UCSB Early Childhood Care & Education Services



Early Childhood Care and Education Services provide a quality child care program for student, staff and faculty families within the University community. Our hope is to be a significant source of support for each family while providing a caring learning environment for each child. The goals of the program strongly reflect an abiding sense of respect for children, their unique cultures and individual development.

With infants and toddlers, we work to provide an environment as home like as possible – warm and welcoming, cozy spaces, photos of family, and so on. In their classrooms, infants develop intimate relationships with a stable caregiver. Caregiving activities such as feeding and diapering are warm, consistent and individualized. These routines are viewed as opportunities for children to receive undivided adult attention and to promote language, self awareness and social skills. The infants' pre-existing patterns for feeding and sleeping are respected and incorporated into the child's routine at the Center. Consistency in routines and schedules allow children to anticipate what is coming next, thus transitions are predictable.

The preschool classrooms are composed of children 3 years to 5 years of age. These multi-age groupings exemplify the program's commitment to provide experiences that enhance the development of each child's whole self: creative, intellectual, physical, social and emotional. As each of these facets develops at different rates, the children seek activities and experiences that meet their individual needs. In addition, children with different knowledge and abilities stimulate one another's thinking and encourage prosocial behaviors amongst themselves. But, perhaps most importantly, this enables families, children and teachers the chance to build strong and consistent relationships with one another.

All of the classroom environments offer a rich variety of spaces, material and activities organized to promote children's active exploration and mastery. Although classrooms often appear informal, they are the result of careful planning and structuring to ensure that the needs of each child are met in a supportive and nurturing way. Our teachers encourage curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, promote cooperative social interactions, support individual creativity and diversity and provide opportunities for children to use their growing bodies to develop a sense of autonomy and self worth. Children spend the majority of their day involved in a variety of activities: art, block building, dramatic play, music, sorting and matching games, listening to stories, movement activities, science activities and large motor play.

Because we wish the program to be an extension of a child's family life, we offer a variety of ways for parents to become involved in children’s classroom experience and in Center concerns. Conferences are scheduled at least twice a year, or more frequently at parent or teacher request. Parents are invited to share in their child's daily activities, to volunteer for field trips, special events or to just come in for a visit. The program plans several social events, parent meetings and work parties each year. In addition, all parents are members of the Parent Council that meets monthly.