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California State University at San Marcos: On-site New Center Build

California State University at San Marcos (CSUSM) is known for its pioneering and creative spirit. To help fill the campus with talented individuals, the university joined forces with KinderCare Education at Work (KCE) to design and build a custom on-site child care center. Under their management, the center has become a showcase for the university. Which is as it should be. Because when you're trying to attract and keep the most innovative minds, "average" doesn't make the grade. 


As one of the youngest – and fastest growing – campuses within the California State University system, CSU San Marcos is known for two things: finding new ways to provide broad access to quality instruction, and blazing trails in the type of education relevant to today's global and technology-rich society. Knowing CSUSM faculty, staff, and students were the key to the university's continued success, senior administrators decided an on-campus child care center would be an appealing draw. Their first move in meeting their goal? Reaching out to the University Auxiliary & Research Services Corporation (UARSC).


Dora Knoblock, Executive Director of UARSC, states the university was very clear on the key considerations when they went to bid for a third party to manage the center:
  • Collaboration. UARSC wanted a provider who would truly partner with them; one willing to create a program unique to the needs of the university and community
  • High-quality Care and Flexible Programming. Past success gaining accreditation from national early childhood education and care organizations/ associations; open to working closely with parents on the educational offerings
  • Educational Philosophy. The university sought a company with a structured, age-appropriate curriculum that fostered the academic, social, cognitive, and physical development of each child and included additional enrichment programs for those who chose to participate
  • Teacher Training. Having both a well-trained, professional staff at the center and ability to provide educational opportunities to CSUSM students was important
  • Customer Service. The evaluation committee wanted a provider with a proven record of customer satisfaction After a thorough process KinderCare Education at Work was chosen to partner with the university on the child care center. The two sides immediately began designing a beautiful 21,000 square foot Center for Children and Families (CCF) which officially opened in the fall of 2007. "The center is a source of pride," says Dora. "CSUSM President Haynes even takes visiting dignitaries to show off her '21st century child care center." 

In addition to offering families KCE's exclusive learning-based curriculum and experienced teachers, the CCF center incorporates many unique touches, including:

  • a private webcam in every classroom that provides a constant video stream to parents
  • observation lobby areas in every classroom that permit the College of Education's student teachers and professors to view the children's learning and play
  • an on-site classroom that can be used to deliver lectures and further training


Making all the success possible is the strong relationship that has been formed between KCE and all the university-related entities, including the administration at CSUSM, UARSC, and Student Affairs. "It's been a true collaboration and partnership," explains Dora. "We could not have asked for a better partner for our child care center." 

The joint effort has created a positive, caring environment for the children it serves. As one parent recently reported, "My child has excelled in this environment – caring folks and age-appropriate learning activities. Keep up the good work!" 

The tight-knit relationship with the College of Education has opened the door to hosting other programs' students, according to Dora. 

"We've had future nurses come to observe the infant room as part of their studies – and visits from students studying Human Development, Psychology, Speech and Language." – DORA KNOBLOCK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY AUXILIARY & RESEARCH SERVICES CORPORATION