LUME's Story

LUME's BELIEF
We believe the power to change society lies in changing the way young children are taught.    

LUME's lab school, University City Children's Center (UCCC). 

LUME's lab school, University City Children's Center (UCCC). 

OUR Story
LUME Institute evolved from the values, philosophy, and methodologies embodied by our lab school, University City Children's Center (UCCC), a nonprofit, early childhood education center that for over 45 years has served as a transformative model of quality early care and education. UCCC continues to reflect the founders' visionary desire to create a safe, nurturing environment where children from different socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds can learn and play together in an atmosphere that is respectful of diversity and individuality. Stephen P. Zwolak, who has been a student of children for over four decades, has served as the Executive Director of UCCC since 2000. In 2008, based on a community need for innovative professional development and coaching, Steve developed the LUME Approach and LUME Institute was created.

LUME's VISION
All children are prepared for life.

LUME's MISSION
We transform the way families, educators, and communities inspire young children to learn, grow, and thrive.

There is a crisis in the field of early childhood education.
Children, families, and educators need support in order to create strong communities. Experiences, relationships, and attachments in the first five years can affect whether a child graduates from high school, his or her future earnings, health outcomes, and participation in criminal activity or drug or alcohol addiction.

Childhood is changing, but a child's developmental needs are not.
21st century challenges for children include: technology, over-scheduling, 40 or more hours a week at school, and changing family structures. LUME supports children, families, and educators by rebuilding the field of early childhood education and educating the community on the importance of those first five years.

The Problem:

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) prevent healthy attachments
  • Expulsions are greatest among preschool-aged children
  • Early childhood educators leave their jobs at a rate of 25 to 40% annually
  • Families/educators need unique support understanding the root of challenging behaviors in children


A Solution:
LUME Institute is elevating early childhood teaching and parenting to transform children’s lives. Our professional development and family education courses help families and educators understand:

  • Children’s emotional development
  • Their (families’/educators’) own development
  • Child and adult temperaments
  • Environmental influences
  • Family history

If you are interested in learning more, call us at 314.469.9805.