Planning Group gives green light to plans for new daycare center

Children’s Paradise Daycare Center is hoping to open its 11th preschool and daycare center in Ramona.

Julie Lowen, president and CEO of Children’s Paradise, made a presentation about the proposed center at the June 13 Ramona Community Planning Group meeting. Planning Group members gave unanimous approval to the project’s site plan, which is needed to define the layout of the building and overall construction materials being used for the project.

Lowen said the next steps are to get the final approval from the county of San Diego and receive bids from contractors. Financing has already been lined up by Banner Bank and TMC Financing, which manages the Small Business Administration portion of the financing, she said.

The goal is to open a Children’s Paradise Daycare Center at 1122 B St. — which until 2022 was used by the Thomsen Learning Center — for up to 140 students ages 6 weeks to 11 years old by July 2025. But that will be determined by community care licensing, she said.

Children’s Paradise obtained a grant from the Low Income Investment Fund through the California Department of Social Services of $1.5 million for the Ramona facility, according to Lowen.

“The purpose of that fund is to bring high-quality child care to every community in California,” she said.

The company started as a home-based daycare center in Vista in 1990, then expanded with a preschool in Vista in 1993, Lowen said. Since then the business has grown with locations in Poway, Oceanside, Chula Vista, three centers in Escondido, and three in Vista, she said. Another new center is expected to open in Carlsbad by the end of this year, she added.

The child care centers began a transformation in 2008, when staff started to receive training by the County Office of Education and some obtained bachelor’s degrees and teaching credentials, Lowen told Planning Group members.

Now Children’s Paradise offers developmentally appropriate early childhood education that uses research-based curriculum, Lowen said.

“The benefit of this approach is that each child receives an individualized experience where all of their needs are assessed and they are connected to the appropriate referrals and resources based on real-time assessments and observations,” she said. “It delivers children to kindergarten who are healthy and ready for more lifelong learning.”

The benefit for parents is that they are also connected to resources, Lowen said. She said that helps when they hit small bumps in the road such as needing diapers, food, mental health services, housing, or access to health care.

Children’s Paradise also has parent engagement and information programs that provide information on parenting techniques and tools, she said. Parents can attend pre-kindergarten prom, drive-in night at the movies, and a farmer’s market in the fall called Autumn Bounty. Full cap and gown graduation ceremonies are held for pre-kindergarteners entering kindergarten.

The centers also offer before- and after-school programs, summer camps and instruction for transitional kindergarten students, Lowen said.

The proposed location, between 11th and 12th streets, has a 7,858-square-foot building.

Lowen said the building and playground would be remodeled with a country theme to blend with the character of Ramona. The renovation work is expected to be completed by next summer.

“We’re taking the existing building and improving the look,” she said. “It will be almost like a farmhouse design. It will be a massive transformation. It will be a beautiful facility to serve children and families in Ramona for years to come.”

For more information, call 1-800-650-CARE or 1-800-650-1173.

See related article about Children’s Paradise.