In 2001, the University of Northern Iowa and the Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education developed a model early childhood education program, known as the Freeburg Early Childhood Program, in partnership with the Waterloo Community Schools, the R.J. McElroy Trust, Tri-County Head Start, Allen College and Allen Health Systems, Inc.
The Freeburg Early Childhood Program is located in McElroy Hall, on the Allen College campus.
In the 2010 school year, UNI partnered with Tri-County Head Start, the Waterloo Community Schools, Allen College and Allen Health Systems, Inc. to transition the Freeburg Center to a Head Start and pre-kindergarten program. The children attending the center live in and around the neighborhood. Most of the children attending the Freeburg Center are from families that are of low income and therefore, are eligible for Head Start support.
The facility serves more than 96 students ages three-to-four.
UNI early childhood education students and faculty work with the students and the teachers to provide professional-development and interactive learning-experiences that focus heavily on science, math and reading. The UNI students also experience working with children from diverse families living in poverty.