McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center at College of the Desert

Location: 43500 Monterey Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260
Phone: 706-862-1308
Program Director: Dianne L. Russom

Ages served: 12 months through 5 years
Enrollment capacity: 122
Hours of operation: M-TH: 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; F: 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Type: State funded, Licensed, NAEYC-accredited, Suburban


Philosophy Statement

We believe that . . .

  • Children are active learners, creating knowledge and learning through their daily experiences with materials and people. Every child is an individual, with unique strengths, interests, personality, and approach to learning.
  • Learning is most meaningful when it happens in the context of the child’s everyday experiences at home and in the classroom. For children with special educational needs, the most useful experiences occur when specialized services are integrated into classroom activities and routines.
  • Independence is fostered and language, cognitive, motor, self-help and social skills are developed in settings designed for children and supported by responsive adults. The environment is arranged to include a variety of accessible materials organized to encourage learning through play.
  • Development is promoted by age-appropriate practices that do not emphasize competition between children, are carried out in an atmosphere of acceptance and response, and are interesting and challenging to children.
  • The advocacy efforts of staff and families are important for improving the lives of all children.
  • Appropriate behavior is fostered by helping children learn to control their behavior and work out their conflicts with others rather than relying solely on adults to manage their behavior and intervene in disputes. Positive discipline places emphasis on preventing problems by attending to the room arrangement, having age-appropriate expectations, providing interactive activities for play and learning, and active adult monitoring and supervision.
  • Learning about and respecting differences among people are promoted when children have many opportunities to play and interact with classmates of different racial and cultural backgrounds and varying abilities.
  • An atmosphere of mutual respect among staff and families is important for all who interact with children. When staff recognize and value the beliefs, customs, and traditions of each family, the child and family are best served.
  • Staff work as partners with parents, but parents are the ultimate decision-makers in planning and setting goals for their children.
  • Information from teachers and specialists, based on current research and recommended practice, provides support to families in their decision-making process.

Learning is most meaningful when it happens in the context of the child’s everyday experiences at home and in the classroom.

Special Center | Site Features

  • Community Garden
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Zen Garden

Additional Info

The McCarthy Center is the model lab/demonstration program for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) department at College of the Desert. Students from the ECE department, as well as other disciplines are able to observe, implement projects, and student teach in connection with their COD courses.

Our program serves children from 12 months to 5 years, with priority for the children of COD students carrying at least six credits. Space permitting, we enroll the children of faculty, staff, and the community.

The Center also employs many students in our classrooms and kitchen. Priority for teaching support staff positions is given to ECE majors. Additionally, every year we have several students who choose to volunteer at the McCarthy Center.

The McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and we proudly display the Torch, a symbol of the highest quality in ECE.

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