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Early Childhood Education Center

About Us

Our primary goal is to assist student parents attain their educational goals by providing appropriate care for their young children in a high-quality, convenient and affordable educational setting. Our educational philosophy draws upon a variety of educational approaches to support each child’s optimum growth and development as well as make children’s learning visible. To meet the needs of student parents, we are open year-round from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday, and offer full and part-time childcare schedules. We operate four programs throughout the year to match the University’s four enrollment periods for fall and spring semesters and winter and summer sessions. We are closed for University holidays, Spring Break and all other non-instructional days. Please consult our annual Center calendar for other important dates. As a campus-based childcare program, we also provide opportunities for student employment and early childhood teacher training.


Our mission is to assist student parents with their goal of obtaining a college degree by providing them with high-quality, convenient and affordable childcare for their young children. We are proud of the student parents’ ethnic, racial, cultural, religious and economic diversity on our campus and therefore welcome all families in our Center. To meet this goal, we define family to be two or more persons who share resources, share responsibility for decisions, share values and goals and have a commitment to one another over time. We believe that the family is that climate that one comes home to. It is a network of sharing and commitment that most accurately describes the family unit regardless of blood, legalities, adoption or marriage.

Education Philosophy

We believe that children are natural researchers who are innately curious and intrinsically motivated to search for meaning by wondering, exploring and interacting with the world around them and engaging in relationships with others. We view children as authentic and competent beings full of unique gifts and potential. They are capable of constructing and representing their own understandings by questioning and problem-solving, and through creative expression.

We believe children learn best as part of a collaborative learning community of families, peers and educators. We recognize that when given the gifts of time to play, appropriate support and challenges, and a provocative environment rich in materials and possibilities, children can reach their full potential.

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Centerist History

Campus-based childcare at SF State was first approved by the CSU Board of Trustees in January 1971, and Associated Student, Inc. (ASI) opened its doors to student parents of preschoolers on October 10, 1972. The cost of construction and operation of the ASI Lilliput Childcare Center was paid for primarily by ASI funds and a pledge of $16,000 from the Jesse and Clement Stone Foundation of Chicago secured by SFSU President S.I. Hayakawa.

In 1989, to ensure that no student parent be denied access to any CSU campus or have his/her academic progress impaired because of the lack of adequate, affordable campus child care services, the CSU Board of Trustees adopted the State-wide Policy on Campus Children’s Center Programs. This policy provided the extra funding needed to expand the ASI Children’s Center’s (Lilliput) hours of operation, improve the quality of service and expand care to include infants and toddlers. Experienced early childhood educators with college degrees were hired to teach in each classroom and administer the program. With the help of parents and staff, major classroom renovations were made, and in 1995 the Center received accreditation through the Academy of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

In 1996, the Center moved to a temporary facility on campus while a new, state-of-the-art facility was built. Thanks to the generous support of students voting in favor of a fee referendum, the new facility met the growing demands for childcare by doubling capacity. It also provides a model site for early childhood interns and research in high quality responsive care giving.

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Group Size and Ratio

The Center is divided into two programs: Infant-Toddler and Preschool. The Infant-Toddler program has six classrooms for children between the ages of 6 months to 3 years. The Preschool program has three classrooms for children 3-5 years of age. Group size and adult:child ratios are key determinates of quality caregiving. Our ratios and group size adhere to NAEYC accreditation standards and exceed State licensing regulations.

1:3 6 infants (6–15 months) Rooms 1 and 4
1:4 8 toddlers (15–24 months) Rooms 2 and 3
1:4 12 two-year-olds (2–3 years) Rooms 5 and 6
1:8 16 preschoolers (3–5 years) Rooms 7, 8 and 9

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Cost of Childcare

Childcare tuition is determined by using a sliding scale fee chart that considers student status, family size and income. Tuition is a contractual agreement calculated on a semester basis, and fee charts are reviewed and revised annually by the BOD. Current rates for FY 2009-2010 are approximately as follows:

Infant-Toddler Program Student Parent Rates $4.21 - $7.21
Non-Student Parent Rates $7.25 - $8.73
Preschool Program Student Parent Rates $3.38 - $5.69
Non-Student Parent Rates $5.72 - $6.57

Low-income parents may qualify for part-time subsidized childcare through the Center’s two current federal and state grants: Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) and the State Preschool Program. CCAMPIS funds are provided through a grant with the U.S. Department of Higher Education and are intended to help low-income undergraduate parents earn a college degree. State Preschool funds are provided to help parents from low-income families prepare their preschooler for kindergarten by providing their child with part-time childcare in a high-quality early childhood education program. Low-income parents may also be eligible for outside agency funding. To learn more about these programs you can contact our Office Manager.

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Governing Board

The Center is governed by the ASI Board of Directors (BOD), an elected student body organization. In accordance with the ASI procedures, the Center Director submits a proposed budget to the ASI Executive Director each spring for review. The final budget is presented to the BOD for approval then forwarded to the University President for final approval. The Center Director provides the BOD with monthly reports and an annual report of the Center’s enrollment, expenditures and activities.

The Center operates on a non-discriminatory basis affording equal access to services without regard to actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, mental or physical disability, or age or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. The Center’s curriculum refrains from religious instruction or worship.

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Center Licensing and Accreditation

The Center is licensed through the California Department of Human Services, Community Care Licensing Division, Title 5 & 22.

The Center has been accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) since 1995. Early childhood program accreditation means that a center voluntarily applied to the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs to engage in an extensive self-study based on the Academy’s Criteria for High Quality Early Childhood Programs. The accuracy of a center’s self-study is then verified during a site visit by a team of trained Academy validators and their assessment along with the director’s responses to the validation visit is reviewed by a 3-member national commission composed of experts in childcare and early childhood education. If the commission judges the center to be in substantial compliance with the Academy’s criteria, the center is granted accreditation for a 5-year period providing annual reports are submitted by the center director.

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Parent Involvement

The purpose of the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is to provide a forum for parents to discuss program procedures and evaluation, long-range planning and staff development. It serves as a liaison among individual classroom parents, Center administration and the ASI Board of Directors towards the maintenance of our accredited campus-based facility. PAC also supports classroom activities through fundraising efforts, and provides community outreach and advocacy on behalf of children, parents and teachers.

As a State funded and CSU mandated program, the Center recruits parent volunteers to serve as PAC members. Members include 3 student parents from each program, 2 non-student parents, Center Director, 1 Program Coordinator, 1 Head Teacher, the ASI VP of Internal Affairs and Associate Executive Director. PAC meets monthly, and the agenda is posted in the Center lobby. (See Center calendar)

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Contact Us

We are located on the campus of San Francisco State University on State Drive and Lake Merced Blvd. near the campus parking structure. Our mailing address is:

1650 Holloway Avenue
CCSU M-106
San Francisco, CA 94132

Sarah Johnson has a M.A. in Early Childhood Education and began working at the Center in June 1990.
Her e-mail contact is:

Office Manager
Veronica Castillo has a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing and began working at the Center in August 2003.
She can be reached at (415) 338-2403 or

Preschool Program Coordinator
Gena Wilson has her M.A. degree in Early Childhood Education and began working at the Center in January 2001.
Her e-mail contact is:

Infant-Toddler Program Coordinator
Erica Almaguer has her M.A. degree in Early Childhood Education and began working at the Center in August 1999.
Her e-mail contact is:

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