Early Learning Center

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A Total Learning Center For Children Ages 12 Weeks To 5 Years

The Fairfield University Early Learning Center is designed to provide quality daycare services at a reasonable cost. The Center also serves as a resource for the study of early childhood development in the School of Education and Human Development and the School of Nursing.

The Early Learning Center provides the following:

  • An early care and education program based on accepted and researched theories of literacy and child development
  • Individualized programs designed to meet the needs of each child
  • Curriculum that is child-oriented
  • Teaching staff who have specialized educational training in child development and developmentally appropriate practice with young children, including health, safety, and nutritional guidelines
  • A healthy, safe, physical environment in an attractive 3,000 sq. ft. facility designed in New England colonial style featuring separate indoor and outdoor areas for pre-school children, toddlers, and infants
  • An environment that respects family's culture and encourages family participation
  • Staff who show respect and affection for children and families interacting with them in caring ways
  • Staff who are knowledgeable about illness prevention, nutrition education, and safety concerns

Fairfield University is pleased to offer an Early Learning Center on campus (Coughlin Road) that will provide your child with a safe and attractive daycare environment that features programming responsive to your child's individual needs and challenges each child's development potential.

This program will empower the children in it with high self-esteem that will enable them to be productive within their families, their relationships with peers, and eventually within their communities.

The Fairfield University Educational Advisor to the Early Learning Center is Dr. Ryan Colwell, assistant professor of Childhood Education in the School of Education and Human Development.

For more information regarding openings and tuition rates please contact the new operator of the Early Learning Center, the ELLI Lab School at Stepping Stones.


New Elli Program

In July of 2016, Stepping Stones Museum for Children became the new operator of The Early Learning Center at Fairfield University. Stepping Stones introduced the Early Language and Literacy Initiative - ELLI to the program and offers programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.


The Early Language and Literacy Initiative (ELLI) is a high-quality, year-round interdisciplinary approach to early childhood education designed to improve school readiness and close the achievement gap.

ELLI provides essential language and literacy-rich educational experiences for young children that are based on theory, research and community wisdom about what children need to learn and grow up successfully.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children and Literacy How, an organization dedicated to the application of early literacy research, created ELLI to infuse the latest early language and literacy research-based theory and practice into immersive, content-rich science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) learning experiences for museum, classroom and home environments.

ELLI at Fairfield University offers:

  • Year-round programs for children ages 12 weeks - 5 years
  • Extended day hours from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • 1:4 child/teacher ratio for infants and toddlers
  • 1:6 child/teacher ratio for preschoolers

For more information about ELLI, visit steppingstonesmuseum.org/ELLI

Registration & Openings

The Center is open year-round (August through July). A $100 non-refundable registration fee will hold a space for your child from the time and the date that you register until the year begins. 

Operating Hours

The Center provides an extended full-time day program, from 7:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Center closes for holidays and for professional training days for staff each year, and remains open throughout the year, except for possible inclement weather. All holidays, absences and closings are charged throughout the year.


For more information regarding openings and tuition rates please contact the new operator of the Early Learning Center, the ELLI Lab School at Stepping Stones. 


The Center is open to children of Fairfield University employees as well as residents of surrounding communities.

For Parents

We at Fairfield University know how important is the decision of childcare selection. We wish to assure you that this is one that will provide you and your child with a safe and attractive daycare environment with programming that is responsive to your child's individual needs and challenges each child's development potential.

Parent requirements for a smooth beginning include:

  1. Complete registration - registration form, registration fee and child's updated health form. Include any physician forms for EPI-PEN treatment.
  2. Read the Parent Handbook and return last page with signature by parent.
  3. Supply to the center diapers, wipes, and 2 complete changes of clothing for your child in a material bag.
  4. Provide a daily lunch with a beverage and cold pack inside, labeled with your child's name.
  5. Provide 5 crib sheets for infants (each day), formula, and infant foods (their daily schedule).
  6. Provide a small blanket and small pillow in a bag for naptime.
  7. Provide the staff of teachers with photographs from home for the classroom. It is important for your child to see these photographs as he or she acclimates to the environment.


Opportunities for parental involvement include:

  • Join our parent committee
  • Read to the children
  • Assist on field trips
  • Contribute your culture and your traditions and bring them in to share with the children
  • Help us with celebrations
  • And, any other ways you can become involved...

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