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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 program offers thoughtfully designed environments that encourage the social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of young children. We serve approximately 225 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.