National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers (NCCCC) - Early Childhood Education - Pedagogy

Early Childhood Education

National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers (NCCCC)


The National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers (NCCCC) is an organization that advocates for and works collaboratively with university-based child-care centers and laboratory schools. The history of the NCCCC is closely linked to the history of university laboratory schools as well as the changing nature of women’s roles in the workforce. In the first half of the twentieth century, early childhood programs at institutions of higher learning primarily took the form of laboratory schools. Typically, they were half-day preschool programs associated with teacher education or related academic programs. During the 1960s, two significant changes in the climate of higher education in our country affected campus children’s programs. The community college system expanded, and there was a large increase in the number of adult students. Many of these were women and single parents who needed care for their children when they attended classes, and the activist climate of the era encouraged these students to demand child care on campus.

In the late 1960s, Rae Burrell was a student-parent at the University of California at Riverside who chaired a parent cooperative there. She saw the need for an organization to support the campus child-care movement, and applied for and received a grant from the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation in 1970. As a result, a not-for-profit organization called the Robert F. Kennedy Council for Campus Child Care was initiated. The primary goal of this organization was to promote quality child care on college and university campuses. Within a short period, a group of child-care professionals began to meet informally at conferences. As more people became involved, the focus shifted to include more professional issues, and Ms. Burrell moved to Washington, DC and coordinated several conferences there. Subsequently, annual conferences were held on college campuses and issues related to program administration and the curriculum also began to be included in conference agendas.

By the end of the 1970s grant money from the Kennedy Foundation was no longer available and the name of the organization was changed to the National Council for Campus Child Care. The advisory group became increasingly eager to assume more control, and when Ms. Burrell resisted, they broke away and, under the leadership of Harriet Alger at Cleveland State, a new organization began to take shape called the National Coalition for Campus Child Care (NCCCC). By 1981, NCCCC was asserting itself professionally, at National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and with a growing membership and annual conference. In 1983, NCCCC was incorporated as a dues paying organization and a permanent office was established at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. By the late 1980’s, as the focus shifted again from advocacy to education, NCCCC was recognized as a leader in the campus child-care movement and received a contract to study CCNY’s sixteen campus child-care centers and another to assist the Milwaukee Area Technical Colleges. NCCCC also began to publish fact sheets, conference proceedings and special topics, and a leadership series to support the management needs of its membership and campus care directors.

In the 1990s, there continued to be a national focus on women’s issues, an increase in nontraditional students on campuses, and continued concern about the quality, affordability, and availability of child care. Child care on campus took many diverse forms and children now ranged from infants through school age. Centers were administered by academic departments, human resources, student services, or other entities. In order to address the complexity of issues emerging, the Board engaged in a strategic management process to identify a plan of action. In 1996, the name was again changed to the National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers (still NCCCC) to better reflect the breadth of models. A home page was developed, a discussion listserv (CAMPUSCARE-L) begun, and a quarterly newsletter initiated. In 1997, 501(c) 3 status was attained. Todd Boressoff, Advocacy Committee Chair, coordinated legislative visits during the 1997 annual conference in Washington, DC; and as a result of his leadership, S. 1151, the campus based child-care bill, was introduced to the Senate, cosponsored by Christopher Dodd, Olympia Snowe and Edward Kennedy. This has led to significant federal funding for programs serving children of college students.

Further Readings: Alger, Harriet (1995). The American family: Taking a new look at myths and realities. Cedar Falls, IA: National Coalition for Campus Child Care. Available online at; Kalinowski, Michael (2000). Child care. In National Association of College and University Business Officers. College & University Business Administration. Washington, DC: pp. 2055; National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers, http://www.campuschildren. org/pubs.html#PubText; Thomas, Jane (2000). Child care and laboratory schools on campus: The national picture. Cedar Falls, IA: National Coalition for Campus Child Care. Available online at

Michael Kalinowski and Jane Thomas