UCP of Central Arizona’s Early Learning Center (ELC) is a high quality developmentally appropriate learning environment serving children ages 6 weeks to 5 years of age with and without disabilities. The UCP ELC is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Quality First. Our ELC is a 5-Star Quality First Center.

Although most of the children at the Early Learning Center are developing without delays, 30% of the children have physical delays that may be related to a disability. The ELC provides a unique inclusive environment that creates high expectations for every child, regardless of ability, to reach his or her full potential. Children with disabilities are challenged by their classmates through natural role modeling of developmental skills. The children without disabilities learn acceptance and understanding of others who are different from themselves through opportunities for friendship. The ELC’s inclusive environment sets the program apart by fostering empathy at an early age, preparing all the children socially and emotionally with invaluable life skills. Our creative, comprehensive curriculum prepares every child for the future goal of kindergarten.

As the UCP ELC staff are knowledgeable in child development, each child is placed in the appropriate classroom not only according to age but ability. Children are routinely screened using the following assessment tools: Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ) and Teaching Strategies Gold®

The Early Learning Center has low staff to children ratios to allow children to be engaged in learning opportunities within age and developmentally appropriate groups. The ELC strives to stay within the following NAEYC low teacher to child ratios to serve children according to best practices.

The beautiful Laura Dozer Center’s theme is the Enchanted Forest which invites children to play and imagine. The UCP ELC has outdoor play area covered by trees, state of the art playground equipment and a water play area for warm days. The Preschool area has a garden that the children can learn about growing plants. A herb garden on the campus used by the ELC chef also provides learning opportunities. The classrooms and play areas have been designed for safety and to ensure a healthy environment for the children. Our playground and classrooms are accessible according to American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and provide opportunities for all children to have the ability to participate.

The UCP ELC is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Part time and full time care is available. For information on rates, please call us at 602-682-1880 or 602-682-1840.


The UCP Early Learning Center knows every family’s needs are different and has enrollment options to fit your needs, including different scheduling options for our families.


What are the enrollment options at UCP?


Enrollment Option: Infants Toddlers Twos Preschool
Full time x x x x
Full time/Partial Days x x x
Three Days  x x x
Two Days x x x


What discounts does the UCP ELC have? 

What are my payment options? 

  • Monthly payments: First business day of the month
  • Weekly payments: Every Monday

Accepted payment options include Visa, Mastercard, American Express*, cash or check.

*Limitations apply

What Tuition Assistance does UCP accept?

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The Early Learning Center utilizes emergent curriculum to implement the programs philosophy. Emergent curriculum encourages learning experiences to arise out of the children’s interests, experiences and actions.

Can you tell me more about emergent curriculum?

  • Developmentally appropriate experiences are planned to meet the children’s needs for cognitive, physical, language and social emotional growth. Experiences include large group activities, small group activities and individual activities.
  • Play is a valued learning time, as it provides children the opportunity to be creative and study the world around them.
  • Teachers plan the environment to reflect the current topic/theme and incorporate the interests of the children in the program. Materials are available and organized to support independent use.
  • Daily schedules provide a predictable yet flexible environment.
  • Curriculum is responsive to the individual needs of the children, and provides opportunities for all children to participate at their developmental level through the use of adaptations and modifications.
  • Family input and participation is integrated into the curriculum and environment. Individual family preferences, culture, holidays and traditions are welcomed into the curriculum and routines.
  • Curriculum is planned weekly based upon the children’s current interests, but is ever changing and expanding in response to the children’s changing interests. Topics/themes may last a few days, or may span weeks.
  • Children are routinely screened using the following assessment tools:  Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ) and Teaching Strategies Gold®. In addition, through collaboration with UCP’s early intervention program and clinic therapy program, ELC staff has other professionals to collaborate and consult with. The clinic therapy team provides opportunity for additional developmental screening for the three younger classrooms and an early handwriting screening for the Preschool annually for families who are interested.



Infant Classroom

Infancy is a time of great learning and exploration. In the first year of life, infants are learning about their own bodies, and how to access the world around them. UCP boasts a “container free environment” forgoing swings, bouncers, traditional sitting and standing devices and high chairs to encourage free movement and develop body awareness.

Classroom activities include:

  • Gross motor activities to encourage meeting milestones such as rolling over, sitting up, scooting, crawling, and walking.
  • Fine motor activities to encourage reaching and grasping, pointing, self-feeding.
  • Reading stories
  • Singing songs
  • Sensory exploration such as exploring art materials, exploring textures and trying new foods
  • Floor and Tummy Time



One's Classroom

Toddlers are curious about the world around them, and eager are eager to experiment. They love exploring new textures, and getting messy. Toddlers thrive on routine, but also need opportunities to assert their independence.

Classroom Activities include:

  • Encouraging gross motor activities such as running, climbing and jumping, riding on cars, scooting on trikes
  • Encouraging language development and communication, including using basic signs
  • Independent play, parallel play and group opportunities for play
  • Family style dining
  • Exploring Cause/Effect
  • Using various art materials
  • Reading Stories
  • Music and movement
  • Sensory exploration with textures, foods, sand, water
  • outdoor play

Online Resources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Developmental Milestones



Two's Classroom

Two year old’s are known for asserting themselves, and desiring increased independence. They are naturally inquisitive and eager to try new activities. Two year old’s begin to engage in increased cooperative play, and often enjoy dramatic play.

Classroom Activities include:

  • Large and small group activities
  • Opportunities for independent play, parallel play and cooperative play
  • Family Style Dining
  • Reading stories
  • Music and movement activities
  • Learning about emotions
  • Sensory exploration with textures, foods, sand and water
  • Dramatic play activities
  • Making home-school connections
  • Art
  • Potty Training
  • Petsmart Pet Care Program
  • In house field trips such as the human society and Arizona puppet theater

Online Resources:

Emotional Development: 2 year olds 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Developmental Milestones




Between 3-5 years, Preschoolers seek to understand the world around them. They are after heard asking “why.” They begin to develop an understanding of their emotions and desires, learning turn taking, sharing, and large group interactions. All of these skills help to prepare them for kindergarten.

Classroom Activities Include:

  • Large and small group activities
  • Calendar time
  • Story and group time
  • Letter and number of the week
  • Sign Language introduction: Sign of the week
  • Learning Without Tears
  • K,W,L ( Know, Want to Know, Learned) inquiries
  • Experimenting-making hypothesis
  • Introductory math concepts such as Graphing, voting and skip counting.
  • Gardening and exploring nature
  • In house field trips such as the Humane Society and the Great Arizona Puppet Theater
  • PetSmart Pet Care Program

Online resources

How Important is Play in Preschool?

First Things First-Kindergarten Readiness

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Developmental Milestones



Who will care for my child?

At UCP we believe that consistent caregiving by highly qualified individuals is key to fostering strong relationships and creating an optimal learning environment. Each classroom has designated Lead Teachers and Teachers to guide your child through daily activities.

What makes UCP Teachers “Highly Qualified?”

Fostering a lifelong love of learning is not only a job, but a career. As such, many of our Teachers hold Bachelor’s Degrees, Associates Degrees or a Child Development Associate credential in Early Childhood Education or related fields. Continuing education is highly encouraged, and many of our staff are furthering their education. In addition, many of the ELC staff have been at UCP for several years and have children who do or have participated in the UCP Early Intervention, clinic therapy and/or the ELC program, creating a unique family-oriented atmosphere.  For more information on our teachers visit “Meet the Teachers” (page link)

What trainings do UCP teachers receive?


Additional Staff training’s may include, but are not limited to:

  • Infant Development
  • Introduction to the Early Learning Standards: Arizona Department of Education Sponsored Training
  • Introduction to the Infant and Toddler Developmental Guidelines: Arizona Department of Education Sponsored Training
  • Introduction to Sensory Integration: Southwest Human Development Sponsored Training
  • Partnering with Families: Southwest Human Development Sponsored Training
  • Developmentally Appropriate Activities

Parents will be glad to know that all teachers are required to attend a minimum of 18 continuing education hours annually.

What does an Inclusive environment mean?

An inclusive environment is one that serves individuals of varying abilities. In the Early Learning Center children with and without special needs attend the same classrooms and successfully participate in the same activities.

What are the benefits of an inclusive environment?

Inclusive environments have many benefits for both children with and without special needs.

These benefits include: learning alongside same age peers, teaching diversity, respect and understanding for others, developing friendships, learning social skills, enjoying learning at own pace.

What Special Needs do you serve?

The Early Learning Center serves children with a wide range of abilities including children with physical disabilities and developmental disabilities. Children served through UCP’s Therapy Clinic benefit from working with physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologist and feeding therapists that specialize in young children, providing an amazing network of support for children in the ELC. Children receiving services from Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) often receive therapy in the ELC classroom. Therapy and other support services often provided by UCP early intervention teams creating a true team approach for a child due to an already established rapport with the teachers.

The ELC is a group environment and does not provide individualized one-to- one care or specialized medical care. Our flexibility to place a child may be restricted by licensing guidelines for childcare.

How do you support children with special needs in the classroom?

Children enrolled in the program with identified special needs often receive therapies with UCP therapists. This enables the classroom teachers to work hand in hand with your child’s therapist to ensure that needs specific to your child are met in the classroom environment. This often times means that the therapists hold their sessions in the classroom, encouraging peer interaction, and coaching the teachers. The teachers become familiar with your child’s therapy equipment, and assistive devices and can assist your child in their use.

The ELC is also enrolled in the Inclusion Program through Southwest Human Development. This program provides additional support for centers in implementing an inclusive environment. Teachers receive training, coaching and assistance supporting individual children.

How do I enroll my child who has special needs?

  • Contact UCP Early Learning Center at 602.682.1880 or [email protected] to discuss classroom availability and schedule a tour of the facility.
  • Once you have toured the facility, the ELC will request a copy of your child’s IFSP or IEP to better understand the individual needs of your child. The director will reach out to schedule a time to meet and review goals and needs.
  • Once it is determined that individual goals can be met, enrollment paperwork and fees will be collected, and a start date will be confirmed.

UCP Early Learning Center participates in the following programs:

Quality First 5 Star Rated Center

Quality First is a signature program of First Things First whom partners with child care and preschool providers to improve the quality of early learning for kids birth to 5 across Arizona. Quality child care and preschool programs build on basic health and safety to include:

1. Teachers who know how to work with infants, toddlers and preschoolers,

2. Learning environments that nurture the emotional, social, language and cognitive development of every child, and

3.Positive, consistent relationships that give young children the individual attention they need.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

The National Association for the Education of Young Children is a professional organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.

NAEYC accreditation is the gold standard for early childhood programs across the country. Families of young children who attend NAEYC accredited programs can be confident that they deliver the highest quality early care and education.  For families that means a higher standard for the credentials of staff in the classrooms, on-going training of classroom staff, lower ratios between classroom teachers and children and continuity of care with less shifting of teachers between classrooms.

NAEYC Accreditation helps parents find the best possible early childhood experience for their children. NAEYC-Accredited programs must:

  • Promote positive relationships for all children and adults to encourage each child’s sense of individual worth.
  • Implement a curriculum that fosters all areas of child development: cognitive, emotional, language, physical, and social. Use developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches.
  • Provide ongoing assessments of each child’s learning and development and communicate the child’s progress to the family.
  • Promote the nutrition and health of children and protect children and staff from illness and injury.
  • Employ and support a teaching staff that has the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children’s learning and development and to support families’ diverse interests and needs.
  • Establish and maintain collaborative relationships with each child’s family.
  • Establish relationships with and use the resources of the community to support achievement of program goals. Provide a safe and healthy physical environment.
  • Implement strong personnel, fiscal, and program management policies so that all children, families, and staff have high-quality experiences.

Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP)

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.

Empower Plus Program

Empower Plus requires nutritional standards for the children’s meals and promotes family dining so that children learn social skills during mealtime.

The Early Learning Center is licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services Child Care Facilities

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Creating Everyday Miracles for Children and Adults with Disabilities

Contact us

1802 West Parkside Lane
Phoenix, AZ 85027

(602) 943-5472
(888) 943-5472

[email protected]