First Things First

Upon enrollment, each child is evaluated to develop a specific educational program to meet their needs. CDC recognizes that each child requires individualized instruction and attention. Children requiring a high degree of attention are typically placed in a program with a three-to-one child-to-teacher ratio. Children who require a lesser degree of attention are usually placed in a program with a three or five-to-one ratio, depending on the child’s needs.


The philosophy of this school is that a child’s positive sense of self and trust in the environment and the people in it is essential for the child’s maximum progress. Children deserve the opportunity to interact and learn in a school environment that is emotionally safe and provides them with opportunities to explore and test themselves with teachers who value them as worthwhile and competent individuals. Children with special needs deserve trained teachers who understand their dynamics and have specialized knowledge to realize their fullest potential.

The psychosocial philosophy is based on developmental theorists such as Piaget, Erikson, Maslow, Moustakas, and Carl Rogers. The educational philosophy is drawn from researchers such as Poulsen, Kephart, Debnoff,  Bender, Schilder, and Clara Lee Edgar, who initially helped find the school. The curriculum also reflects a strong belief that the arts, music, dance, and drama provide personal expression opportunities, creative healing, and enhancement of self-esteem not offered by other disciplines.

The staff believes the child’s special needs represent a challenge for educators to find new learning avenues unique to that child. Further, each child has distinctive resources for growth, including an unshared developmental history, temperament, personality, learning style, and sense of self. Also, each child’s family has cultural, social, family history, and parenting style, which is to be honored and valued.