Early in Life the Importance of Early Childhood Education | Steve Zwolak | TEDxDelmarLoopED

Stephen Zwolak is the founder and CEO of LUME Institute and Executive Director of University City Children’s Center (UCCC), LUME’s lab school. Zwolak has more than 45 years of experience working in the field of early childhood. He is recognized for leading the conversation on the impact and future of early childhood education in St. Louis and beyond. His years as a classroom teacher and a leader in various educational arenas drove him to develop the LUME Approach, for which there is growing evidence of closing the racial and socioeconomic achievement gap. The LUME Approach brings together theoretical, observational, and neuroscientific research that affirms that the emotional development of children is critical to academic success and lifelong positive outcomes.

As a young teacher, Zwolak studied at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, an educational center for which he now periodically serves as an instructor for others in child- and family-serving professions. In 2015, he received the American Psychoanalytic Association Educational Achievement Award.

Today, Zwolak is recognized for his visionary thinking and entrepreneurial ability to create, enhance and expand programs and develop infrastructure. He develops curricula which include understanding the importance of children’s sexual development and addressing angry love with ruthless compassion in the classroom and home. As a speaker and educator known for his warm demeanor, Zwolak skillfully challenges and motivates teachers to develop reflective practices in their daily relationships with children and families and to be prepared to administer therapeutic triage using a multi-disciplinary approach. Stephen Zwolak is the founder and CEO of LUME Institute and Executive Director of University City Children’s Center (UCCC), LUME’s lab school. Zwolak has more than 45 years of experience working in the field of early childhood. He is recognized for leading the conversation on the impact and future of early childhood education in St. Louis and beyond. His years as a classroom teacher and a leader in various educational arenas drove him to develop the LUME Approach, for which there is growing evidence of closing the racial and socioeconomic achievement gap. The LUME Approach brings together theoretical, observational, and neuroscientific research that affirms that the emotional development of children is critical to academic success and lifelong positive outcomes.

As a young teacher, Zwolak studied at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, an educational center for which he now periodically serves as an instructor for others in child- and family-serving professions. In 2015, he received the American Psychoanalytic Association Educational Achievement Award.

Today, Zwolak is recognized for his visionary thinking and entrepreneurial ability to create, enhance and expand programs and develop infrastructure. He develops curricula which include understanding the importance of children’s sexual development and addressing angry love with ruthless compassion in the classroom and home. As a speaker and educator known for his warm demeanor, Zwolak skillfully challenges and motivates teachers to develop reflective practices in their daily relationships with children and families and to be prepared to administer therapeutic triage using a multi-disciplinary approach. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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20 comments

  1. Stephen Zwolak, you are amazing! Thank you for your dedication to Early Childhood. I too am a dedicated Early Education Teacher. I teach to the SOUL! I agree about understanding how to teach African American boys. I teach at a Title 1 school. You have to understand the families and the demographics. I strive to make a difference. It is evident. I have students return to visit me after six years. I love what I do.

  2. Excellent points… “Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary.” ~ Abdul-Baha, Baha’i Faith

  3. Pray for me, i hope i can be a better sunday School teacher for kids.
    And i have a plan to learn Early child Education ( Master Degree ), is that any information about the best University that can teach us about that ( With scholarship ) ?

    THANK YOU so much for the sharing Stephen. =”)

  4. This is why I agree with the Reggio Emilia method and constructiveness for preschools

  5. My channel has some parenting questions answered…. Check my channel and subscribe to learn more about parenting.

  6. This touched my heart, not only as a teacher, but as a God mother, sister and (hopefully) future mother. It is so important to take care of the souls of our precious young ones. Thank you very much Mr. Zwolak.

  7. ECCE means Pre Primary Education training for Anganwadi Pre School 🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳 very nice video 👌 thanks