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Our History

The Center for Early Education began as a play group for children in a single-family home in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles in 1939. The original founders of this group, most of whom were professional psychoanalysts, were passionate about respecting the inner world of the child. They sought to develop an early childhood education based on each child's natural developmental pace as well as on the recognized developmental stages through which each individual passes to maturity. At a time when preschool education was in its infancy, CEE's Founders pioneered a school dedicated to the needs of young children.

Below you can explore some of The Center's milestones throughout the years:

Explore The Center through the years

1939: The School for Nursery Years is Founded

The School for Nursery Years is founded by a group of parents, most of whom were professional psychoanalysts, as a play group in the Hancock Park on Rossmore Blvd. It was one of the first schools to cater to young children in Los Angeles.

1946: The Move to Alfred Street Location

The School for Nursery Years moves to its current Alfred Street location. A new building was constructed on a piece of property that was purchased for $10 from Eleanor Francis

1947: Teacher Training Program Opens

The School for Nursery Years opens a teacher training program for nursery school teachers and administrators. The program would eventually be called The College for Developmental Studies

1965: Head Start Pilot Program

The first Head Start program in the United States is held on campus during the summer.

1967: New Building Opens

A new brick building opens on campus with The School for Nursery Years on the first floor and The College for Developmental Studies on the second floor.

1968: The Center for Early Education

The new building is dedicated, with The School for Nursery Years officially renamed The Center for Early Education.

1971: The Elementary School is Added

The Elementary School is added to The Center.

1988: New Elementary School Building Opens

The Center's new Elementary School building opens.

1989: Celebrating 50 Years


The Center celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Annual Fund Drive and Gala begin.

1991: The College Closes


The College for Developmental Studies closes after 44 years in operation.

2003: New Upper Elementary Building Opens


The new Upper Elementary building (Building C) opens. The campus expands to its present 1.3 acres.

2016: Campus Enhancement Plan


The Center launches its Campus Enhancement Plan which will be completed by early 2020.

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