First 5 Fresno County opens Lighthouse for Children

EMBED </>More Videos

It took no time for children to start playing and learning inside First 5 Fresno County's brand-new Lighthouse for the Children building. (KFSN)

It took no time for children to start playing and learning inside First 5 Fresno County's brand-new Lighthouse for the Children building. On Friday, leaders held a grand opening for the long-anticipated project.

"It's exciting. It truly is a community building," said Emilia Reyes, First 5 Fresno County's executive director.

Reyes says the lighthouse will help teach young families the importance of early childhood learning.

"Most people don't realize that 80 percent of the brain develops between the ages of 0 to 3," she said. "This is where their foundation is created for their ultimate success in life."

Reyes says their passion is to help children learn at every age level, and that's reflected in everything from the design to play structures.

One of the unique features of the building is the natural playground. If you take a look around, you can see some of the rolling hills, slides and a place for children to learn outdoors. Officials say the natural playground is the only one of its kind in the Valley, and the closest like it is at Stanford University.

Perhaps one of the biggest draws of the building is child care. Come this summer, more than 80 kids from 6 weeks old to 4 years will receive care in Downtown Fresno.

"For a first-time mom, this is a blessing for them because they're able to bring in their babies and have them here all day, and during their breaks and lunch breaks they can obviously come over, breastfeed and observe, just to alleviate some of the anxiety as a first-time mom," said Reyes.

Officials say families of any income level are eligible.

The second floor will serve as a community learning center and provide services from classes to screenings. The $15 million building was funded by a combination of federal dollars, credits and proposition dollars.

"It's definitely a great feeling, just knowing all the children of Fresno County now have a focal point where there's going to be basically a think tank, an incubator for services and thinking about improving services for children throughout this county," said Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea.

Related Topics:
familychildrenfresnoFresno - Downtown
(Copyright ©2018 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)