The Children’s Centre originated out of the desire of women to create a better learning environment for their children. In the late 1970s a group of young mothers at the University of Nigeria saw the need to help children develop their full potential by providing a broad range of educational and recreational resources. The project was adopted by the University Women’s Association and developed on a voluntary basis by a committee of women in relevant professions.
The initial focus was on the promotion of voluntary reading. As a result, the library opened as the first component of the project on October 17, 1978, during the National Library Week. The library was kept open in the early years through the voluntary service of members of the Children’s Centre Library Committee. Initial funds came from the University Women’s Association and Nigerian Association of University Women, Nsukka Branch, with accommodation provided by the Department of Health and Physical Education. For the next eight years the library served the children of the community from its small temporary premises.
Activity programmes began with a Children’s Festival in the International Year of the Child, 1979. This featured an exhibition of children’s art, poetry and self-made toys; talent night of drama, music and dance; and children’s book fair. The Centre also celebrated the International Year of the Child by initiating playground development in 1979. Vacation activities, a prominent feature of the Children’s Centre programme over the years, began in 1981 with a series of excursions.