link Child Development Lab Center Home

Little girl reading a book on a bench.

Free Childcare for Students

The District is committed to providing free high-quality, early education and care to our students.


Contact Us

Campus Phone Email
West Valley College (408) 741-2152
Mission College (408) 855-5572
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Program Philosophy

The Mission College Child Development Center Lab School (CDC) is an early childhood program dedicated to supporting the needs of children and families of Mission College students, staff/faculty and the larger surrounding community. 
The non-profit, on-campus CDC fosters an environment of respect and understanding that supports the development of the whole child. This is accomplished through low adult-child rations, highly educated teachers, play-based developmentally appropriate learning, and a focus on diversity. 
Additionally, this program is part of the Child Studies Department, and the CDC serves as its lab school and is uniquely involved in the academic life of the college by serving as a research-based teacher training and observation site for students and parents. 

Mission Statement 

The mission of the Mission College Child Development Center is to provide an exemplary laboratory for teacher training.  It will demonstrate best practices for optimum child development and learning, using a play-based, emerging curriculum. 

Highly Educated Teachers

The CDC is staffed by full-time Master Teachers who have degrees in Early Childhood Education. Teachers have training and experience in all areas of child development. Annually, Master Teachers complete a minimum of 21 hours of professional development/continuing education.

Low Adult-Child Ratios

The CDC maintains a ratio of:

  • 1:3 – in the infant/toddler rooms ages 6 weeks – 18 months
  • 1:4 – in the toddler rooms ages 24-36 months
  • 1:8 – in the preschool rooms ages 36-60 months

An Environment Build for Play

We believe play is the natural medium through which growth and development can best be realized for each child. Therefore, our program reflects an emergent play-based curriculum in a natural setting.

We establish an aesthetically beautiful environment in which children are free to explore, create, learn and grow.

We believe children learn by doing and discovering for themselves, so adults provide opportunities for children to experiment and explore their environment.

Adults serve as guides, facilitators, and co-discoverers, rather than direct instructors. Curriculum topics emerge out of the interests and needs of the children.

Commitment to Diversity

Our curriculum is ethnically diverse, non-sexist, and anti-biased. This is demonstrated in the use of appropriate materials, toys, books, pictures, and foods.

We employ a diverse staff and are often assisted by our parents and Child Development students in providing unique ethnic and culturally relevant experiences.

Open to All

The program operates on a non-discriminatory basis, according equal opportunity for access to services and employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sexual preference, or special needs and disabilities. No religious instruction of any kind is provided.


Children deserve to be in an aesthetic environment that respects and understands the process of growth and development of the child. We believe play is the natural medium through which growth and development can best be realized for each child.

Therefore, we reflect an emergent developmentally appropriate curriculum in a natural setting. See Appendix for classroom daily schedules.

Play and Emergent Curriculum

While children play, they put their ideas into action. They learn to communicate effectively. They discover how to get along with other children.

They make things happen and enjoy a sense of competence. Play allows children to experiment, and problem solve. It fosters the ability to focus attention and to concentrate for long periods of time.

Play provides opportunities for children to express their thinking and feelings. It requires authentic learning experiences, fosters imagination, and encourages children to generate creative ideas.

Learning experiences are developmentally appropriate and are matched with the age of the child, their individual interests, their abilities, and their temperament.

Workbooks, coloring books, and pre-cut art materials are ready-made adult models for children that provide little or no opportunity for individuality and creativity. A rich array of natural materials and authentic learning experiences enables the child's involvement in a full range of activities.

Learning experiences are child-directed rather than teacher-directed. Children are presented with many opportunities for selecting materials, initiating activities themselves, participating in activities others have chosen, and following through to satisfactory completion.

Children are given ample opportunity and time to discover, invent, create, feel, taste, touch, and enjoy a full range of activities within the classroom and college campus.

The curriculum is ethnically diverse, non-sexist, and anti-biased as demonstrated by use of appropriate learning materials, books, pictures, foods, and how teachers respond to children’s individual needs.

We have a diverse staff and are often assisted by our parent and student groups in providing ethnic and cultural experiences, food, dress, and celebrations. It is our goal to create an environment and foster interactions that provide children with the opportunity to:

  • Understand differences and similarities among children and adults.
  • Foster a spirit of inquiry and critical thinking through an emergent, play-based curriculum.
  • Appreciate nature, the outdoor environment, and the outcomes of sustainable practices.
  • Develop a positive self-concept and healthy self-image.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with teachers and peers based on mutual respect and trust through a developing understanding of the social and cultural environment.
  • Commutate effectively.
  • Build physical strength, skills, and muscular coordination.
  • Practice safe and healthy nutritional and self-care habits.
  • Develop problem-solving skills and to think creatively.
  • Manage emotions and express feelings appropriately.