Indio’s Child Development Center Nurtures Learning & Growth

In 2023, COD marked significant progress in its capital projects, aligning with the institution’s commitment to preparing students for the job markets of today and tomorrow. The culmination of these efforts is evident in the successful establishment of the 18,000 sf Indio Child Development Center (CDC), which commenced operations in January 2025.

The Indio CDC stands as a testament to COD’s dedication to holistic education and community enrichment. Serving 80 children and employing a staff of 45, the center also functions as a training ground for hundreds of future teachers, fostering a symbiotic relationship that extends beyond its physical walls.

Wendy Hinrichs Sanders, Instructor at the COD Child Development Center, emphasizes the center’s dual purpose, stating, “The Indio CDC is a great opportunity for student parents to have truly affordable, high-quality childcare while on campus and studying.” Sanders further notes that the center offers invaluable training for student teachers under the guidance of Professor Maria Avalos, who directs a nationally accredited and fully bilingual Early Childhood program.

The state-of-the-art facility includes toddler and preschool classrooms, support spaces, observation areas and an early childhood education classroom. Additionally, the center boasts 7,000 sf of play yards, providing a stimulating and safe environment for children to learn and grow.

Early Child Development Advisor Maria Avalos shares her vision for the Indio CDC. She says, “We want the kids to run in and feel excited to be at the CDC and for their parents to feel comfortable leaving them so they can attend their classes.”

For COD student parents, the Indio CDC offers cost-effective childcare in a nurturing environment. Simultaneously, students majoring in early education benefit from hands-on training, contributing to a cycle of learning and community support that embodies the core values of College of the Desert.

Opening Summer 2024, the 67,000 sf Indio Campus expansion, along with the upcoming remodel and the new CDC, will have generated $50.2 million for the local economy.

Register today for a campus tour. Call 760.773.2561 or email

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