ABOUT US - "A Child's Touch..." STORY
"A Child's Touch..." was founded in 1977. Michael and Deborah Grillo started A.C.T. in Lamplighter Mobile Home Park with a license capacity for 45 children. Children were accepted from 2 through 12 years of age. During that first year we saw the need for expanded quality childcare, so in 1978 we contracted to have a modular unit built with the capacity for an additional 70 children. In 1981 we changed our license to serve children from 12 months through 12 years of age. (Skip To Timeline)
Mike has a double degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Northern Arizona University and is Director qualified. He taught the A.C.T. academic kindergarten program for 18 years. During the 1994/1995 school year, Mike team-taught Kindergarten, and the following year he decided to assume a position out of the classroom. However, he returned to the classroom for the 2005/2006 school year and continues to be a mentor to the Kindergarten teachers. He is also working on improving the amenities of the center. The wheels are always turning for him! Debi has an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education as well as being Director qualified. Both Mike and Debi are involved with the overall management of the childcare center on a daily basis. (Skip To Timeline)
"A Child's Touch..." is strongly committed to employing quality staff. We realize that it is of utmost importance to have proper role models for children at this young age. Stability and commitment of staff is critical. We are proud of our capable professionals whose average length of stay at A.C.T. is five and one half years. This is unique in the childcare field-most centers experience frequent turnover.
It had always been a dream of the Grillo's to find a location that would allow A.C.T. to expand its facilities. Over the years many locations had been considered. In June 1988 a 2 acre church property was found. It was right across the street from an elementary school and was only 3 miles away from the original location. There were more than 70 parking spaces and no other child care centers in the area to speak of. Wow! What potential! (Skip To Timeline)
But it was not without its heartache and work. There were many months of going to the city staff in preparation, going before the city's planning and zoning board and two times to the city council before final approval was granted in 1989. Then began the backbreaking work, 16-hour days and sleepless nights. Why? The building needed to be gutted and restored! This could not have been accomplished without the help of the staff, their families and the childcare parents. Many gave of themselves tirelessly and graciously. What a blessing! Only nine weeks after closing on the property, "A Child's Touch..." opened its doors for business on June 19, 1989.
In the fall of 1989 ground was broken for our new addition that would house an art lab and two large classrooms. This building was opened in the spring of 1990 and the two schools were merged into one, thus reuniting the "A Child's Touch Family." (Skip To Timeline)
In the spring of 1994, we broke ground for the new Toddler Building. Its final unique design would contain bubble windows, loft areas, water wall, skylights, central diaper changing area, lots of beautiful oak, clouds painted on the ceiling, baffles to help with noise and a secured entrance. It was ready just one week before the 1994/1995 school year started. God always provides in His timing!
During this entire time period we were also developing our one-acre playground. We wanted to create a unique playground space for the children in our care. Our first project was constructing the toddler area. It was built around a large elm tree, which provided an abundance of shade for the "little ones." Soon we began working on a redwood castle that would cover over 2400 square feet. That was followed by our asphalt playground, soccer field and nature area. A log cabin was added to the nature area along with a pond and waterfall system. The playground was really improving, yet we still had an abundance of space to fill.
We developed the idea of creating a town made of large buildings that would serve as unique spaces for the children. We wanted it to be a playground that was unlike any other in the nation. The buildings would be designed for learning and a child's creative imagination. Our goal was to build a structure each year. The town began with a Woodworking Barn, an area devoted to learning how to use tools to build special projects. Soon the General Store was a reality. The children could do their own shopping for fruits and vegetables. Next was the Inventors' House where children could experiment with science projects! Finally the largest building of all was added in 2000. We called it Discovery Station. It has a permanent plastic ballroom and a larger area devoted to rotating themed exhibits. To complement Discovery Station we created Discovery Playground, an expansive sand area that is home to a large piece of climbing equipment. (Skip To Timeline)
Our final building was dedicated to our wonderful staff. It became a staff lounge that served as a resource and exercise area, a place to rest, use computers or bond with co-workers. This building became the Creation Station in 2009 when the staff lounge was moved to the house next door. (Skip To Timeline)
In the summer of 2001 we built our second waterfall, the Columbine Memorial Park project. We also added our Ocean and Dinosaur Cabin in that area. >
In 2003 we completed the Circle of Honor. It pays tribute to God, our great country and those that have served to protect our freedoms. An interactive water display allows the children to put their hands in a flow of water on a giant rock slab. (Skip To Timeline)
In 2005 we built the new Infant/Toddler north wing. The building is 4000 square feet with many state-of-the-art features such as radiant floor heating, a HEPA air filter system, custom cabinets, solid surface counters and a unique design. The building opened October 17, 2005.
In late 2005 and early 2006 we renovated the Toddler south wing and were pleased with the results. Vinyl flooring was added, cabinets replaced, and solid surface counters were installed along with a custom water play area. The Two-Year-Olds moved into their new classrooms January 17, 2006. (Skip To Timeline)
The next-door neighbor at 9191 Poze contacted us to see if we had any interest in purchasing their home. We closed on the property September 27, 2007. It was used for our Pirate theme staff retreat in October and we slowly began the renovation process. We removed wallpaper, painted, gutted bathrooms, replaced doors, cabinets, counters, light fixtures, carpet, flooring and appliances. We are using this property for staff training and continue creating a unique nature outdoor classroom.
ACT completed the task of converting the barren backyard into a natue playground for the children in August 2010. With the addition of this space our entire play area was well over one full acre! The Nature Outdoor Classroom has a worm bin, log hill, mud pit, cave, tree house, off road tricycle path, two large hills, music area and a custom built water feature measuring 40 feet long. ACT received national certification from the Arbor Day Foundation for this new playground. We are one of the first 100 certified Nature Explore playground in the nation.
We always strive to improve the school for the children and for the staff-the future will not be dull!