Program Information

  • A loving, caring environment. 
  • A secure and enriching place for children to grow and learn. 
  • A center which nurtures the natural curiosity and learning abilities of the young child. 
  • A child development center staffed with qualified and dedicated teachers.

These are a few of the principles that guide operation of USD's Manchester Family Child Development Center, a 6,000 square foot facility located on the beautiful campus of the University of San Diego.

The Center – opened in the fall of 1989 – accepts children between the ages of two and a half and five. Both full- and half-time enrollment options are available 2, 3, or 5 days per week.

Affiliated with USD's School of Education, the Center serves as a practicum and research site for members of the USD community.

The facility opens at 7:15 a.m. and closes at 5:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. Morning and afternoon snacks and hot lunches are included in the program fee. The Center is a year-round school, closing for two weeks over Christmas and for two weeks each summer.

Each of the Center's four classrooms is staffed by two full-time teachers, and supported by part-time student workers, parents, and volunteers. Class sizes are limited to 12-15 mixed-aged children per room. Our highly qualified staff strives to implement a play based, child centered learning curriculum while building a warm sense of community.

The Center's mission, philosophy, and practices are inspired by the developmental theories of Dewey, Montessori, Piaget, Erikson, Vygotsky, Bruner, Gardner, Katz, and Malaguzzi. We are inspired and challenged by the methods in the preprimary schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. We do not strive to duplicate what has evolved in Reggio over the last three decades, but rather to interpret the theories inherent to their approach into a method that reflects our own unique culture and practices.

The Center's staff view children as self-directed learners who accomplish most when they are actively engaged in meaningful and challenging activities. Teachers facilitate a beautiful and natural environment which provides ample opportunities for children to experience those activities, individually and in groups.

The Center strives to promote multi-cultural understanding and gender equality in its curriculum and in its practices. It also seeks to integrate children with differing needs into the program.

We view parents as our partners in teaching and learning. We welcome and encourage parent participation.