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Our Vision

To include childcare in development of and access to funding mechanisms so that we can:

  • Ensure that our program provides the highest quality early care and education services
  • Promote best practice in support of research
  • Serve as a resource for professional preparation programs
  • Provide access to program facilities that adequately address the need for quality childcare and education

What We Do

For over 50 years, UC San Diego has provided high-quality care and education for the children of students, faculty and staff. Our full-time and part-time programs offer thoughtfully designed environments that encourage the social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of young children. Our program serve approximately 260 children ages 3 months to 5 years.

We provide:

  • A safe, secure and nurturing environment that addresses each child’s physical needs and comfort
  • Indoor and outdoor learning centers that challenge children to actively explore their environment
  • A community of children of different ages, social and cultural backgrounds who help each other create and expand their interests through cooperative explorations
  • A community of adults who create a caring and nurturing environment; encourage the exploration of new materials; support thoughtful, creative decision-making; and expand opportunities for individual and cooperative play
  • Nutritious daily snacks that reflect a variety of tastes, cultures and dietary preferences
  • A healthy, safe and green childcare setting, endorsed as “Eco-Healthy” by Eco-Healthy Child Care, a Children’s Environmental Health Network program

Learn more about our staff, programs and accreditation and license.

Campus Childcare History Highlights

  • 1969: A parent cooperative babysitting service was established, providing care for 12 children by Women’s Liberation Front members in a trailer on campus.
  • 1971: The cooperative affiliated with Student Affairs to obtain better facilities and moved to the Matthews Campus Pump House (now the Visual Arts Building site).
  • 1974: Student Affairs purchased a trailer to increase site capacity to 32 spaces. Children were divided into two groups; infants were cared for in the trailer and toddlers/preschoolers in the Pump House.
  • 1976: A Title 22 licensed childcare center was established and became an official university department under Business Services.
  • 1983: The chancellor purchased a second trailer to separate toddlers from preschoolers, increasing total capacity to 58 spaces.
  • 1985: The Pump House steadily deteriorated and had to be demolished. The center purchased and installed a triple-wide trailer on the Pump House foundation, increasing total capacity to 75 spaces.
  • 1990: The canter established a referral service to assist UC San Diego families who were on the ECEC waiting list, or needed off-campus care.
  • 1991: The Title 5 Early Childhood Education Center was established on the East Campus with five classrooms, increasing capacity to 130 spaces for children ages 3 months to Kindergarten in a full-time program.
  • 1992: The center opened a temporary facility in a Mesa Apartments recreation room to accommodate 12 children of low-income parents who qualified for the new Federal Block Grant subsidy.
  • 1995: The center built three additional classrooms to accommodate 36 infants, 72 toddlers and 96 preschoolers, including those at the Mesa Apartments temporary facility, increasing capacity to 204 spaces.
  • 2005: The center earned National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation.
  • 2006: A young infant program was established for babies age 3–12 months, increasing capacity to 210 spaces.
  • 2007: Resource Management & Planning and Business Affairs considered campus childcare expansion options utilizing UCOP matching funds.
  • 2009: The Title 22 Mesa Child Development Center was established on East Campus with 24 licensed spaces for children age 2–5 years in a part-time program. It absorbed children from the closing International Center’s Nursery School.
  • 2016: Mesa Child Development Center expansion added 48 full-time licensed spaces, including 8 young infant spaces, increasing capacity to 72.
  • 2018: The Kindergarten room was remodeled to create 8 additional infant spaces. In total, 282 children ages 3 months to 5 years were served on campus.
  • 2021: Early Care & Education merged programs to offer one at the Early Childhood Education Center.