CLU to dedicate Child Development Center
Facility has children’s kitchen, outdoor learning areas
A dedication for the new $2 million Fredrickson Family Early Childhood Center at California Lutheran University will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 25.
Children from the center will perform and donors will be honored during the ceremony, which is open to the public. Afterward, people can take self-guided tours.
The 4,738-foot facility provides more than double the space of the renovated house where the center had been located. It has an infant room and laundry, which will enable teachers to care for six babies in addition to the 50 toddlers and preschoolers they can currently serve. The kitchen has a child-sized island that will allow teachers to provide hands-on cooking and baking experiences for the children. Unlike the former location, the new center has a workroom and patio for teachers and classrooms that have bathrooms and open directly onto the playground.
The fenced play yard was designed with assistance from Nature Explore, a research-based program that helps children engage with the natural world as a part of learning. The yard provides opportunities for children to climb tree-like structures, dig in the garden, play with water and climb rocks.
The center is located on Campus Drive north of Olsen Road, a more easily accessible area closer to campus than its current location. The center is across the street from University Village retirement community and staff members plan to develop intergenerational programming so the seniors and children can interact.
The Overton and Fredrickson families, which include CLU alumni, provided the primary donation for the center. Donations and grants from individuals and organizations, including the Ahmanson Foundation of Beverly Hills, covered the rest of the cost. CLU Regent Joan Young and her husband, Richard Young, of Westlake Village donated $25,000 in memory of their daughter, Lisa, who recently died. Lisa loved giving children books and there will be a Lisa’s Corner in each room where children can go to read.
The new center replaces a house that was supposed to be a temporary location when the program started in 1974. It was often referred to as the House on the Hill in the early years because of its location just below Mt. Clef Ridge. A CLU student started the program as a master’s degree project and the School of Educated operated it for many years as a training program for leaders in early childhood education. It offered innovative programs and became a model for other childhood learning centers. While the School of Education no longer oversees the center, CLU students from various disciplines conduct observations at the center to study topics ranging from motor development to language acquisition. The popular program serves CLU employees as well as community members.