The SDSU Children’s Center has served as a resource for Aztec families for more than 40 years.
The SDSU Children's Center serves families with children ages 6 months through preschool.
Sunlight streams through large windows, while the convivial chattering of children abounds and the smell of breakfast wafts past everyone present.
It could be any home on a typical morning. Instead, it’s the SDSU Children’s Center on the east side of the San Diego State campus, home to Aztec families for more than four decades.
Learning through play
The 60,000-square-foot center educates about 225 students at any given time. Its philosophy focuses on a relaxed and loving atmosphere in which children are free to explore, learn and create through play.
To foster the development of the whole child, teachers plan activities that provide for maximum physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth, and continuous exposure to the tools for learning.
“Our main goal is to help children learn and develop in ways that promote their own growth, as well as getting along with others,” said Robin Judd, director.
But, it’s not only the center’s students that learn — the SDSU Children’s Center also serves as a research and learning lab for students in the SDSU Department of Child and Family Development.
“At any given time, we have about 300 students working at the center or volunteering due to their classes,” said Shulamit Ritblatt, department chair. “They are learning in more applied ways how to work with young children and how to engage with families and parents.”
The center serves not only as a place for research, but also allows students to apply academic theory in real-world classrooms.
“We are using the Children's Center as a lab for our students to really learn first-hand what does it mean to engage and interact with young children,” Ritblatt said. “I think it's an amazing jewel that we have on campus; there are not very many places that people can showcase an early childhood education program that is of such high quality.”
“Our center provides
student families a trusted place
to leave their children.”
The unique classroom format of the center also helps parents stay connected. Classrooms are treated like cohorts, where students in each age group “move on” to the next level as a group and keep the same teacher.
For example, a 6-month-old infant will keep the same classmates and teacher until they finish preschool. The format allows teachers to closely track students’ development while building long-term relationships with parents.
Parent involvement and participation are highly valued and encouraged at the center, with many different opportunities for involvement, including classroom participation, committee assignments, fundraising and curriculum projects.
As a service of Associated Students, the SDSU Children’s Center provides subsidized childcare for income-eligible SDSU students. Thanks to fundraising and state and federal grants, the center solves the problem of finding appropriate child care while students are in class or working.
“Without the funding provided through a California Department of Education grant, our student parents would have a very difficult time paying for — or even finding — quality care for their children,” Judd said.
“Our center provides student families a trusted place to leave their children, knowing they, too, are experiencing opportunities to learn and grow while parents focus on their academic studies in order to graduate and pursue their dreams.”
While all families are welcome at the center, children of SDSU students, faculty and staff are given admission priority.
Applications are accepted year-round. To learn more about the SDSU Children’s Center or to enroll your family, visit as.sdsu.edu/child
About Associated Students of SDSU
Associated Students is an independent, student-directed, nonprofit corporation that is one of the largest student governance organizations in the California State University system. As an affiliate of San Diego State University, the programs and facilities A.S. manages are enjoyed by students, faculty, staff and the SDSU and San Diego communities.
More information about A.S. can be found at as.sdsu.edu