Carnegie Mellon University

Our Program

Since 1993, the Cyert Center’s program has been strongly inspired by the philosophy of the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy and continues to be involved in serious study of this approach to early education.

Notable features of this approach include:

  • A deep respect for the potential of all young children
  • Communication and collaboration among the three partners of education: children, parents and educators
  • Amiable, rich environments that are engaging, welcoming, organized, beautiful and supportive of the work of children and educators
  • Voices of children, parents and educators made visible through various forms of documentation (reflections, panels, binders, etc.)
  • Relationships considered essential for the well-being and learning of children and adults
  • Children and educators constructing knowledge together through exploration and problem solving
  • Emergent curriculum and small group work based on the negotiation between children's and educators' interests
  • The use of many expressive "languages" to represent ideas, questions, and learning, such as clay, paint, wire, drama, play, music, graphic arts materials and many more

We believe our current practice, which is rooted in the inspiration from the philosophy of the Infant-Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia, is the natural growth and evolution in the center's long-time commitment to providing the highest quality care and early education.

In addition to our primary mission of providing care and early education, another important focus of our program is to provide opportunities for professional exchanges, training and collaborations with other early childhood educators and administrators in dialogue with the Reggio Emilia Approach, as well as best practices in early childhood education. We are committed to professional development and strive to create opportunities for the educators to participate in seminars and workshops as well as share our work through presentations and publications.

Our Educators

Our educators have a passion for early childhood education, are lifelong learners, demonstrate commitment to the program’s philosophy of the Reggio Emilia Approach and Developmentally Appropriate Practice, and uphold the NAEYC code of ethics. They are responsible for providing a nurturing, consistent, developmentally appropriate environment that meets the cognitive, emotional, social and physical needs of young children.

The director and the business operations specialist divide their time between the two locations. Professional development is coordinated between locations to ensure that together they form one program.

Our History

Originally known as the Carnegie Mellon Child Care Center, the Cyert Center was founded in 1971 by a group of female faculty members desiring a full-day, quality child care program on campus. Since then, we have grown from a program for 13 children located in the basement of the Morewood Gardens dormitory to our current enrollment of 290 children between 12 weeks of age and kindergarten in two centers. Our name honors the late Margaret Shadick Cyert, a longtime advocate for early childhood education, and her husband, Dr. Richard M. Cyert, President Emeritus of CMU.