The Maritime Child Development Center was one of approximately 35 nursery school units of varying sizes established in the Richmond area during World War II in order to provide child care for women working in the Kaiser shipyards. This center was funded and constructed by the U.S. Maritime Commission as part of a larger development that also included housing, an elementary school and a fire station. The temporary housing was demolished after the war but a larger permanent housing complex remains as do the other buildings. The Maritime Child Development Center, a wood frame, modernist style building operated by the Richmond School District, incorporated progressive educational programming, and was staffed with nutritionists, psychiatrists and certified teachers. It had a capacity of 180 children per day. At its peak, with 24,500 women on the Kaiser payroll, Richmond's citywide child care program maintained a total daily attendance of 1,400 children.
In 2012, the Rosie the Riveter Trust, partnering with the National Park Service and many partners throughout the city and school district, completed a $9 million historic renovation of the building and won a LEED Gold for Schools award. The Trust now operates the building on behalf of RORI. It houses a K-3 charter school, Richmond College Prep, and the Richmond Community Foundation, along with a National Park Service exhibit room which can be visited on scheduled tours.
Maritime Child Develop