Children’s Paradise Childcare Expanding Its Reach

New ‘Imagination Sparking’ Centers Opening

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – Children’s Paradise Preschool and Infant Centers, a childcare company founded by Julie Lowen in 1993, is going through a growth spurt, opening new centers in Carlsbad, Escondido and Poway and more in the works.

“We’re growing so quickly because we provide the services that children and families need,” Lowen said. “Your child is safe and healthy and happy. Instead of pitching a fit about coming to school, they pitch a fit about going home.”
As of January, Children’s Paradise has 11 open centers, with the most recent in a former childcare center that Lowen bought and renovated.
“I intend to grow like Starbucks,” Lowen said. “The kids in this country are really suffering, and if we don’t do it, who will?”
Based in Vista, Children’s Paradise has centers in Vista on Vale Terrace Drive and on Melrose Drive, in Oceanside on Mission Avenue, in Escondido on El Norte Parkway and N. Ash Street, and in Poway on Pomerado Road.
Centers are under construction in Carlsbad on Marron Road and in Ramona on B Street.
The company also has a distribution and storage warehouse in San Marcos on Rancheros Drive.
“Most of the time, I’ll come in and buy the property myself and build it from the ground up,” Lowen said.

Sparking Imagination

Among the ground-up projects is the $10.5 million Carlsbad center of nearly 13,000 square feet on a 2.11-acre site that will have an enrollment of 198 children.
Everything in the center is designed around a theme of Hobbits, the fictional creatures created by novelist J.R.R. Tolkien that have been featured in a series of movies.
“I always walk the site and it spoke to me and it told me that little Hobbits worked here,” Lowen said.
There’s a Hobbit playhouse atop a small hill, a Hobbit Garden and Hobbit-themed play equipment.
“I love sparking the imagination of kids,” Lowen said. “This site is going to be literally the best childcare center I’ve ever imagined in my life.”
Lowen tries to create new themes in each Children’s Paradise center.
“I’m a kid at heart and I love watching kids at play,” Lowen said.
Often, the existing buildings that Lowen acquires for her centers require significant work.
For the Escondido center on Ash Street, Lowen said that she’s spending about $1 million on renovations that will create a tropical-themed world in what had been a church-run daycare center.
With a planned enrollment of 167 children, the two-story Ash Street building will have a new pathway connecting two yards, a full library with books chosen by the children on a trip to a bookstore, and murals on the inside depicting a range of animals and flowering plants.
“I wanted the kids to really be able to engage with wildlife,” Rowen said. “I wanted them to feel when they come in the center to feel like they are in this tropical paradise.”
As part of the project, she’s building a public pocket park outside the childcare center. The 15,000-square-foot Poway center, with a planned enrollment of 191 in the childcare center and 64 in a care center for infants, was one that required a lot of work in what Lowen said is a $1.8 million project from TMC Financing.

After treating the building for a spider infestation, Lowen said that the center was redone in a Japanese Zen Garden theme with bonsai trees and other Japanese elements.
The $5 million Ramona project, with a planned enrollment of 160 children will be in a vacant commercial building and is about to start construction.
“I don’t have a specific theme there. I have to get in there, but I know it will be a nod to the city of Ramona,” Lowen said.
‘Family Support Systems’Lowen said 67% of the children attending her centers qualified for subsidized childcare.
Her company provides a wide range of social services to families in need, and Lowen is forming a network of childcare providers to share information, training, and fill-in for providers who work out of their homes when they need a break.“We provide family support systems. What we’ve done is create centers where a family can hook themselves up to every single thing they need to thrive,” Lowen said. “I plan to partner with churches, whatever it takes, I’m determined to get this done.”

Children’s Paradise Preschool & Infant Centers
CEO: Julie Lowen
BUSINESS: childcare provider
NOTABLE: With 11 childcare centers open and more to come, Children’s Paradise serves about 2,500 families.