Child Development

Child Development Center

Child Development Center at San Diego Mesa College

The San Diego Community College Districts Child Development / Early Education Centers at San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges are integral components of the college community. The Centers operate as instructional programs for students and offer quality educational programming for infants, toddlers, and preschool children. Centers are licensed by the California Department of Social Services - Community Care Licensing, Title 22, Division 12, and meet the guidelines established by the California Department of Education - Early Education Division and the California Department of Social Services – Child Care and Development Division.

The District Educational Services Division, through the Career Education and Workforce Development Department, oversees Center compliance, districtwide procedures, and protocols.

The Centers’ teaching staff and the college faculty provide learning environments that support instructional laboratory experiences through observation, practical application, and directed guidance.

Childcare openings at Mesa College Child Development Center in the preschool program, 3-5 year olds. Needed: current income, parent schedule, child's immunization record, child's birth certificate, State Preschool and Head Start.

View the SDCCD Family Handbook

Mission Statement

The Child Development / Early Education Centers of the San Diego Community College District are committed to meeting the individual needs of children, their parents, and college students, preparing them to become contributing members in a diverse society.

Child Development Center at San Diego Mesa College


The children’s program is planned and implemented to nurture each child socially, emotionally, cognitively, linguistically, and physically through integrated practices and curriculum. Children are guided through learning experiences appropriate to their individual capabilities and readiness.

The program provides children opportunities for challenge and mastery, peer interactions, individual needs, and interests. An integrated curriculum provides opportunities for exploration of the environment through language and literacy, creative activities, science, math, sensory experiences, and motor activities. The program provides active and quiet activities, child-directed and teacher-directed activities, and group and individual activities throughout each day.

Children learn best in an environment with consistent limits where they are allowed to explore and consider choices. This approach leads to self-direction, independence, and responsibility. Children are encouraged to think, reason, recall, and experiment as they work. Meeting the needs and interests of children and their families includes the sensitivity of the diverse values and cultures of individual children. Active participation from parents in the Center is encouraged.

The Centers are laboratory schools that serve as training facilities providing environments for college students to observe, interact, and implement the ideas and theories that are presented as part of the college program. Students integrate laboratory experiences and ideologies that provide understanding of children’s readiness and interaction skills. Interaction in the program and the lab provides an opportunity for parents and staff to promote integral relationships and continuity. Parents and students also have the opportunity to use lab classes as elective college courses or as part of a college child development career ladder.

Funding and Support

The Centers are funded and supported by:

  • San Diego Community College District
  • California Department of Education, Early Education Division
    • California State Preschool Program (CSPP), for children 3 or 4 years of age on or before December 1 of the program year.
  • California Department of Social Services, Child Care and Development Division
    • General Child Care and Development (CCTR) for children under 3 years of age on or before December 1 of the program year.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
  • San Diego City and Mesa College Centers are also supported by the Neighborhood House Association (NHA)
  • The San Diego County Office of Education, Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (SDQPI)

Child Development Center at San Diego Mesa College

College Lab Students in the Classroom

The Centers are lab-teaching facilities. Part of their function is to train SDCCD Child Development college students. Lab Students are supervised at all times and never left alone with children and must remain in the line of sight of a qualified teacher at all times. Some Lab Students participate weekly in the classrooms; others may come only to do a lesson plan with the children for their college course. 

Whatever level of participation, the Lab Students contribute to the overall success of the program. It is critical that all Center staff demonstrate respect, openness, and a desire to mentor each Lab Student.



College Student Participation in the Classroom

Lead Teachers assign Lab Students specific jobs to do with detailed explanations. This helps students know what to expect and helps to develop their confidence when working with young children. Some assigned tasks include:

  • Encouraging them to take the lead in a variety of situations
  • Explaining the importance of supporting children’s conflicts
  • Role modeling behaviors that help children in their creative activities without doing the activity for the child
  • Practicing sanitary and safety procedures by closely monitoring the implementation of lab rules

College Student Lesson Plans

Lab Students discuss their lesson plans with the Center teacher and require approval before implementation. During the implementation, Lab Students are closely supervised and evaluated by the Center teacher and/or the class faculty/instructor.


Families interested in enrolling in a Center must complete a Waitlist Application. Applications are placed on the Waitlist, which is kept active from May through April of each year. At the end of each April, the Waitlist is purged, and families must reapply to be on the new Waitlist.

The Waitlist is not first come, first served but is ranked according to the state Income Ranking Table. The “ranking” of families establishes the order in which children receive available spaces.

Call the center to schedule an appointment or complete a Waitlist Application.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.  

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 

  • mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW 
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; 
  • fax: (202) 690-7442; or 
  • email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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School of Health Sciences and Public Service

School of
Health Sciences & Public Service

Cassandra Storey
Cassandra Storey Dean School of Health Services & Public Service
Ida Cross Child Development Center
Ida Cross Department Chair, Child Development
Carlee Gosser Child Development Center
Carlee Gosser Director, Child Development Center 619-388-2436 619-388-2812 (Child Development Center)
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