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Institute of Child Development Opens in New Location

Bridges Magazine words

Institute of Child Development Opens in New Location

child sitting on the floor playing with blocks
woman in a hot pink top standing next to another woman in a pink top and gray sweater. Both are smiling for the camera.
three women standing together in a classroom smiling at the camera
child in a pink top standing next to her mother in a blue shirt, holding musical instrument
people standing around in a classroom with tables in the middle
picture of a classroom with a table in the middle and a bookcase along the wall
picture of a school classroom with a table in the middle and toy shelves against a wall
3 children playing outside on a hill
a whiteboard in the middle of a classroom with the words "Welcome to the Willow Classroom"

The Institute of Child Development celebrated a grand opening at its new location on  Oct. 15. After spending the past six years at an off-campus location, the school has returned to campus at its new location at 2727 Asp Ave.

At this event, current families, teachers and administrators, as well as former teachers and administrators, toured the building, which underwent extensive renovations before opening in August. Visitors to the new location will find a setup focusing on a natural learning environment for children, including new furniture and a playground/outdoor space under construction in partnership with Oklahoma Electric Cooperative and Engage Learning Oklahoma. In the coming years, as all phases of the outdoor classroom and play space are completed, it will become a showcase for other schools and a model for what is possible in early childhood education.


The new location also includes a wellness area for teachers and continues to serve as a learning environment for pre-service teachers with classrooms and observation areas.

“This new location affords us the opportunity to expand our offerings and our community engagement and for the school to continue educating young children and helping to prepare future teachers,” said Stacy Reeder, dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education. “It is also a place and space of learning about young children through transdisciplinary applied research.”

The ICD, as it is regularly referred to, opened in 1935 in response to widespread interest at the time in promoting young children’s development through nursery schools. Originally, the ICD was a division of the Department of Human Development, under the auspices of the School of Home Economics, until the early 1980’s, when the School of Home Economics closed. The ICD was then transferred to the Department of Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum as part of the Early Childhood Education program within the College of Education.


For the past four decades, the Institute of Child Development has focused on two primary goals:

  • Providing a developmentally appropriate environment for future early childhood educators to observe and interact with young children, and
  • Providing young children with the very best educational opportunities during the early childhood years.


Inspired by a Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, the institute strives to help young children achieve autonomy and self-control through

  • Self-selected center learning experiences and projects,
  • Encouraging them to be responsible for their personal needs, wants, actions and behaviors and examining the consequences of their actions, and
  • Helping them develop an understanding of the physical characteristics of objects in their world.

The ICD is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs and is an Oklahoma 3 Star Program, the highest quality ranking available. Rebecca Waggoner serves as director of the Institute, along with Assistant Director Kitty Sylvester. For more information, visit