Lighthouse for Children offers high-quality early education

The Lighthouse for Children, a project of First 5 Fresno County, held an open house Wednesday to show off its child care and early education program.

Created by First 5 Fresno County and operated by the Fresno County Office of Education, the child development center provides high-quality early education, according to center officials. When the center is fully operational, it will serve almost 100 children.

The three-story building in downtown Fresno opened over a year ago. It features large, modern classrooms with play areas and a bathroom; an outdoor, hilly playground in a courtyard area where preschoolers can make music with chimes and play on swings and a slide; conference rooms for adult classes and other meeting space.

The $15 million building is at Tulare and N streets, south of the main branch of the Fresno County Library.

First 5 Fresno County has a scholarship program in place that is helping 30 percent of the children enrolled. Another 30 percent use subsidized enrollment, with 30 percent at regular tuition and 10 percent set aside for special-needs children.

First 5 Fresno County is an independent agency that seeks to bolster health and education programs for children from birth to age 5 and their families. It’s funded by California’s tobacco tax.