Early Education 

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.

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.

Our services are offered to the community as well as eligible low-income families who are either working or enrolled in training programs, High School or College.  We also provide childcare services for children through Child Protective Services (CPS). Limited spaces are also available at our centers for full fee paying families.


  • The Infant Center serves children ages two weeks to two years.

  • The Early Education Center (Toddler & Preschool) serves children age two years to entering first grade.


  • Provide childcare for low and non-income families who are attending school, training or work.

  • Provide childcare for teenage parents who are attending the TAM program at SCHS.

  • Offer parents a safe, loving environment in which to leave their children.

  • Foster quality time with caregivers, encouraging trust and security.

  • Actively involve the child in care-giving activities such as feeding, diapering and dressing.

  • Practice good health and safety procedures and first-aid skills.

  • Provide a variety of age-appropriate curriculum activities.

  • Provide a safe, well-designed environment that allows the child to explore freely and encourages independence and self-motivation.

Daily Activities

Our daily activities include both free play and structured activities.

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.

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 through age and developmentally-appropriate curriculum and activities. Through play, an essential part of the learning experience, the children learn social skills and problem solving. The staff of the center are here to support parents in their role as their 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.

We provide subsidized childcare through a grant from the California Department of Education, Child Development Division.


  • A focus on Kindergarten Readiness

  • Emergent Curriculum

  • Literacy Activities

  • Learning Circle time

  • Art

  • Music

  • Gardening and Science Activities

  • Free & Structured Play

  • Math Activities

  • Social Skills

  • Exploratory play in a supervised setting

It is the policy of Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center to provide equal employment, volunteer opportunities and services (EEO) to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices),national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), genetic information, marital status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (40 years and over), sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status, protected medical leaves (requesting or approved for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act), domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, and any other status protected by federal, state or local law.

History of 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 assumed responsibility for the administration of the TAM Infant Center so our current name is the Walnut Avenue Family & 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.


Early Education Center

TAM Infant Center and Downtown Children’s Center 831-429-3050

Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center 831-426-3062


Early Education Center

TAM Infant Center and Downtown Children’s Center

7:30am to 5:30pm Monday thru Friday

Funding for this program provided by

  • Appleton Foundation

  • California Department of Education

  • City of Santa Cruz

  • First 5 of California

  • Thrive by Three