Our Mission

Founded in 1975 by the San Diego Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, the Hanna Fenichel Center for Child Development is named after famed Dr. Hanna Fenichel, a psychoanalyst and educator known for her work in the field of early child development and for her association with The School for Nursery Years in Los Angeles. Our mission is to create a nurturing community that supports each child’s growing sense of self and innate passion for learning through purposeful experiences that foster strong social skills, inquiry and discovery.


Our Philosophy

The Hanna Fenichel Center for Child Development embraces social-constructivist beliefs that play-based learning supports children in constructing their own knowledge. We view the child as the protagonist of their own learning, and through social interactions and project-based investigations, teachers support children’s curiosities, questions, and theories.

Our philosophy is inspired by the Reggio-Emilia approach to learning. We recognize the equal importance of social, emotional, cognitive, creative and physical growth to the well being of the young child.


Visit us in Solana Beach, CA

The school has been endorsed by, and its philosophy is based on, a distinguished group of international professionals in early childhood development including: Erik Erikson, Rudolph Ekstein, Ph.D., Anna Freud, Merton Gil, M.D., and Ralph R. Greenson, M.D. Through this, and our many other affiliations, we offer educational programs that are open to the general public as well as the families served by the center.  We look forward to your visit and to learn how we can meet the needs of your child.