Welcome to Little Pals Preschool and Child Care, nurturing and educating preschoolers, toddlers and babies since 2003.

Fairfield, California

Licensed by the California Department of Social Services / Facility Number 483005070

In 2003 Little Pals Preschool and Child Care was opened.  It is located in a licensed and accredited family home in Fairfield, California, owned and directed by me, Lucy Andris; I am licensed to care for up to 14 children.

In November, 2008, I was accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care; becoming accredited requires 12 months of study/preparation, along with a site visit by a skilled observer who reviews and documents virtually everything a provider does. Standards of care for accreditation are high.  To learn more about what's involved in this achievement, look here: NAFCC Accreditation.

In 1974 I completed a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois and for the next 3 decades I lived in seven different states and worked, in one way or another, with children and families. I was the CEO of various small to mid-sized non-profit agencies, focusing on homelessness, family planning, domestic violence and maternal and child health. In 2003, I followed my heart, and opened Little Pals Preschool and Child Care.  Over the years, many people have asked me why I made such a major career change.  I had, and to some extent, still have, two primary reasons. 

The first is, after seeing how an adult can be blessed or damned by their childhood, I hoped to give each child enrolled in my preschool and early care home, the best of all possible starts. Virtually all children will eventually learn basic academic skills; here, at Little Pals Preschool and Child Care, they learn the basics and something much harder to quantify, but equally important.  They learn how to care for one another.

The second reason I wanted to do this work was to take care of my "grandmother" needs!  I have two grown and married daughters; while I hoped to have grandchildren, the very last thing I would ever do would be to ask either of them to have children, just so I could be a grandparent. With babies, toddlers and/or preschoolers in my home, five days a week, my daughters never need to address the matter of having children on my account!

If you are reading this page to learn more about me, I hope this information, and other pages on this site, give you an idea of why I opened my home and heart to the youngest children.  It is important to know something about the person you choose to care for your child, several hours a day, many days during the week.  

Children learn from birth through their 3rd birthday, faster than at any other time in their lives. At Little Pals, every effort is made to maximize these formative years. Each child is provided with a wide variety of learning opportunities. Infants learn baby sign language and can communicate basic needs long before they can say their first words.  As they get older, they are taught how to do things for themselves. Even though an adult can accomplish a task more quickly (for example, tying the shoes of a 3 year old), it's important to take the time to teach self-help skills; this gives the youngster a strong sense of pride and a belief that s/he is becoming a "big girl (or boy)". Additionally every child is lovingly nurtured; hugs and kisses are a daily occurrence. Children are regularly told how important they are and how happy I am to have them with me. This, along with the love expressed by their parents, supports their emotional growth.

One of the most significant ways children achieve success in school and later in life is through reading!  Studies have shown that very young babies can learn about the world around them at a much faster rate if they are read to daily. While infants do not understand specific words, they are learning how words are said, they are hearing changes in the reader's voice at the beginning and end of sentences and at exciting parts of a story. Their brains are putting things together at an incredible rate.  By reading to children, even the youngest babies, adults are giving them an incredibly valuable gift. Children who grow up in an environment rich in words, and one where their caretakers devote at least 20 minutes of every day reading out loud to them, are more successful throughout elementary school and beyond.  This is the primary reason why every child is read to throughout each day at Little Pals.  (The other reason is I really like to read out loud!)

Every child who has been in my preschool has mastered many essential skills required for success in kindergarden.  They recognize every letter of the alphabet with basic understanding of how each one sounds and they know how to put sounds together, allowing them to read basic words.  Additionally they have basic skills in math, such as understanding important concepts of more and less, comparitive sizes, basic addition and subtraction and numerical ordering.  When they listen to stories they can identify the beginning, middle and end; they have started to write and illustrate their own stories.  Science, such as learning how plants grow, how bridges support heavy objects, how mixing colors can create new ones, how heat can change things, etc. is taught daily. This learning lasts because of the many projects the children do.  As they are having fun, which is really important, they  explore ideas and can determine if initial assumptions are true.

Each family who enrolls a child at Little Pals is given a welcome package; among their gifts is a book by Mem Fox: Reading Magic. I give this specific book to parents to make sure they understand how very important it is  to read to their child every day. When either parent reads to a child at home, that compliments the work I do during the day and the team work of providing the best care for a child begins. The synergistic impact is incalculable.

As you look at various pages on this web site, feel free to jot down questions and/or concerns.  I welcome hearing from you.

Lots of fun stuff in the back yardLittle Pals Preschool and Child Care is located just one mile from I-80, in the Paradise Valley area of Fairfield (exit at N. Texas); it's convenient for parents who live in the area, or who commute along the I-80 corridor.

In case you have access to the Internet during the day, we have a "web cam" for your peace of mind, showing the primary play area, in real time. Upon enrollment, each parent is given a user name and password to allow them access to the web cam.

If you are interested in enrolling your child, interviews are scheduled after I close for the day or on week-ends.  There are two reasons I do not meet with parents during my work day.  The first is just that - I'm working - caring for children.  As good as I am at multi-tasking, I simply cannot pay attention to the children in my care and to parents who expect my attention. The second reason is just as important: parents of enrolled chidlren do not pay me to have meetings.  They are paying me to provide quality care to their child(ren).  If you decide to enroll your child at Little Pals, you can be assured I take my work seriously!

Please call me at 707-208-9727, or send an email: lucy@lilpals.com to schedule an appointment. Note: even if you want to just ask a question or two, it's best to call after 6PM.  Callers who reach me during the day are asked to call after I close because any time I'm on the phone is time away from my little guys. When you call after 6PM I can give you my full attention.

Keep in mind that the decision you make regarding who will care for your child during the day is undoubtedly one of the most important you'll ever make for him or her.  When you speak to a provider on the phone, pay attention to how they sound as much as to what they say.  When you visit their home, pay attention to your gut reaction.  After all, you are choosing a home where your child will spend many hours, many days of each week, probably for years.  If anything bothers you, you owe it to yourself and your child to address it promptly. I strongly urge you to ask the provider for references; that way, you can speak to a parent who has used or is still using the services.  Such references can assist you in making the right decision for your family.

Good luck with your search for the best provider - checking out my website is a great first step!


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