It’s that time of year again; students are heading back to the classrooms, but what do you do with them after school? What if your precious little one is heading to a childcare classroom for the first time? The first five years are a pivotal time in a child’s development.

Experts believe that 90 to 95 percent of brain growth happens during this stage. So, how do you pick a quality program that understands the importance of their crucial role in these formative years? How can you be sure that a childcare or after- school program offers quality care and education?

Choosing a quality program can seem like a daunting task, but it can really be broken down into five easy steps:

  1. START EARLY – We all make better decisions when we don’t feel rushed.
  2. DO SOME RESEARCH – A great starting place is your local Child Care Resource and Referral. For Tulare County, the number is (559) 651- 3022. Additionally, you can employ various web-based searches such as,, or Noodle Preschool Search. These sites provide parent reviews.
  3. VISIT CENTERS – Once you have come up with a list of pre- schools that have openings in your area, visit each site with a checklist. There are several available online. My favorite is available at Narrow your search to two to three centers and then schedule visits with your child.
  4. SELECT THE BEST FIT – Consider costs, teacher-child ratio, curriculum, and the feel you get from the center and staff. Remember that children new to daycare may be overwhelmed during the first visit. So consider the staff that made the effort to set your child at ease. Chances are you will be more satisfied with a program that makes this extra effort.
  5. STAY INVOLVED – Once you select your childcare program, the work is not done. Continue to be involved. Join the parent club or donate time or materials.



Family F.O.C.U.S. Infant Toddler Center
1504 S. Kessing St.
Porterville, CA 93257
Phone: (559) 784-2214


Family F.O.C.U.S. Parkview Preschool
5911 S. Mooney Blvd.
Visalia, CA 93277
Phone: (559) 627-0700


(Currently offering programs at Mt. View & Crestwood – More Coming Soon!)
Family F.O.C.U.S. Central Visalia Office 718 W. Center Ave. Suite A Visalia, CA 93291
Phone: (559) 802-5585