Dissent and protest are probably not the first thoughts that come to mind when one hears the word “childcare.” And yet, in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, the very notion of on-site childcare at Stanford was a political one.

Back then, there were no full-time on-campus daycare options. At the same time, however, families made up of bread winning dads and stay-at-home moms were beginning to give way to more non-traditional models: student dads and working moms, professor moms and part-time working dads, single working moms. Though the permutations seemed endless, one thing was clear: these people needed childcare. A group of undergraduates recognized this need and pushed the cash-strapped university to help provide it. The students were joined by many parents and they made their case known, in typical 60’s fashion, leafleting on campus and leading teach-ins. For a time, they set up temporary childcare quarters in an abandoned building set for demolition. Though the Center was small, teachers and parents worked together to make it a comfortable setting for the children.

But everyone knew a more permanent solution was needed. A group of dedicated parents took their appeal directly to the university’s president, presenting him, on his birthday with a candle-covered cake—and a petition signed by more than 500 backers of their day care plan. The president was impressed, and eventually, after an interim move and some growing pains, Children’s Center of the Stanford Community was born.

Today, the Children’s Center of the Stanford Community serves more than 200 children, ages two months to five years, supports a growing staff of more than 50. We operate on a budget of about $3 million per year. Thousands of children have passed through our doors, and some even have their own children here now.

Since the beginning, CCSC has been run as a cooperative—the only center of its size in the area that operates on such a model. The word “community” is in our name for a reason. CCSC is not a “stop and drop” center. We believe that the presence of parents in the classroom is invaluable in enriching the lives and learning of the children in a supportive community setting. Parents work side by side with teachers in preparing meals, enjoying the classroom experiences, reading to the children, and bandaging bruised knees. We understand that not every family has the ability to contribute time in the classroom, and some don’t. But the vast majority find a way to make it work.

Please read this article about CCSC's history from the Stanford Historical Society.