The HELC has four congruent missions:


1. Offer high-quality care and education of young children and their families. 

As an accredited program of NAEYC, the HELC includes the provision of a developmentally appropriate curriculum, which is based on research regarding how children grow, learn, and develop and recognizes that young children are active learners. The implementation of this curriculum and continued professional development of teaching staff is overseen by the directors who are faculty members in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University. Teachers with degrees or certificates in Early Childhood Education or Child Development prepare individualized plans for their classrooms that address intellectual, emotional, physical, and social development. In addition to the needs of the children, parental needs are considered through monthly seminars, an informative monthly newsletter, and other parenting resources.

 2. Provide training and education of college and university students who will work with young children and families. 

The Center serves as an internship site for graduate and undergraduate students who work under the supervision of teachers and directors as students hone their skills and attain practical experience in their chosen field. Internships do not need to be limited to teaching experiences, but can be in areas such as administration, curriculum development, family life education, parent education, nutrition, and other areas of experience. The Center has comfortable apartments on the second floor for interns free of charge.

3. Conduct and support scholarly research efforts that expand understanding of how children grow and develop and how teachers can support their growth and development.

The Center is open to professionals throughout the nation who are interested in studying issues related to child growth and development, family relations, early childhood education, and the family-work interface. A large observation room is available for research purposes as well as a mobile camera unit that can be placed in any classroom. Research teams including faculty and students can use the apartments for prolonged stays.  

4. Work collaboratively with community members and other early childhood professionals and programs in expanding the availability of high quality early care and education.

 Teaching staff of the Center serve as teachers and mentors for childcare workers in the community. The Center sponsors seminars and in-service workshops for directors of child care centers, teachers, curriculum specialists, and family child care providers. Through corporate donations and grants, the Center offers scholarship to under-privileged children and families. The Center serves as a venue to address social and family policy issues related to childcare and early education, dual income families, defining quality care, and teacher qualifications and salary.