A Helping hand: Multifaceted Child Development Center provides learning experience for student-parents and children


David Pradel

Assistant Teacher, Veronica Ruelas makes sure the children at the Child Development Center at San Diego City College are playing safe. Ruelas has been working at the center for almost four years after graduating in 2011 with an associates degree in Child Development. Photo credit: David Pradel

Holly Bridges

The San Diego City College Child Development Center serves many purposes. The on-campus childcare center serves students, student-parents and children. It features a playground for playing, a classroom for learning, a place for connecting, and structure for growing.

Licensed by the state of California, the Child Development Center is located on the southeast end of campus at 1601 B St.

“The Child Development Center is a lab for people who want to pursue an early childhood, teaching degree,” Director Berta Harris explained.

Child Development students take regular classes with coursework but must also spend time at the center where they get hands-on experience teaching and interacting with children.

“They also get to watch and learn how kids grow, think and play and also observe how the young children socialize with other kids. This offers the student an excellent way to implement ideas and theories learned during their college program and studies in a great environment,” Harris added.

The daycare program also provides a place for City College student-parents to leave their children in a safe, convenient location right on campus while they attend class.

Psychology student and mom, Stephanie Acevedo, has brought her son to the school for more than two years.

“I go to school early in the morning so I like the convenience of the daycare while I go to school. It’s nice having so much diversity in the students and the staff as well,” Acevedo said.

Parents that have their children in the daycare program are required to take child development classes and volunteer at the center three hours a week. Moms and dads not only gain knowledge through the courses and lab time, but they also get to have fun seeing their child during their busy day. In addition to the certified teachers, they also serve the needs of the center by providing another set of eyes on the kids.

Tammy Boates is a Child Development Lab Tech and has been teaching the children and mentoring City College students for 25 years. Her favorite thing about working with the toddlers is, “Watching them discover their environment. And it’s great that parents can have childcare for free or at low-cost as it’s a state sliding scale fee that has to do with their income level.”

“We accept infants and children up to age five. Currently there is a waiting list for child enrollment but applications are now being accepted,” Harris said.

The center is not a drop-in or drop-off care center, but more of a structured pre-school setting that allows for fun play and learning where the child, the student, the parent and staff all benefit.

For more information about the program contact the facility at (619) 388-3205.