Early Childhood Development Center

iStock_000004914253_MediumIn 1974, Dr. Nina R. Lief established the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) at CCHP, to teach parents of children up to three years old, the principles of childhood development and provide on-going support and guidance through a facilitated group setting.

Parent-education groups are led by parent educators, many of which are former ECDC participants themselves, and follow a curriculum created by Dr. Nina R. Lief, Dr. Mary Ellen Fahs, and ECDC Director, Becky Thomas.

In a small group setting, parents can share their questions, and learn what to expect and how to respond to their child’s changing needs. Groups meet weekly, and are organized by the child’s birthdate to discuss issues of normal childhood development with other parents of children the same age.

Our ECDC program also offers a supervised playroom for your children (free of charge). Our playroom teachers watch and engage with your children during your group sessions. To learn more about class schedules and availability, contact Becky Thomas, Director of ECDC, at (212)-360-7803 or

The curriculum for ECDC is structured around the following topics:

0-5 Months

  • Development of Basic Trust
  • Mother’s Feelings
  • Comforting vs. Spoiling
  • Play
  • Sleeping and Feeding

6-12 Months

  • Setting Limits
  • Enjoyment of Child as a Person
  • Parental Expectations
  • Family Romance

13 – 18 Months

  • Daily Routines
  • Motor and Language Development
  • Father’s Role
  • Attachment and Separation

19 – 23 Months

  • Speech Development
  • Two’s – Terrific or Terrible
  • Discipline vs. Punishment
  • Self-control and Accepting Delay

24 – 29 Months

  • Toilet Training
  • Issues of Independence
  • Spacing of Children
  • Sharing and Taking Turns

30-36 Months

  • Readiness for Pre-School
  • Imagination
  • Learning to Play with Others
  • Effects of Technology and Screen Time
  • Protecting Your Child

Sibling Groups

  • Self-Esteem
  • Rivalry
  • Competition
  • Dealing with Anger
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