Katherine M. Durst Child Development Learning Center

The Katherine M. Durst Child Development Learning Center located in Merrill Hall operates a state-licensed and NAEYC accredited nursery school and prekindergarten and is open to children throughout the community. Established in 1931, it is one of the first university-affiliated centers in the United States. The Center also serves as a lab school where early childhood and education students can observe and learn about the behaviors of young children.

A little bit about us

  • Dedicated to providing quality preschool education, our programs reflect the latest research and best practice in the cognitive, social, emotional and physical development of the young child.
  • We offer state-licensed nursery school and prekindergarten programs. Curriculum is designed to encourage children to explore, inquire and experiment, as well as to convey the challenge, excitement and satisfaction of learning.
  • Parents are welcome to observe activities taking place in the Center. An observation booth is built into the facility.

Nursery School

  • For children ages 33 months to 5 years
  • Children attend two or four mornings a week for two and a half hours per day
  • One teacher for every eight children
  • State-licensed and NAEYC accredited program


  • State-licensed and NAEYC accredited program
  • Children attend four afternoons a week for three hours per day
  • One teacher for every group of eight children

Educational Goals
The Center’s curriculum and environment are carefully planned and organized to meet individual and group goals. Our goals are to provide:

  • Individualized education
  • A variety of experiences, materials and activities that include opportunities for concrete and continued learning
  • A flexible schedule to provide children with the opportunity to make choices, meet success and develop independence
  • A curriculum that contributes to the total development of each child in the following areas:
    • Creativity – Self-expression, imagination, questioning, problem-solving
    • Cognition – Positive self-image, concepts, language skills
    • Social skills – Cooperation, sharing, taking turns, leadership
    • Emotional – Expression, channeling and understanding of feelings
    • Physical – Large and fine motor skills development
    • Memory, spatial relationship, perceptual development

Early application is recommended. Tuition information is available upon request. To request an application or further information, contact:
Katherine M. Durst Child Development Learning Center
118 Merrill Hall
University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469-5749

Margo Brown, Coordinator
In complying with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and in pursuing its own goals of pluralism, the University of Maine shall not discriminate on the grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or citizenship status, age, disability or veteran status in employment, education, and all other areas of the University.