Infant-Toddler & Preschool Program

Infants (2 months-1 year)

Infants experience rapid growth and development during the birth year. Building strong emotional attachments with family and caregivers is the foundation for optimal psychological and physical development. At the CEC, infants and toddlers are able to develop at their own pace with the loving support and encouragement provided by their caregivers.

Our team of highly-qualified teachers focus on mirroring children’s at-home routines as closely as possible and meeting each child’s unique needs and individual rhythms. We use a respectful approach where caregivers establish trusting and meaningful relationships with each child by understanding their cues and allowing them to actively participate in their own routines and encouraging the growth of autonomy.

Toddlers (1-2 years)

As infants become toddlers, their needs evolve, as does our program with increasingly complex activities and more challenging outdoor environments. Additional group experiences promote overall development, build self-confidence and social awareness. These opportunities include language activities such as conversations, singing, reading, storytelling, and music. Daily experiences indoors and out provide rich stimulation for cognitive and physical growth.

Two Year Olds (2-3 years)

During this year of a young child’s life, they are eager to learn more about the world around them, understand how things work, and exert increasing control in their life. This is a time marked by increasing language skills, emerging cooperative play, and increased understanding of cause and effect. The capacity for increased levels of problem solving as well as toilet learning are also significant hallmarks of the two-year-old year. Using this knowledge of children’s physical, social and cognitive development, our caregivers focus on supporting and expanding these interests and skills.

As two-year-olds experience significant strides in all areas of their development, our environments and curriculum expands to meet their individual and collective needs. Our hilly, looping bike path, swings, versatile climbing experiences, as well as writing, painting, and building with a variety of loose parts and manipulatives are just a few of the activities that are available daily to stimulate their bodies and minds.

Preschool (3-5 years)

Preschool children are curious, thoughtful, inquisitive, energetic, loving, and full of emotion. They learn best through first-hand, meaningful engagements with the world around them, including peers and adults. They thrive when allowed to explore, discover and find the answers to their questions. The CEC’s Preschool Program provides a rich, stimulating and engaging curriculum designed to meet their developmental needs as well as pique their interests to learn. Our engaging indoor and outdoor classrooms are full of provocations, areas intentionally designed for exploration, and learning opportunities that intrigue and delight children.

The outdoor classroom for the preschool has an abundance of space and natural materials, and children have large blocks of uninterrupted time to imagine, discover and investigate. Natural materials such as sticks, logs, rocks, pine cones are readily available for children to use in their play. While some might consider these materials to be unconventional in a preschool setting, they provide rich opportunities for creativity and imagination, problem-solving and engineering. Each day in our preschool program provides children with lots of physical activity, stimulating activities, rich literacy experiences that promote reading and writing, and time to master newly developing abilities. In addition, social learning and the development of meaningful and compassionate relationships with peers and adults is a special focus and reflects our unique approach to fostering healthy interpersonal relationships.

Children leave us and move on to kindergarten with great confidence, a strong sense of themselves, and a wealth of knowledge about the world around them. Public and independent schools let us know they value having children and families from the Child Educational Center in their schools, and repeatedly report that children from our programare ready and eager to learn, and demonstrate skill and confidence as kindergarteners.

How To Enroll

Families interested in enrollment in our Infant-Toddler and Preschool Programs are invited to call us at (818) 354-3418 to schedule a tour. In addition, we encourage families to complete and submit the program application to begin the enrollment process. Completed applications can be submitted to Director of Administration, Helen Ruppel or at the CEC office at 140 Foothill Blvd. in La Cañada.

Although most of our admissions into the program occur between mid-May and mid-September of each year, we do experience some vacancies mid-year. We hold everyone's applications in our waiting pool throughout the year in the event a vacancy appears. Each year in January, we update the waiting pool list by sending out a form to each family on the list and ask that it be completed and returned. Only those families who return the form are kept in the pool.

Upon offer of enrollment, a time is scheduled for the parent(s) and child(ren) to meet with a Program Director. Once enrollment is confirmed, a set of licensing forms must be filled out and signed before the child enters the program. The family is also encouraged to visit as much as possible before their child's first day. An enrollment fee will be added to your initial billing, to cover processing your child's enrollment; as well as a health and safety fee.*

Our Learning Environments

Our engaging indoor and outdoor classrooms are full of provocations, areas intentionally designed for exploration, and learning opportunities that intrigue and delight children. Each unique environment is separate from the other developmental groups, allowing it to be appropriately safe, yet challenging. 

Our Teachers

Our low teacher-child ratio allows teachers to offer loving, individualised care to all children, as well as provide fun and engaging activities that support emerging skills.


NAEYC Accredited

The CEC is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). From guidelines for teacher preparation through safety standards, NAEYC Accreditation ensures that programs are safe, well prepared, and intentional about ensuring children's success.

Enrollment schedule options:

  • Full Time: Monday to Friday (full-time)
  • Three Days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday (full-time)
  • Two Days: Tuesday, Thursday
  • Half Days: AM or PM, Monday to Friday


View the current tuition rates. Tuition for all programs is due by the 1st of each month, with a late fee assessed after the 10th. Rates are increased as needed at the beginning of each fiscal year on September 1st to cover the costs of increased expenses. Tuition is charged for all week days each month, including holidays, whether or not your child is in attendance. Visit us here for information about Tuition Assistance.

*Infant-Toddler and Preschool Programs have an enrollment fee of $100.00 and health and safety fee of $80.00

Tuition Deposit

A tuition deposit will be assessed based on the enrollment schedule. For a full-time position (5 days), the deposit is $1,000; for part-time $600.

Current Openings*:

Age Group

If your child was born:

2017-2018 Openings


February 2017 - Not Yet Born

Full-Day: Monday-Friday
Full-Day: Monday, Wednesday, Friday


September 2016 - March 2017

Full-Day: Tuesday, Thursday
5 Half Days: Monday-Friday, Morning


February 2016 - August 2016

Full-Day: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
5 Half Days: Monday-Friday, Morning


September 2015 - March 2016

Applications Welcome*


September 2014 - August 2015

Full-Day: Monday-Friday
Full-Day: Tuesday, Thursday

Preschool - 3/4s

September 2013 - August 2014

Applications Welcome

Preschool - 4/5s

September 2012 - August 2013

Full-Day: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
5 Half Days: Monday-Friday, Morning

*The 2017-2018 program year begins August 14, 2017. For the openings listed, we are currently in the process of contacting families on our wait list. If we do not have an opening for your child, we encourage you to complete and return our application so that we may add you to our wait list.

Please know that openings are subject to change and that enrollment is dependent upon a variety of factors, including, but not limited to affiliation (JPL, Caltech, or community), date of application, philosophic compatibility with program, and special needs.