Child Care and Early Education Services

Child Care and Early Education Services offers programs for children of students currently enrolled in classes at UCSC. Our center is located on campus near the West Entrance in Family Student Housing. Free or low-cost tuition rates are available for students who meet the eligibility requirements for subsidized care (please see the Eligibility for State Funding Chart at child care). All meals are included in the program (breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack).

Our programs are dedicated to providing the highest quality developmental care possible in a secure, homelike environment characterized by warmth, affection, and support. Our curriculum stresses the importance of meeting children’s needs in all areas of development: social, emotional, physical, cognitive and creative. Our program emphasizes nature-based outdoor learning incorporating the beautiful UCSC campus environment, garden activities, outdoor curriculum, all supporting a S.T.E.M. curriculum.

Programs are open to all children without regard to religion, color, ethnicity, gender, and physical or mental ability. All of our centers are located in the Family Student Housing Complex. Each center is open most days during the academic year from September through June, and some programs are open through the summer. The center is closed during administrative and university holidays, and staff development days. All of the child care spaces are provided for children of student families only. The majority of the spaces are reserved for students who meet the qualifications for subsidized care. Fee-for-service spaces at a below market rate may be available for student families whose income exceeds state-subsidy requirements.

Information about programs, fees, and applications is available at child care and at the Early Education Services Office in the Community Building at Family Student Housing; at (831) 459-2967, or by email at

Infant Center

The Infant Center will reopen fall 2022. It serves children ages 11 to 24 months with small group in a nurturing environment with developmentally appropriate curriculum to engage early learning. The hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. during the academic year and 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. during summer months.

Toddler Center

The Toddler Center serves children ages 18 to 36 months. Small groups, low child-to-adult ratios, outdoor curriculum and primary caregivers ensure consistent and nurturing care. Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. during the academic year, and 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. during summer months.

Preschool Center

The Preschool Center serves children from three years of age until they enter Transitional Kindergarten. The classroom provides small groups with low child-to-adult ratios, and an environment that supports a stimulating and rich curriculum that helps prepare children for kindergarten. The hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during summer months.

School Age Center

The School Age Program provides an after-school recreation program for children during the academic year. The program provides developmentally appropriate arts and crafts, life skills and sports activities, occasional community outings and quiet time for homework. The hours of operation are 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for Kindergarteners; and 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for 2nd through 4th graders. On Wednesdays (public school minimum days), care is available from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for all school-age children. Extended care is available on a sign-up basis on some Santa Cruz City Schools closure days (University closure days excluded).