Since before opening our doors 20 years ago, an on-campus Early Childhood Education Center has been part of the vision and aspiration of this University. In the School of Education, for example, Drs. Kaia Tollefson and Joan Karp conducted an exploratory study and needs assessment for a Center almost a decade ago.

Still, although an Early Childhood Center was a priority for CSUCI, as a new and fast-growing institution, the difficult decision to prioritize academic and core facilities needed to take precedent.

In the past year, however, the campus, local elected officials, and the School of Education have been redoubling efforts to finally achieve the goal of realizing this Center for this campus and our community stakeholders. This work received a huge financial and emotional boost last fall, when Assembly member Jacqui Irwin, who represents California’s 44th assembly district and was instrumental in securing a $7 million in state allocations. Additionally, the County of Ventura provided a $5 million grant, as well as CSUCI receiving a gift of $1.5 million from Kennedy Wilson, alongside other commitments made to the University from the region's agriculture, philanthropic, and community organizations.

The ultimate goal of the Early Childhood Center is to create an educational laboratory school that serves Ventura county and the future early learning workforce who pursue their educator preparation work here at CSUCI. We envision center that serves students of all abilities, that draws from the wisdom and knowledge of families and communities, that advances dual language acquisition in the early years, and that serves as a cultural and social organizing space for advocates of high-quality early childhood education for all.

We hope you will check in on this page frequently for updates on our journey and how you might get involved!

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The vision of the Early Childhood Care and Education Center is to provide children and their families with an environment that fosters care, mutual respect, accessibility, and works actively to sustain their funds of knowledge. The environment will facilitate the formation of strong relationships between teachers and children by encouraging children to pursue their curiosities through play. As such, indoor and outdoor environments will reflect the surrounding natural ecology, which will give children and families a strong feeling of belonging and will encourage families to share their knowledge, experiences, and expertise.

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