Our History

The Children’s Center at Caltech opened in 1972 in a former home that had also been used as a dormitory, at 293 S. Chester. It was founded with the approval of Caltech by a group of Caltech wives and students, plus several non-Caltech Pasadena women. Like most child care centers, it has experienced growing pains and changes. In the early years, the Center had low enrollment and high staff turnover. More than once it appeared that it might have to close.

In 1988, a second classroom at 303 S. Chester was opened. A third house at 296 S. Chester, opened in 1990. In July of 1998, a Toddler Option with portable classroom adjacent to 296 S. Chester was added. This environment cultivates a home-like atmosphere. The latest addition is the office/training room in the house on the southeast corner of Del Mar and Chester.

In the early years, the Center was financially independent, paying all its own operational expenses. Gradually, Caltech increased its support of the Center, and now aids substantially in terms of free rent, utilities, maintenance, repairs, and gardening. However, the Center remains separate as a private non-profit corporation with its own governing Board of Directors. CCC Parents make up the majority of the Board of Directors.

Families of differing social and ethnic backgrounds, from Caltech and the community at large, are accepted on a non-discriminatory basis. There are six classroom groups. The Center serves as a lab school for nearby colleges and universities and helps train many child development students each year.

We foster a close relationship between home and school. Parents are welcome to visit the classroom, accompany the children on field trips, and participate in planned classroom activities. The low adult-child ratio allows for the individual needs of every child to be met in a comfortable, supportive setting. The Center first achieved accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 1993 and has been re-certified every year since then.

Children from six months to six years are accepted in the two, three, or five-day enrollment.

They are grouped by age as follows:

Bunnies 6-18 months
Dolphins 18-30 months
Penguins 2-3 years
Koalas 3-4 years
Raccoons 3.5-4.5 years
Beavers 4-5 years

Our operating budget is based on tuition income alone. Monies from fundraising activities are spent on major acquisitions or special items. In addition, a Tuition Assistance Fund has been established. Contributions to these funds or the program in general, are welcome. Contributions made to the Center are tax deductible.