UC Berkeley’s youngest students are under 6 years of age! We aspire to become a global leader in early childhood education and research, and we support Berkeley in its quest to become the nation’s most family-responsive campus.



We believe that high-quality education and care of the very young is crucial for development of the whole child and the future adult. We further believe that supporting an Early Childhood Education program that is consistent with Berkeley’s commitment to access and excellence promotes a more respectful and inclusive campus community and global society.


  • We teach UC Berkeley’s youngest students in a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment that sparks curiosity and inspires a life-long love for inquiry, research, reflection, and action. We also teach families, students, and educators to see and unlock the unique potential of each child.
  • We research early childhood development, offering multi-disciplinary opportunities for scholars and practitioners to better understand the social, psychological, and intellectual capabilities of the young child. We also research environmental conditions and educational processes that best encourage healthy development.
  • We serve UC Berkeley’s students, faculty, and staff so they can pursue excellence in their chosen fields, confident that their children are safe and receiving high-quality early education. We also serve as a model for nurturing children, their families, and a healthier society.


"Our child is clearly loved, nurtured, and heard by his teachers, in ways that go above and beyond what we expected. We also see the children are challenged to grow and experience different things, while also having ample opportunities to develop their own personal style and interests."

- ECEP Parent


The history of the Early Childhood Education Program dates back over 75 years, and we have a long tradition of providing high-quality care to UC Berkeley’s youngest students. In our classrooms on the UC Berkeley campus, the best developmental research is put into practice.

In 1927, Berkeley founded the Institute of Child Welfare, to provide a quality nursery school for children, while providing scholars access to a young population for observation and research. As one of the first such sites in the country, some of the most famous and innovative longitudinal studies in childhood development originated here.

In 1960, the nursery school was renamed the Harold E. Jones Child Study Center. The oldest of our centers, Harold E. Jones remains the longest continuously running child study center in the United States.

Seeking high-quality early childhood education and care for their children, parent demand has driven the expansion of the ECEP. Since our inception in 1928, we expanded to five locations and currently serve more than 250 students – infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

In recognition that we serve UC Berkeley’s youngest students, the ECEP is currently overseen by the UC Berkeley Division of Student Affairs. Throughout our growth, our promise has remained the same: to develop innovative and effective teaching and learning approaches, and to apply them for the benefit of our students and families.

Learn more about our ground-breaking research.

Executive Director

Darrell Whitacre

Darrell has nearly 30 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education and holds a B.A. in Child Development from California State University, Chico. For the past 12 years, he has held the role of Child Development Center Director in the California Community Colleges System for Butte Community College and, most recently, for Napa Valley Community College. He has a Head Start and Early Head Start background and served as Disabilities and Site Manager in Butte County. He served as the Chair for the Local Child Care Planning Council in both Butte and Napa Counties. Darrell is a member of the Californians for Quality Early Learning (CQEL). He is a strong proponent and participant in Quality Counts and the Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Darrell is originally from Castro Valley, here in Alameda County, and currently lives in Napa. He has four children and two grandchildren. His own experience as a student parent motivated and supported his chosen Early Childhood Education vocation. Two of his children participated in an ECE lab while he attended college as a student parent.

Darrell values his role as a leader, mentor, and model to staff, students, and colleagues. He holds professionalism, high quality care, and diversity in high regard and takes an open and supportive approach to ensuring all of these qualities are a priority in his work.

Darrell is passionate about team building and coaching within high quality early education programs. His focus is serving children and families as the heart of a healthy early childhood education program and supporting his team to deliver the best possible service. He is highly relational and has a proven track record of developing strong collaborative teams.

In his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, working in his garden, and spending time with his family.

ECEP Advisory Committee



The Childcare Advisory Committee (CAC) has two major areas of responsibility: to provide strategic and tactical advice regarding the development of the Early Childhood Education Program, and to provide assistance in developing and strengthening the ECEP's relationship with the University community. The CAC advises, promotes, and actively supports Berkeley in achieving its mission of developing a long-term, sustainable strategy for ECEP by:

  • Defining the academic philosophy of the program.
  • Integrating academic research as a feature of the program.
  • Developing a long-term, sustainable financial model for ECEP.
  • Defining child care program structure, capacity and number and type of children served.
  • Optimizing program facilities and delivery models.
  • Creating fundraising strategies.

Parents are invited to join the advisory committee. Please contact your center director if you are interested. 


Committee Members

  • Professor Stephen Hinshaw, Co-chair, Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley and Vice Chair for Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the UC San Francisco
  • Professor Angelica Stacy, Co-chair, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Equity, UC Berkeley
  • Mary-Ann Spencer Cogan, Chief of Staff, Residential & Student Service Programs, UC Berkeley
  • David Surratt, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor, Residential & Student Service Programs, UC Berkeley
  • Darrell Whitacre, Executive Director, Early Childhood Education Program (ECEP)
  • Claire Bainer, Co-Director, Blue Skies for Children
  • Mark Friedman, Bay Area Funder
  • Ken Jaffe, President, International Child Resource Institute
  • Pamm Shaw, Executive Director, YMCA
  • Sean Smith, ECEP Parent
  • Zachary Weiner, ECEP Parent & UC Berkeley Student
  • Rebecca Tracy, Retired ECEP Teacher
  • Margaret Bridges, Senior Research Scientist, Institute of Human Development, UC Berkeley (also former ECEP parent)
  • Prudence Carter, Dean of Graduate School Education
  • Teresa McGuire, Director of Development and External Relations, UC Berkeley
  • Jane Esposito, Site Coordinator, ECEP
  • Rebecca Tracy, Teacher Emeritus, ECEP
  • Bryan Jones, Executive Assistant, Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor, Residential & Student Service Programs, UC Berkeley

Contact the Advisory Committee

Questions or comments for the Advisory Committee may be sent to


Committee Notes and Updates

The CAC meeting notes and reports are available on the Resources page.

News & Events


New Study Identifies Critical Need for More Infant, Toddler Child CareToddler-Alone-Legos-Getty-600x400-Article.jpg

They analyzed the availability of licensed child care by county in Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont. They also studied the situation in the District of Columbia by ward.
They noted that in these areas there are more than five infants and toddlers for every licensed child-care slot, which is more than three times the ratio for children from 3 to 5.


5 Simple Ways to Encourage Brain Development In Your Little One

The principles are:

  1. Maximize love, manage stress.
  2. Talk, sing and point. 
  3. Count, group and compare. 
  4. Explore through movement and play.
  5. Read and discuss stories.


Early Learning in the United States: 2018

These fact sheets are part of an annual series examining early learning programs across the United States. For the 2016 and 2017 versions, see here and here.

High-quality early learning programs are proven to provide short- and long-term benefits for children, giving them the basis for future success. Beyond benefits to child development and learning, child care is an economic necessity for the families of the nearly two-thirds of America’s children who have all available parents in the workforce. However, the high cost of child care puts it out of reach for too many families.


Young kids are being shuffled from one activity to another -- in school and out. Why that’s bad for them.

The trend toward these transitions and away from play-based early-childhood education is a result of the push for a bigger emphasis on academics in earlier grades, which is directly related to the rise in the use of standardized test scores as the most important metric of accountability for schools and teachers. Apart from the questionable use of the tests, other problems have developed for kids, who, at young ages, are being forced to sit at desks without sufficient breaks even though many do not have the skills to maintain focus for long. That violates what research has shown for many years: that young kids learn best through directed play that allows them to explore and solve problems away from a desk.


The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children

Children need to develop a variety of skill sets to optimize their development and manage toxic stress. Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. Furthermore, play supports the formation of the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with all caregivers that children need to thrive.

Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.


Childcare, preschool remain hard to find, and stark gaps exist in California

a teacher working with two 4-year-olds

Millions of California parents face slim odds in finding child care or preschool slots, especially in fast-growing edges of metro areas and the Central Valley, says a new report from UC Berkeley.

Just 52 percent of the state’s 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in a pre-k program, and the shortage besets middle-class and poor families alike, researchers found after compiling data from a variety of state and local agencies.

A half-century of research has detailed the benefits of preschool for children’s early learning and later school achievement, including recent studies in four California counties.


A banner year in fundraising at UC Berkeley

ECEP received over $63,000 in donations during the 2017-2018 academic school. Thank you to all of our parents who donated to our program! We would also like to thank the generous donation received from the Bernard E. and Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation. Their continued support to children in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties make a big difference in our programs!


Haste Street Teacher Wins 2016 Habitot Bay Area Preschool Teacher Award

     Renee Davis

Congratulations to Renee Davis from the Haste Street Child Development Center for winning a 2016 Habitot Children’s Museum Bay Area Preschool Teacher Award! In its eighth year, the “Preschool Teachers Make a Difference” awards celebrate outstanding accomplishments of preschool teachers as leaders in the development of young children. The judges this year included Joan Suflita, Quality Improvement Coach at BANANAS Inc., Deborah Matthews, Educator & Berkeley Civic Leader, Asiya Jabbar, MA. Ed, Reaching Beyond Care Early and 2015 Bay Area Preschool Teacher Award winner. It’s an honor to have teachers like Renee on our staff, and a pleasure to see them recognized by the community for their excellent work.




Who is eligible for early childhood education services at ECEP?

Children of members of the UC Berkeley and the general community are eligible for ECEP.

If I am a community member, will my child be able to enroll at ECEP?

Yes. Community members are eligible for ECEP. UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff do receive priority. All parents who are interested in our program are encouraged to apply.

What is the age eligibility for ECEP?

Children must be a minimum of 3 months old, and not yet eligible for kindergarten in the August of the year they plan to enroll. 

Is there an application deadline?

No. There is not an application deadline. Applications are accepted year-round. However, early applications are advisable. The acceptance process begins in January for summer and fall spaces.

Will my child be able to join ECEP after the beginning of the fall semester?

Yes. If there is space available, your child will be able to join ECEP after the beginning of the fall semester. However, fewer spaces are available later in the year because most students do begin in the summer or fall. Available spaces are first filled from the Wait List and Eligibility List, then from new applications.

I see there are different applications. Which application should I use?

Faculty, staff, and community parents may use either a paper or online application.

UC Berkeley students should fill out a paper application.

There are two versions of the paper application:

  • If you are UC Berkeley student and are applying for a subsidy, you should fill out the Subsidized Application.
  • If you are a UC Berkeley student parent, staff, faculty, or community member applying for full-fee placement, you should fill out the Full-Fee Application.

I am a UC Berkeley student parent. Which application should I use?

Students must submit a paper copy of the application.

Student parents applying for a subsidy should fill out the Subsidized Application.

Student parents applying for Full-Fee placement should fill out the Full-Fee Application.

Who is eligible for a subsidy?

UC Berkeley student parents are eligible for a subsidy. Community members are not eligible for a subsidy. Parents must meet California Department of Education need eligibility requirements. See the Subsidized Application for details.

What happens to my subsidy if I am no longer a student at UC Berkeley?

Only UC Berkeley students are eligible for subsidized care. If you are no longer a Berkeley student, you will no longer be eligible for a subsidy. However, your child can continue with ECEP as a full-fee student.

Is there a wait list for ECEP?

Yes. If your child is not accepted into a full-fee placement, your application remains active until your child is age-eligible for Kindergarten — unless you withdraw from the list, or if you do not respond to three contact attempts.

If you are offered a space and decline, you may ask to remain on the list for a space that may become available at a later date. When a space becomes available, it will be for a child of a particular age, and the applications for that age range will be reviewed. The date an application is received is very important. Our admissions coordinator will usually be able to give you a general idea regarding your child’s status on the wait list.

If you applied for subsidized services, see the FAQ about the Eligibility List.

What is the difference between the Wait List and the Eligibility List?

Applicants for full-fee placement who are not accommodated will be placed on the Wait List.

If you are eligible for subsidized services, but are not accepted into the program due to space limitations, low priority number or late application, you will be placed on an Eligibility List. Status on the Eligibility List is based on income and, unlike a Wait List, status does not automatically improve over time. All applications are reviewed according to State Eligibility Guidelines as they are submitted and the Eligibility List is updated accordingly.

You will need to inform the Early Childhood Education Programs Office if there is a change in your income, family size, activity of either parent, or if you want your application withdrawn from the list.

Is there an application fee?

The application fee is currently $50 for non-students and waived for UC Berkeley students.

How can I obtain an application?

There are four ways to obtain an application.

  1. You may download a paper application from the website. Be sure to download the correct application – the Full-Fee Application or the Subsidized Application.
  2. You may obtain a paper application via email, by contacting
  3. You may obtain a paper application by calling the main office at (510) 642-1827.
  4. If you are a faculty, staff, or community applicant, you may apply online through the online application. If you are a UC Berkeley student, please use a paper application.

Am I able to choose which center my child will attend?

You are able to request a preference for a specific center. However, your application is for the Early Childhood Education Program as a whole and there is no guarantee that there will be space at any one center. ECEP will offer you a space at a particular center based on a combination of your preference, your child’s age, and available spaces.

Will my child be required to participate in research?

No. You will be notified ahead of time when there will be a research study or survey in your child’s classroom, and you will have the opportunity to choose whether to participate. 

Read more about ECEP students and research.

What is the teacher-child ratio?

ECEP has an excellent adult-child ratio. We staff classrooms not just according to Title V licensing requirements, but to best-practice standards. Adult-child ratios at the centers range from 1:3 in infant rooms, to 1:4 in toddler rooms, and 1:8 in preschool rooms.

Read more about our teaching staff qualifications.

As a parent or family member, will I be able to participate in the classroom?

Yes. Parents are welcome to volunteer in the classroom. For parents who want to be involved but cannot volunteer during the workday, there are other opportunities. Contact your center director for specific information. 

Are there vaccine requirements?

According to a new California law, parents or guardians of students in any school or child-care facility, whether public or private, will no longer be allowed to submit a personal beliefs exemption to a currently-required vaccine. Read more about the new vaccine requirements.


The Early Childhood Education Program has employment opportunities for both qualified teachers and UC Berkeley students.


Positions for Qualified Teachers & Administrative Staff

Career and Limited/Part-time positions for Child Development Teachers and Teacher Assistants are often available. Apply for these current positions online at

We are currently hiring for the following positions:

  • Classroom Assistant (4329U) - multiple openings
  • Substitute Assistant Teacher Per Diem (4112C) - multiple openings
  • Substitute Teacher Per Diem (4111C) - multiple openings
  • Assistant Teacher (4108C)
  • Preschool Teacher (4107C)
  • Administrative Coordinator (4722C)
  • Center Director (4150U) - multiple openings


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity Employer, offering a diverse working environment, competitive salaries, and comprehensive benefits.

For questions regarding employment, please contact


Jobs for UCB Students

ECEP hires UC Students to assist teachers in our classrooms at eight childcare centers on or near campus as Childcare Student Assistants. We also hire students to work in our administrative office as Office Assistants Work study students are a priority. Starting pay is $15 per hour. For more information about these positions, please visit 

You can complete the application online or email a Student Assistant Application to

For questions regarding students jobs, please contact


Volunteer Opportunities

Students looking to complete fieldwork or community members seeking experience at an early childhood education center are encouraged to apply to volunteer at our centers. Please read our information sheet to learn more about the program. Volunteers are allowed to aid in the center for a maximum of 16 hours/week.

You can complete the application online, or email at Voluteer Application to

For questions regarding volunteering, please contact

Contact Us



Early Childhood Education Program Office
2339 Haste Street
Berkeley, CA 94720-7416


General Information

(510) 642-1827
fax: (510) 642-6668
office hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:30 pm



Marina Moreida, Admissions Coordinator
(510) 643-1482



Darrell Whitacre, Executive Director 
(510) 643-6144 
Marina Moreida, Admissions Coordinator
(510) 643-1482



Clark Kerr Child Development Center Pre-K Program
2601 Warring Street
Building 15


Clark Kerr Child Development Center Toddler Program
2900 Dwight Way
Building 5
Berkeley, CA 94720

Yelena Zakharyevich, Center Director
(510) 642-8442

Leslie Craig, Site Coordinator


Dwight Way Child Development Center
2427 Dwight Way
Berkeley, CA 94720

Sasha Leveton, Interim Center Director 
(510) 642-0104

Jane Esposito, Site Coordinator

Harold E. Jones Child Study Center
2428 Atherton St. #6070
Berkeley, CA 94704

Moises Roman, Site Coordinator
(510) 643-5449

Vanna Maria Kalofonos, Site Coordinator


Haste Street Child Development Center
2339 Haste Street
Berkeley, CA 94704

(510) 642-6673

Sasha Leveton, Site Coordinator


University Village (UVA) Child Development Center
1123 Jackson Street
Albany, CA 94706

Iris Bradford, Center Director
(510) 527-1388

Laureana Medrano, Center Lead Teacher