Early Childhood Education

Step into your child’s future

Our Early Education centers provide a child-centered emergent curriculum with a focus on learning through play and exploration. Parental involvement is crucial to the child’s success. We believe that parents are the child’s first and most influential teacher. In conjunction with our Family Literacy Program, we focus on literacy & math skills, kindergarten readiness and social/ emotional learning. It is our goal that every child will enter kindergarten prepared for academic and social success. We provide a safe, nurturing environment that promotes the social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of each child so that they can reach their full potential. Our 3 programs serve children from birth to age 5  and their families. All three are currently located at 120 Weeks Street while we await construction of the new Early Education Center.


Early Education Philosophy

Through warm, positive relationships with the child’s Caregiver/Teacher, a child develops a sense of trust in the world around them and a feeling of confidence.  Such interactions are critical to the development of a child’s self esteem and self-worth. The trusted adult becomes the secure base from which the child begins to explore the environment.

Infants and toddlers learn by experiencing the environment through their senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling), by physically moving around and through social interaction. Non-mobile infants absorb and organize a great deal of information about the world around them.

We provide an environment that supports families and embraces diversity. This is accomplished by the use of an anti-bias curriculum, hiring staff that reflects the race and culture of our families and involving parents in the development, implementation and evaluation of programs.

We provide quality childcare services for children ages 2 weeks to entering kindergarten.  Our services are offered to the community as well as eligible low-income families who are either working or enrolled in training programs or school such as the Teenage Parent Program (TAPP) at Santa Cruz High School (SCHS) and/or Cabrillo College.  We also provide childcare services for children through Child Protective Services (CPS). Limited spaces are also provided at our centers for full fee paying families.

TAPP Infant Center (Teen Age Parent Program)

TAPP Infant Center (Teen Age Parent Program) serves infants of teen parents who are students in the Santa Cruz City School District.

TAM Infant/Toddler Center serves ages 2 months to 2 1/2 years. This site serves both teen parents and community parents.

Here is a little bit of history about the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center’s Childcare Services. The TAM Infant Center, formerly the La Fonda Infant Center, was established in 1987 by the Santa Cruz City School District on the premises of SCHS, to provide services to the TAM program and the community at large.  In 1990 the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center (formerly the YWCA of Santa Cruz) assumed responsibility for the administration of the TAM Infant Center, so we are now called the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center TAM Infant Center.  The TAM Infant Center provides subsidized childcare through a grant from the California Department of Education, Child Development Division.

Downtown Children’s Center

Downtown Children’s Center serves children ages 2 1/2 to those entering kindergarten.

Our daily activities include both free play and structured activities.

Preschoolers learn best through play that is purposely constructed to increase a child’s knowledge of literacy, math and science.  The curriculum encompasses activities that support the child’s growth in the following domains: social, emotional, physical and intellectual.  The most appropriate teaching technique for this age is to give ample opportunities for the children to use self-initiated repetition to practice newly acquired skills and to experience feelings of autonomy and success. Patience is essential.

Since children learn through concrete experiences, opportunities are given to explore their  experiences through age and developmentally-appropriate curriculum and activities. Play is an essential part of the learning experience and through play, the children learn social skills and problem solving. The staff of the centers is here to support parents  in your role as your child’s first and primary teacher. We encourage and look forward to your involvement in the caring for and education of your child. This is your center.

The Downtown Children’s Center was established in 1972.   The center is located at located at the TAM Infant Center, 120 Weeks St. Santa Cruz, CA. 95060.  The center was formerly known as the YWCA Pre School– Santa Cruz. Both of our centers are within walking distant from the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, located at 303 Walnut Avenue. Downtown Children’s Center also provides subsidized childcare through a grant from the California Department of Education, Child Development Division.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

TAM Infant Center 429-3050

Downtown Children’s Center 429-3050

Walnut Avenue Women’s Center   426-3062

HOURS OF OPERATION

TAM Infant Center and Downtown Children’s Center

7:30 to 5:30 Monday thru Friday

AGES OF CHILDREN ACCEPTED FOR CARE

TAM Infant Center serves children ages two weeks to two years.

Downtown Children Center serves children age two years to entering first grade.

PROGRAM GOALS

*       To provide childcare for low and non-income families who are attending school, training or work.

*       To provide child care for teenage parents who are attending the TAM program at SCHS

*       To offer parents a safe loving environment in which to leave their children

*       To foster quality time with caregivers, encouraging trust and security

*       To actively involve the child in caregiving activities such as feeding, diapering and dressing

*       To practice good health and safety procedures and first-aid skills

*       To provide a variety of age-appropriate curriculum activities

*       To provide a safe, well designed environment which allows the child to explore freely and encourages independence and self-motivation

Our Daily Activities

A focus on Kindergarten Readiness

Literacy Activities

Literacy and Learning Circle time

Finger plays

Book Reading

Math Activities

Exploratory play in a supervised setting

Cooking

Art

Music

Outside activities

Gardening/Science Activities

Emergent Curriculum

Free and Structured Play