The University of Wyoming Early Care and Education Center (ECEC) is more than you think it is.
It’s a school for the youngest of minds. A training ground for the educators of today and tomorrow. A luminary for similar centers across Wyoming and throughout the region.
More than four decades after its opening—the center welcomed its first children for preschool and after-school programs in 1972—the ECEC has not only grown into its founding mission of early care and education but expanded its goals to help lead the development of a regional community of centers and practitioners.
In addition to serving as a model for environmental design, the ECEC has helped shape curriculum at other regional campus programs, including the University of Colorado/Colorado Springs and Chadron (Neb.) State College, and the center regularly hosts child development courses administered by high schools in Cheyenne and Laramie.
The center, administered by the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in UW’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is also one of the university’s strongest options for students completing practicum and intern- ship experiences in human development and family services, nutrition and dietetics, communication disorders, elementary and early childhood education, kinesiology, nursing, social work, psychology, music, and theatre and dance.
The ECEC has nine full-time staff members and teachers, fronted by Mark Bittner, the director, and Nikki Baldwin, the curriculum coordinator.