For more than 60 years, Arsenal Family and Children's Center has offered programs and services that provide the building blocks necessary to create a strong foundation for the healthy development of children and the formation of nurturing and healthy parent-child relationships. We are proud to be accredited by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and also are a Pennsylvania Keystone Star 4 Facility.


Arsenal Family and Children’s Center was founded in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh in 1953 by pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock. Then on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, Dr. Spock designed the Center as a training site for pediatric students to study normal child development. Dr. Spock believed this would secure longitudinal study of child growth and development across generations. In 1980, Arsenal became a private, non-profit organization. In 2003, the Lawrenceville site relocated to the Friendship area of Pittsburgh, as a building was purchased through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Now operating as a developmental preschool and social service agency, the Center offers an array of programs and services for young children and their families. Arsenal also continues to be a training site for colleges and universities in the Pittsburgh community. Arsenal remains committed to the needs of children as the point of departure for all of its programming. We are fortunate to have a stable, professional staff, many of whom have been at Arsenal for ten years or longer and are uniquely capable of serving the diversity of the children in our programs.

The original desk used by Dr. Benjamin Spock


The mission of Arsenal Family & Children’s Center (AFCC) is to promote and to be an advocate for the healthy development of young children and support their parents in building a nurturing relationship with each child.


To facilitate active learning through play, AFCC specializes in play experiences that invite children to explore, create, and manipulate ideas and objects that are important to them. Through active participation with toys, materials, and the natural environment, children learn in personally meaningful ways, accomplishing two broad goals: 1. Develop the entire child intellectually, emotionally, psychosocially, and physically by significantly influencing a child’s ability to successfully manage life events and facilitating the development of such skills as self-awareness, impulse control, zeal, self-motivation and empathy. 2. Transmit essential human values including, respect, compassion, and honesty through the use of unstructured but guided play time, and positive adult guidance and modeling. The passionate involvement of an adult who is devoted to that child’s well-being and development is paramount to each child’s intellectual, emotional, psychosocial, and physical development. AFCC offers parents and families opportunities to build and nurture this relationship through the programs offered.
*Arsenal Family & Children's Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, disability, ancestry, national origin (including limited English proficiency), age, sex, or sexual orientation. Arsenal Family & Children's Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.