Since 1925, the Institute of Child Development has conducted research, training, and outreach that has guided policymakers, educators, practitioners, and parents across Minnesota and the nation as they cultivate the next generation of citizens.

The Institute has consistently ranked as the #1 developmental psychology program in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and is internationally recognized for the quality of its faculty and their portfolios of research.

In addition to its academic programs, the Institute is also home to the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School and the Center for Early Education and Development. The Lab School provides training for ICD’s early childhood education students, serves as a living laboratory for curriculum development in collaboration with Institute faculty members, and offers high-quality early education to hundreds of families in the Twin Cities each school year.

The Center for Early Education and Development, which was founded in 1975, acts as the Institute’s community outreach arm by providing professional development and training to early education professionals, so they can achieve the best outcomes for the children they serve in their own communities.

Historical highlights

  • Our instructional program in developmental psychology dates from 1925-1926. The first undergraduate and graduate courses were offered by John E. Anderson and Florence L. Goodenough.
  • We awarded our first Ph.D. degrees in 1928 to Dorothea McCarthy and Esther McGinnis.
  • We have the distinction of granting the first-ever Ph.D. in any field of psychology to an African-American female, Dr. Ruth Winifred Howard, in 1934.
  • By 2012, more than 425 doctorates had been earned in developmental psychology, more than two-thirds completed since 1973.
Children playing at the Institute of Child Development (circa 1940's).
Children playing at the Institute of Child Development (circa 1940's)

News and announcements


Our mission

We strive to be a catalyst for improving lives beginning in childhood. Our mission is to:

  • advance knowledge about human development through research and scholarly activities;
  • promote the optimal development of all children and youth;
  • prepare students to pursue careers in science- and early education-related fields; and
  • collaborate with community partners to implement science that improves lives.

Our academic and research programs, our lab school, and CEED work in unison to support the University of Minnesota’s land grant mission of research and discovery, teaching and learning, and outreach and public service.