Adele and Dale Young Child Development Laboratory

Students working in a research laboratory

The Adele and Dale Young Child Development Laboratory offers a variety of outstanding play-based, exploratory preschool programs for children ranging in age from birth through five. As part of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and consistent with Utah State University’s Land-Grant mission, the Laboratory has a three-pronged focus. These three components include providing service for children and families, research, and training pre-professionals.

Sydnee Ellis

Sydnee Ellis

Staff Assistant for HDFS and Child Development Lab

Phone: 435-797-1544
Office Location: SHED 104



Our programs offer children a hands-on, discovery-based learning environment. Teachers focus their planning on the interests and needs of individual children in their classrooms. We offer several different types of programs.

Families are an integral part of our program. Each week we send home a newsletter and lesson plan letting you know about the activities we are doing and what we are learning. There are many ways that you, as a parent/guardian, can be involved. At the beginning of the semester we ask you to fill out a survey assessing the development of your child. With this assessment information, we tailor the classroom activities to help enhance your child’s development. We highly recommend volunteering in the classroom (spending a day or part of a day with us, sharing an interest or talent, or going on a field trip), observing in the observation booths, participating in home visits, and attending parent-teacher conferences. Each semester teachers plan a family party for the laboratory children and their families. Regardless of your schedule, there are many opportunities to be involved in your child’s experience in the Laboratory and we welcome your participation.

You can enroll your child by clicking “Apply to Waitlist” at the top right of the screen. When a child’s application is received, his or her name is placed on the waiting list. We accept 3/4 of each group for each lab on the basis of the application date. We will accept the remaining 1/4 of each group based on other specific criteria (referrals from medical professionals, etc.). Please keep in mind that many children have been on the waiting lists since birth so the lists are VERY long.

Infants & Toddlers

Children are ineligible for this course if their second birthday is on or before the listed date.
Spring Cutoff: April 15 | Fall Cutoff: November 15
Class size: 8 (4 girls, 4 boys)
Schedule: T, W, Th 1:30-2:30 pm
Fee: $135

The Infant-Toddler Laboratory is offered in conjunction with the course, HDFS 3500, Infancy and Childhood. Children from birth through two years of age attend the Laboratory for one hour three afternoons per week. Students enrolled in HDFS 3550 (Infant Laboratory) are responsible, under the guidance of a master’s level head teacher, for planning and implementing curricula which meet designated social competency goals.


Children are ineligible for this course if their third birthday is on or before the listed date.
Spring Cutoff: April 15 | Fall Cutoff: November 15
Class size: 12 (6 girls, 6 boys)
Schedule: Tues-Fri 8:30-11:00 am
Fee: $225

The Two-Year-Old Laboratory was designed to reflect the diverse developmental needs of two-year-olds. Children attend this Laboratory for two hours, three mornings per week. Since very few programs are available for two-year-olds locally, our program provides excellent social and educational opportunities for this age group. It also provides an opportunity for students to interact solely with two-year-olds and learn about their unique needs and interests. The teaching team for this program is comprised of sophomore practicum students early childhood education students, who are led by a master’s level head teacher.


Children are ineligible for this course if their fourth birthday is on or before the listed date.
Spring Cutoff: April 15 | Fall Cutoff: November 15
Class size: 20 (10 girls, 10 boys)
Schedule: Tues-Fri 8:30-11:00 am
Fee: $265

This Laboratory was created to serve the dual purpose of providing social and educational experiences for three-year-olds and their families. Children attend the Laboratory four mornings per week for one semester. A parent/guardian attends with each child twice throughout the semester, and functions as a participating "teacher" in the classroom. The curriculum is organized around self-selected, exploratory activities focusing on a wide variety of developmental areas. The teaching team working with this exciting age group includes a master’s level head teacher, senior student teachers, and sophomore practicum students.

Four and Five-Year-Olds

Children are ineligible for this course if their fifth birthday is on or before the listed date.
Spring & Fall Cutoff: September 1
Class size: 3 classes of 20 (10 girls, 10 boys) each
Schedule: Tues-Fri 8:30-11:00 am, 12:30-3:00 pm (mornings only in the summer)
Fee: $265

This Laboratory serves four- and five-year-olds in a discovery-oriented environment. Children attend Laboratory four half days per week (morning or afternoon). Like the other programs, this Laboratory is focused upon a play-based curriculum that encourages open-ended, process-oriented interactions designed to meet a full range of developmental needs and interests. A master’s level head teacher leads a teaching team that incorporates student teachers, as well as sophomore practicum students.

Undergraduate Coursework

HDFS 4960 - Practice Teaching in the Child Development Laboratories (Logan Campus)

To enroll, fill out the HDFS 4960 Application.

Schedule for Fall & Spring
M: 8:30 am-12:30 pm
T-F: 8:00 am-12:00 pm
M: 11:30 am-3:30 pm
T-F: 12:00-4:00 pm

Please note:

  • Waitlists fill 3-4 semesters in advance, so apply early
  • Switching semesters requires a change in sign-up date
  • Contact us immediately if you have need to make changes
  • Prerequisites must be completed before the teaching semester
  • CPR/First Aid is required (training will be provided during your orientation week)
  • Three-credit students attend lab for half of the fall or spring semester*
  • Six-credit students attend all semester*
  • There is no guarantee that summer semester placements will be available.

*Mandatory Orientation

All students must attend the first full week of the scheduled semester for mandatory orientation.
BE AWARE OF THIS WHEN SCHEDULING YOUR OTHER CLASSES. Banner does not list the class this way.

  • Attendance on cleaning day (first Monday of finals week) is mandatory for all students.
  • Three-credit students will then attend for the first half or second half of the semester.
  • Six-credit teachers will attend the entire semester.
  • Attending seminar EVERY MONDAY (11:30-12:30) is MANDATORY for all three-credit and six-credit students.

About Us

Our Philosophy

Our programs are theoretically and practically devoted to the development of social competency skills in the children we serve. Regardless of the child's age, social competency goals are inherent in every program. While the methods for attaining the goals may vary with age, these underlying goals provide a thread of continuity for the Laboratory as a whole.

Basic to the social competency framework is the notion that children learn most effectively through active exploration and participation in their environment. Moreover, each child has specific interests, curiosities, talents, and a self-esteem that must be nurtured and enhanced.

Each program is built upon a foundation of providing children with a wide variety of developmentally appropriate divergent activities, a stimulating multi-sensory environment, opportunities for discovery and making choices, interpersonal interactions, and independence-promoting experiences. It is recognized that there is no single standard towards which all children work. Instead, children progress according to their individual abilities in developing, for example, independence, cognitive skills, creative thinking, problem-solving strategies, curiosity, self-help skills, and interpersonal skills.

Our Facility

CDL FacilityOur Laboratory is home to three very unique classrooms. Each of our classrooms is beautifully equipped with child-sized furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Many of the materials the children work with change on a daily or weekly basis. Each classroom has large windows allowing children to take advantage of natural lighting. Colorful displays of children’s work can be found throughout each classroom. To meet the developmental needs of the children, our classrooms provide an environment that is safe, nurturing, engaging, and stimulating.

The North Laboratory is a smaller classroom scaled to fit the needs of the groups it serves. In this Laboratory, you will see a group of two-year-olds in the morning three days a week, with a group of infants and toddlers attending for an hour, three afternoons a week. Areas for dramatic play, blocks building, reading, creating (art table and easel area), sensory exploration, and large and small motor play are integral components of this classroom.

Four days a week in the East Laboratory, you will find a group of three-year-olds in the morning, with four- and five-year-olds in the afternoon.

Likewise, the West Laboratory has children attending four days a week, with a morning and afternoon session for four- and five-year-olds.

These unusual, and very functional classrooms are designed with multilevel areas to help facilitate motor development. Throughout the day, children have opportunities to explore areas for artistic creation; a dramatic play area where children can imitate with props ranging from a spaceship to a local grocery store; a large block construction area; a sensory area; and areas to support literacy, numeracy, science, and small/large motor development. Each classroom has an area for both large and small group times, as well as a small kitchen for food preparation and snack time.

Our Legacy

Adele Young

Adele YoungAdele Christensen Young's philosophy, "Onward and upward and never look back," served her well for years until her death in 2009. She was born and reared in Brigham City, Utah, the youngest daughter of Mary Eskelsen and James P. Christensen. She attended Box Elder High School and was active in drama, dance, and athletics, graduating in 1938. Her two older sisters, Jewell and Ruth, attended Utah State Agricultural College, and Adele followed the family tradition, graduating in 1942 with a bachelor's degree in Child Development and Education and a minor in Art. Her love of children and a favorite aunt who taught school influenced her to choose this major. While in college, Adele was also active in Dance and Spurs (the sophomore women's honorary). World War II was underway when Adele graduated from college in 1942. She met her husband Dale W. Young at the USAC - they were married in Texas. While Dale was overseas in the military for two years, she returned to Brigham City and worked as the Deputy County Clerk.

After the war she taught second grade in Logan while her husband worked on a master's degree at Utah State Agricultural College. Through the years, Dale's career in agricultural chemical research took them to College Station, Texas, with the USDA, Iowa State University for a PhD, New Jersey, New York, Kansas, and finally back to Utah. Adele taught school in Texas, Iowa, New Jersey, and New York.

Adele thoroughly enjoyed living in various parts of the United States. Dale's career permitted them to travel extensively throughout North America, Europe, and the South Pacific. Adele enjoyed these trips because she could absorb the sights and the culture while Dale worked.

Adele loved teaching. After she retired she would sometimes stand at the front door watching the children go to school, and occasionally shed a tear because she was not going, too.

Adele used her college minor in art to give to others. She had a special talent for arranging flowers and regularly furnished bouquets for weddings, churches, civic meetings, and other special occasions from flowers grown in their garden. She played the piano and enjoyed oil painting. Some of her paintings have gone as far afield as Japan. Adele was also involved with various civic organizations, a commitment that began in New York with the Red Cross organization. Locally, she was an integral part of fundraising for the Heritage Theater in Perry, Utah, a volunteer community theater that brings wholesome family entertainment to Northern Utah.

Dale Young

Dale YoungDale W. Young, an agriculturalist, made his mark in the world and at home. For example, shortly before his wife, Adele’s, death, they gave the city of Perry, Utah a substantial acreage to develop into a nature park and recreational area for families. Dale was born and raised in Perry, a son of Rose Atkinson and Wallace Young. He graduated from Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah, served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in eastern Canada, and spent four years in the Army. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1942 and master's in 1948 in Agronomy from Utah State Agricultural College and PhD in 1953 in Chemistry and Plant Physiology from Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa. His dissertation was titled Translocation of Organic Solutes in Plants.

Dale worked in agricultural chemical research, which took him to various parts of the country and the world through employment with the federal government and various chemical companies. He discovered and developed new chemicals to control insects, weeds, and diseases of plants when he was affiliated with the large United States, German, and Japanese chemical companies. Dale worked with Rohm & Haas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Hooker Chemical Company in Grand Island, New York; Chemagro (a division of Bayer of West Germany) in Kansas City, Missouri; Gulf Oil Chemicals Company in Overland Park, Kansas; and the Otsuka Chemical Company (Osaka, Japan) in Overland Park, Kansas.

Some of the chemicals he developed were Sencor (exported to China in 1986) to control large seeded broadleaf and grassy weeds in broadleaf crops such as soybeans and potatoes ("controlling broadleaf weeds in grasses is easy; controlling broadleaf weeds in broadleaf crops is difficult"); Mirex, an ant bait; Carbyne, a herbicide to control wild oats in wheat and barley; and Sineb, a fungicide that also controls rust mite in citrus. He received a cash award for discovering Zine b, a feat considered impossible by other scientists.

The Texas State Chamber of commerce honored him as the Outstanding Young Texan for 1951 for developing a chemical to control mesquite, a weed tree.

Prior to his death in 2010, Dale’s hobbies included growing a variety of fruit to share with neighbors and friends. For years, he also grew and tended a large variety of flowers for Adele so that she always had flowers blooming (pussy willows and daffodils in the early spring to mums in the late fall) to arrange into bouquets for weddings, churches, and civic meetings.

Emily Elder Barrus

The Emily Elder Barrus Imaginarium is named in memory of Emily Elder Barrus. Our playground was developed through private donations, as well as an enormous amount of in-kind work on the part of Emily’s family. There are two very distinct playgrounds: a smaller space for our infants and toddlers and a large, naturalistic space for the older children.