Faculty & Staff

Philosophy for Education and Care of Children

The staff of the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) is committed to providing a high quality program for young children and their families.  The program is nationally accredited through NAEYC and is designed to promote the development of the total individual by helping each child to develop skills in the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive areas.  This is accomplished by providing a balanced program that includes both teacher-directed and child initiated activities, quiet as well as active experiences, and the recognition that learning occurs in both formal and informal settings, especially through play.

Young children are integrally connected to their homes and families, and it is understood that families are and should be the principle influence in their children's lives.  The ECDC seeks to be appropriately responsive to families.  Parents, teachers, and staff work together toward the goal of nurturing children in an environment where all are respected for their individual differences and provided with the building blocks for a lifelong love of learning.

The Early Childhood Development Center's philosophy is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach and is based on the knowledge that young children learn through active exploration of their environment. This occurs optimally when their physical needs are met and they feel emotionally secure. Instilling in children a sense of security and trust will be of utmost importance. Staff will create classroom learning environments appropriate to the developmental needs of the various age groups and will provide for the needs of individual children.

The ECDC is a ‘living laboratory’ where adults as well as children come to learn. We believe that we learn from the children just as much as they are learning from us. Teachers are co-collaborators with children. Teachers are guiding, mentoring, and modeling, but also observing, reflecting, and hypothesizing. Teachers are researchers, studying the changes that individual children have as they grow, as well as the changes in the group and between group members. Our teachers are curious, interested, and enthusiastic about how children learn, and how children show us what they know. We understand that much of what children show us about their learning and understanding of the world is not through verbal communication.

Points of Pride

Nationally Accredited and High State Rating

  • UM-Flint is one of only two NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accredited programs in Genesee County and the only accredited program serving infants and toddlers.

  • Completed 4th year annual report and renewal submission as required by NAEYC

  • Curriculum inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy which was developed in Italy and places emphasis on how young children are capable and competent

  • Great Start to Quality rating improvement system achieved a 4 star rating

  • Nominated for Priority Children’s Champion award

ECDC enrollment at full capacity
  • Average of 147 children enrolled

  • GSRP Grant renewed allowing free preschool for 16 children.

  • Approximately 21% of the enrolled families of the ECDC receive child care subsidy through the Department of Human Services 

  • 30 children participated in a cap and gown preschool graduation in the William S. White Auditorium, June 2013

  • Specialized care given to special needs children

  • Enrichment classes offered: Martial Arts, Growing Up Green

  • School age summer GUG program averaged 35 children a day, age six through twelve

  • Provided an afternoon Nature Preschool program

Qualified Staff – Professional Activity and Development
  • Many full-time staff presented early childhood topics at fall in-service training

  • Early Childhood expertise was shared in college classrooms of UM-Flint, Mott CC, and Baker of Clinton Twp by adjunct faculty members Della Becker-Cornell and Wendee Hooker

  • Three Head Teachers presented at the national level in Atlanta, GA: Wendee Hooker, Tara Hyatt and Kimberly Curry

  • Two Head Teachers presented at the annual local GCCARD Head Start conference in January: Wendee Hooker and Mary Lynn Gottler

  • Six Head Teachers presented at the MiAEYC annual conference in Grand Rapids in March: Mary Lynn Gottler, Wendee Hooker, Tara Hyatt, Betty Sheehy, Carolyn Miller, Diana Hensley, along with Director Della Becker-Cornell

  • Four Head Teachers and the Director presented in Howell at the Community Sharing for

  • Healthy Caring Early Childhood conference in November: Della Becker-Cornell, Wendee Hooker, Tara Hyatt, Betty Sheehy and Kimberly Curry

  • Two Head Teachers presented for Jackson Area Early Childhood Conference at Baker College in March: Wendee Hooker and Kimberly Curry

  • ECDC full-time staff and Early Childhood faculty engaged in Teaching Circle: Intentional Teaching

  • UM-Flint, Mott Community College and Baker College had over 60 interns complete their practicum hours at the ECDC

  • Head Teachers participated in Individual Education Plans with local school districts and obtained special services for deserving children

  • Little Caesar’s Fundraiser in February 2013 raised funds for staff professional development

  • Director, Della Becker-Cornell and Head Teacher, Mary Lynn Gottler, formed a steering committee for Michigan Inspirations- A Reggio Inspired Learning Community consisting of an administrator and teacher from each of the six schools: CMU, LCC, Fenton World of Wonder, Building Blocks of Highland, Okemos Nursery School, and UM-Flint ECDC

  • Four student staff graduated with associates in early childhood education from Mott Community College: Mariah Hornung, Sharneese Magee, Fredricka Savage, and Joslyn Marinelli

  • Two head teachers and the Director sit on the Board for Greater Flint Association for the Education of Young Children, GFAEYC Board. Della Becker-Cornell, Wendee Hooker, and Diana Hensley

  • Michigan Inspirations put on three seminar series at MSU with accomplished Reggio inspired presenters, many ECDC staff participating and attending

  • The Director and one head teacher sit on the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children MiAEYC Board. Della Becker-Cornell and Wendee Hooker

Exciting opportunities offered to children, families and community

  • International Night was a wonderful cultural event celebrating diversity and had live entertainment.

  • Two preschool children took first place in Flint’s Earth Day recycled art contest, Grace and Eli.

  • Two toddler classrooms took second place in Flint’s Earth Day recycled art contest, Fiore and Fiume.

  • Family-Teacher conferences occurred in the fall and spring, with the infant families meeting with staff at 4, 8, and 12 months of age.

  • Parent representatives from each classroom participated in an active Family Advisory Board that met monthly with the Director to discuss program events, policies and procedures.

  • Curriculum Night occurred in each classroom in September 2012 for families to meet and greet each other.

  • Fall Festival occurred in October 2012 with activities in every classroom and a huge turnout of families.

  • The Sound Garden, which was purchased with an $800 grant from MiAEYC Jacqueline E. Miller Endowment Fund was unveiled in October 2012.

  • Working with families and curbing challenging behaviors instead of labeling them as “problems” and removing them from the program.

  • Make ‘n Take occurred in December 2012 with activities in the hallway outside the ECDC for children and visitors to make and take with them.

  • In recognition of March is Reading Month, children and staff dressed as their favorite book character for a whole week and participated in a book parade with Clifford the Big Red Dog.

  • Grand Person event during March is Reading Month brought several significant people together in the Tuscola Room followed by enjoying literacy activities in the classrooms with their special child.

  • The ECDC supported the annual UM-Flint Women’s Night Out event by providing child care with engaging choices and materials in the Activities Room at the Recreation Center, March 2013.

  • Several classrooms held a family event specific to their enrolled community of families including guest speakers on infant massage and music appreciation.

  • ECDC Art was displayed in the Flint Public Library during August and September 2012.

  • Annual Art Show in March 2013 in the lobby of the William S. White Building represented every child.

  • ECDC Art was displayed on the Education Department floor on campus in April 2013.

  • Provided tours, observation site and training for area Centers and High School child development classes.

  •  Hosted an evening meeting and ECDC tour for the Michigan Inspirations Collaborative in April 2013.

  • Participated in the Earth Day Celebration by hosting a table and facilitating the annual egg hunt, April 2013.

  • Staff and families celebrated with a family picnic at the Bicentennial Park in Grand Blanc in June.

  • Children and families celebrated with a family picnic at the Bicentennial Park in Grand Blanc in June.

  • Children and families participated in the Eastern Michigan Food Drive.

  • Early childhood expertise is offered to local papers and television stations when asked.

Research & Observation

Interested in observing what we do at the ECDC for a class excerise or individual assignment? You'll need one of these forms in order to get started.