For 50 years, the Cerritos College Child Development Center (CDC) has provided quality childcare to the community, student-parents, and employees while training future early childhood education teachers as a laboratory school. While the CDC’s programs have remained steady and strong, it has been housed in a temporary modular building for several years. As the District rebuilds its aging facilities, the College is aiming to secure grant dollars to give its beloved CDC a permanent structure.
The CDC began as an off-site location at the Niemes Child Development Center in 1973 and moved to campus in 1976. In 2015, Cerritos College completed the first phase of the CDC construction project with a $6.1 million-dollar Measure CC fund that largely focused on the Outdoor Classroom Demonstration Site with learning features based on the California landscape. Two classrooms and support facilities were moved to temporary, modular buildings until the second phase of construction can be completed. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, the Center prescribes child-centered social constructivism, which offers children the opportunity to construct knowledge through daily experiences with parents, teachers, peers, events, and objects in the world.
The Center is designated as an Outdoor Classroom Demonstration site for the County of Los Angeles, and the playground area features a certified wildlife habitat.
Despite high demand, the existing facility only serves about 19 percent of the existing need. The CDC currently serves 96 children aged 2 to 4 years old, yet the current waitlist as of September 2022 includes more than 500 families with children ranging from 0-4 years old. With a new, permanent building, the College will be able to close the supply-demand and expand the CDC’s offerings to children ages 0 to 12 years with more flexible formats.
“Our Child Development Center needs its permanent classroom facilities to meet the community’s demands for affordable, quality early childhood education and child care,” said Dr. Jose Fierro, president/superintendent of Cerritos College. “We must expand our acclaimed childcare services, hands-on student training, and access to education to better serve our community, students, and student-parents.”