Childhood Education Mission

In concert with national guidelines, the focus of our preschool program is on children learning and developing through child-centered, play-based activities. New York State Preschool Standards are incorporated into developmentally appropriate activities to foster a joy of learning and insure that the children served are well prepared to succeed academically. The center is designed to provide a safe, nurturing environment where the child's physical, mental, and emotional development and well-being are of utmost importance. Our program strives as well to support families, respect their language and culture, and promote diversity in our classrooms.

Teacher Education Mission

We provide excellent, hands-on teacher preparation in early childhood education in a naturalistic setting, which also offers opportunities to learn about child and family development. Each semester, approximately 40 undergraduate students, enrolled in Supervised Teaching in Early Childhood, complete their practicum experience at ECRC. Our model facility, which includes digital recording and an observation room, provides a setting for practitioners to try new skills, while also receiving support and assistance.

Over 400 students per semester from several departments at UB — including education, psychology, social sciences, occupational therapy, and communication disorders — use the Observation Room to document their experiences, practice specific skills learned in classes, or complete environmental assessments. This affords them the ability to study the children without being intrusive to their play and learning, and hone valuable, practical skills in providing educational services.

Community Outreach Mission

The ECRC is committed to serving the community by providing consultation toward quality enhancement. Consultation includes program assessment and facilitation of strategic planning, as well as a variety of other areas to meet the needs of early care and education providers and the families they serve. We consult on site or at our center and provide workshops on a multitude of early childhood education topics.

Research Mission

The research mission at the ECRC is to provide a naturalistic setting for researchers to observe and study children, in order to enhance the current body of knowledge relevant to all aspects of early childhood education and development. We have state of the art technology that provides digital data of all research sessions, a flexible schedule, and a diverse population of children that can be part of research studies. We welcome researchers from UB, the community and other institutes as well.