The Merced College Los Banos Campus held an open house May 21 to showcase its new Child Development Center, which will provide local families with a high-quality childcare facility and offer students hands-on learning opportunities in early childhood development.

During the open house, community partners, employees, students, and other stakeholders previewed the new facilities. The center, set to open for the fall semester in August, promises to be an asset to the Los Banos community, providing essential services and educational opportunities.

The new center will allow students to pursue their early childhood education degrees and complete their studies without needing to travel to the Merced campus.

“The Los Banos Child Development Center is more than just a building; it is an opportunity for our students and the entire community,” said Jessica Moran, Dean of Instruction for the Los Banos Campus. “By removing barriers that have long hindered our students’ ability to complete their degrees, certificates, and career goals, we are paving the way for a brighter future.”

The Los Banos Campus will offer classes and training to meet California requirements for credentials, permits and licenses. Students can earn an Associate of Arts in Child Development (AA-CLDV) and an Associate of Sciences for Transfer Degree in Early Childhood Education (AS-T-ECE).

The program prepares students with developmentally appropriate practices, focusing on age, abilities and culture from individual and family perspectives. Additionally, the program collaborates with various community agencies to address the specific needs of California’s Child Development and Early Childhood Education workforce.

“I look around and am filled with so much excitement, emotion, and gratitude,” said April Heft, a Professor of Child Development at the Los Banos Campus. “I am grateful for everyone involved who made this vision and dream become a reality. I am also grateful that the Westside community will have access to high-quality early education through Merced College, and that students will be able to complete their core courses and obtain their degrees on the Los Banos Campus.”

The Child Development Center will serve the children of Merced College students, employees, and community members who are income-eligible with a qualifying need. Families can enroll their children, ages 0-5 years, by completing and submitting a waitlist application online, in person at the main campus, or by phone at 209-384-6245.

The center is currently hiring full-time CDC Master Teachers and full- and part-time CDC Associate Teachers. These positions require units and experience in Child Development/Early Childhood Education. Job postings can be found at

“We are thrilled to be able to provide much-needed childcare services to the residents of Los Banos and the surrounding area,” said Michelle Joseph, Director of the Child Development Centers in both Merced and Los Banos. “It’s also incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to hire local educators to work at the new center, fostering community growth and engagement.”

For more information on the Child Development Center and enrollment details, visit our website or call 209-384-6245.