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A caucasian boy leans on a table as he plays with Play-Doh.

OSU Child Development Lab to celebrate centennial in 2024

Friday, February 9, 2024

Media Contact: Christy Lang | Manager, Marketing & Communications | 405-744-9740 |

In 2024, the Cleo L. Craig Child Development Laboratory will mark a full century on the Oklahoma State University campus, serving children and families as well as preparing future early childhood educators. 

The College of Education and Human Sciences will honor the CDL’s history and legacy while positioning the lab for a new century during a Centennial Celebration throughout the year.

In late 1924, Oklahoma A&M College became the second land-grant institution to establish a nursery school. Today, the OSU CDL is the nation’s second-longest continuously operating on-campus lab school, serving children from 12 months to six years of age. 

The CDL, which is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), provides a premier teaching model for future early childhood educators and quality educational experience for children. OSU students pursuing degrees in early childhood education and many other majors gain real-world, hands-on learning and research experience within the lab as they combine theory and learning with daily teaching practice.

In 2006, a naming gift resulted in the establishment of the Cleo L. Craig Child Development Laboratory. The gift included a $1 million renovation of current facilities thanks to significant donations and support from the Craig family. 

“The Cleo L. Craig Child Development Lab is truly a gem in our college and on the OSU campus. The important work of educating young children and serving local families, while providing a learning and research lab for OSU students and faculty, reflects our land-grant mission,” College of Education and Human Sciences Dean Jon. E. Pedersen said. 

Left: An early class poses outside for a picture. Right: a current class poses and raises 'Go Pokes' for a picture.

Human Development and Family Science Department head Dr. Carlos Valiente said the lab is a key part of the department’s work.

“The Child Development Lab is a leader in innovative, inclusive early childhood education. We are grateful for our many campus and community partners, and we are excited to celebrate the CDL and its longstanding impact during the coming year,” Valiente said.  

The Centennial Celebration will include a series of activities, events and stories throughout the calendar year. Former students, teachers, staff and parents of children who attended the CDL are encouraged to share their favorite CDL memories through this online form.

The Department of Human Development and Family Science will host the Ramona Ware Emmons Paul Speaker Series, inviting early childhood education experts to campus. Oregon State University professor Megan McClelland leads off the series at 4 p.m. on Feb. 22 with her talk, “The Importance of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood.” The event is open to the public (RSVP here).

The campus and Stillwater communities are invited to a 100th birthday party for the CDL from 3-5 p.m., April 6, on the Willard Lawn. The party will include a pizza lunch, bounce houses and carnival-style activities for kids of all ages and a birthday cake. The CDL will host tours prior to the party from 2-3 p.m. RSVPs are encouraged.

Additional activities and events will be added to the Centennial calendar.

It is exciting to look back on both the history and transformation of early childhood education over the last 100 years. It is also an honor to be part of the next 100 years by continuing to provide a high-quality program that enriches the lives of children and families,” CDL director Sandy Major said. Those interested in supporting the continued success of the CDL in the next century are encouraged to contact Sheri Carter at the OSU Foundation ( or 405-385-5126) to learn about giving opportunities. Gifts can also be made online here.  

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