Pre-Schoolers Thrive at Moorpark College Child Development Center

by Mira Reverente


The play-based pre-school serves about 90 children.

Sounds of laughter and tiny voices fill the halls, and brightly-colored works of art adorn the walls. Welcome to the Child Development Center at Moorpark College.

The CDC, as it is known for short, is a nationally accredited and state-licensed learning facility, housed in the sprawling community college campus.


Classes range from two days to five days a week, with full-day or half-day options.

Play-Based Pre-School
The program moved to its brand-new, 12,000-square-foot facility in 2007, after outgrowing its space at the Applied Arts building.

The CDC has five classrooms–a multi-purpose room, a faculty workroom, a large playground, a kitchen and a children’s library–to serve roughly 90 children. Classes range from two days to five days a week, with full-day or half-day options. Toddlers can start attending from the age of two, even without being potty-trained.

Director Johanna Pimentel is at the helm of the CDC, overseeing its day-to-day operations. “It’s a very important time of development,” said Pimentel of this play-based pre-school. “It’s a wonderful age where you can have a lot of influence on children.”

Pimentel brings over 30 years of child development experience with her, starting her career in her native Germany up to her latest post as director of the CDC at Oxnard College.


Child development majors work as student teachers.

Dual Purpose Lab School
The CDC is dual purpose. It’s an on-site laboratory for child development majors. It is also a valuable service for Moorpark College students who need preschool and childcare for their children.

Priority is given to students, staff and faculty, but anyone in the community can sign up their child and avail of its year-round program.

The child development majors spend time observing children and teachers in the classrooms. Some also work as student teachers. Some stay for a year; others for two years, according to Pimentel, earning their required units and hours to complete their programs.

The extra set of eyes and hands help foster learning, encourage curiosity through open-ended questions, all while preparing its tiny clientele for kindergarten and life. “We view the children as unique individuals,” said Pimentel. “We provide structure as well as choices.”


CDC is known for exploratory learning.

Magical Environment
At Discovery Day last April, the teaching team planned at least 25 interactive, hands-on activities, including a mock archeological dig, face painting and scrutiny of a local toymaker’s wooden creations. The open house-style event attracted both new and old families, giving everyone a peek into exploratory learning for which CDC is known.

Said Pimentel, “It’s a magical environment where young minds can thrive. We are here to encourage and celebrate that.”

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