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Florence KinderCare

Heather Watkins, Center Director

1125 West Florence Ave. Peoria IL 61604
(309) 682-5669 Contact this center

Ages: 6 Weeks to 12 Year-Olds

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Special Instructions:
Off N. University St. behind Walgreens

We are located behind the Walgreens and McDonald’s that sits off University.

Elementary Schools Bussed To:
Thomas Jefferson, Hines, Glen Oak, Northmoor Primary, and Woodrow Wilson grade schools.

Currently enrolling in our Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Programs!

  • Accreditation Seal Every Day · Every Child · Excellence · Accreditated · Knowledge Universe
  • NAC Accreditation NAC


Welcome to the Peoria KinderCare located on Florence Ave. Our mission is to meet the needs of children and families each and every day. We have an educated, supportive, and caring staff who are passionate about teaching and child growth and development. Your child's education is the most important thing to us which is why we provide a state-of-the-art curriculum in each of our programs to ensure that your child is getting the best education at every age level. We provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment so that your child feels comfortable and excited to come to school each day; we want everyone to feel like they are part of our family when they walk through our doors. We look forward to meeting with your family and introducing you to ours.

Heather Watkins, Center Director

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Many of our child care centers are accredited by national organizations that require us to meet rigorous early childhood education standards and guidelines for high-quality care and education. Programs that are accredited have demonstrated their commitment to go beyond the state’s minimum licensing requirements to meet and maintain these high standards of quality.

Our Programs

Infant Programs (6 weeks - 1 year)

Babies grow and learn every day. Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing "home away from home" where babies can explore and make new discoveries. We know that learning through play is extremely valuable at this age and our Early Foundations® Infant program is designed to give babies the skills that will serve as the building blocks for a lifetime of learning.

Toddler Programs (1 – 2 Years)

As toddlers develop friendships, self-esteem, and curiosity, our Early Foundations® Toddler program will help them explore their world in a safe and nurturing environment. Our unique curriculum is based on the philosophy that children learn best through experiences. So each day is filled with fun activities that excite and develop toddlers, giving them the comfort and confidence to speak those first few important words, as well as make their first friends.

Discovery Preschool Programs (2 – 3 Years)

At this age, children are making new discoveries daily. And as two-year olds begin to exert their independence, our Early Foundations® Discovery Preschool program is prepared to open their eyes to a world of learning, sharing, and exploring. Our holistic approach in the classroom engages young minds with a blend of music, art, and movement, as well as the early education fundamentals they'll need as they continue on to preschool.

Preschool Programs (3 – 4 Years)

As preschoolers gain more self-esteem, they may feel ready to take on the world. Our Early Foundations® Preschool program enhances that confidence by providing activities to help children become problem solvers and lifelong learners. Through independent exploration, structured activities, and hands-on learning, children will work on early literacy, math, science, and social studies concepts. A healthy dose of running, jumping, and dancing keeps them active too.

Prekindergarten Programs (4 – 5 Years)

Prekindergartners are preparing for the adventure of a lifetime – school. And our Early Foundations Prekindergarten® program is designed to get them ready by teaching letters and words, math concepts, and valuable social skills. With small group instruction, independent play in an organized atmosphere, and whole-group activities, children will have all the right skills to hop, skip, and jump right into kindergarten.

Before- & After-School Programs (5 – 12 Years)

Even after school's out for the day, children need to be engaged in a comfortable, yet stimulating environment. That's where our Catch the Wave® program comes in. This innovative before – and after-school program allows school-age children to balance learning and fun through a variety of experiences. From homework help to fun physical activities, our program is designed so that everyone goes home happy.

Summer Programs (preschool, prekindergarten, and school-age)

Don’t miss out on KinderCare’s Summer of Wonder: Six themed programs that will make summer exciting, educational and tons of fun. Whether your child is in our preschool, Pre-K or school-age programs, all of it is designed to help children learn while soaking up the fun. We offer flexible scheduling options to meet the needs of busy families like yours so we hope to see you there.

Learning Adventures - Enrichment Program


The Cooking Adventures program gives children opportunities to participate in fun, developmentally appropriate cooking experiences. They will learn about recipes, ingredients, cooking vocabulary, and the importance of a healthy diet. The curriculum includes lessons on picnics, pizza, and heart-healthy meals.


The Math Adventures enrichment program is designed to teach important mathematics concepts such as geometry, numbers, measurement, and probability. Your child will learn about length, height, and weight. He will learn about shapes and solids. He will learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and count money. Math is everywhere and giving your child every advantage now will add up to success later in life.


Ongoing research proves that early exposure to music helps children think, reason, create, and express themselves. Children will laugh and learn about rhythm, vocal melodies, and a variety of musical genres and instruments, which can lower stress and advance memory. Learning never sounded so good.

Phonics & Reading Adventures

Set your child up for advanced success with literacy through phonics, the study of letters and sounds. Reader books, games, and activity cards help your child understand the basics of vowels and blending syllables, giving him confidence and command of language.


Spanish Adventures provides young learners with a foundation for later success with the Spanish language. Music, games, children's Spanish literature, and other tools give children multiple opportunities to hear, practice, and see Spanish language for vocabulary and conversational development. Curriculum includes lessons on greetings, numbers, colors, animals, family, body parts and pets as well as how to get engage conversationally during common scenarios at home, a restaurant, or at the zoo. Qué pasa?

Sign Language

Upcoming Events at our CenterView All Events

  1. Thursday November 24, 2016
    1. Thanksgiving Break - Center Closed

      Our center is closed Thanksgiving Day and the day after.

  2. Monday December 26, 2016
    1. Center Closed in Observance of Christmas Day

Teachers & Staff

KinderCare Learning Center of Peoria provides programs for infants through school-age with highly qualified teachers who have a total of over 100 years experience in the early childhood profession. We carefully select our team and provide you with teachers that are educated, passionate, creative, and value the art of education.

  • Heather Watkins

    Heather Watkins, Center Director

    It is our vision that each child who comes through our doors joins a community of children, families, and teachers engaged in the joy, work, and wonder of childhood.

    Heather started with KinderCare as an infant teacher, toddler teacher, then moved into management and was an assistant director before becoming a director for the last 15 years. Heather has been in the early childhood education field for over 20 years and loves hearing the sound of children's laughter each day. Her biggest adventure is being a mom. When not working, Heather enjoys spending family time with her husband and daughter. They love to go to the movies, out to dinner, and to sporting events as a family!

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Year Started:
    22 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    25 Years
    Associates in Early Childhood Education
  • Sarah Lawrence

    Sarah Lawrence, Assistant Director

    Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or in the same way. -George Evans

    Sarah grew up as a KinderCare kid! Her mother was a director for 25 years and she attended KinderCare starting at 8 weeks until she went to Kindergarten. Sarah attended Illinois State University where she worked as a preschool teacher at the Bloomington KinderCare while she went to school to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Seconday Education. Sarah loves working in the early childhood field because each day is different and working with children is always a fun challenge for her.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Where the Wild Things Are
    Year Started:
    13 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachelor's of Science in Secondary Education
  • Ms. Kim

    Ms. Kim, Infant Classroom

    Anything can be accomplished if you try. Can't is not a vocabulary word.

    Ms. Kim has worked in each classroom at the center during her 30 years with KinderCare. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Illinois College and loves interacting with the parents each day and teaching them things about their children. Kim's biggest adventure is her family; she has been married for 26 years and loves watching her daughter participate in extra-curricular activities. She loves teaching because each day is a new adventure and she loves to get hugs, kisses, and smiles from the children when they come to school. She enjoys when a child grows physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially and seeing the light bulb go off when a child accomplishes something they have learned.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Anything by Dr. Seuss
    Year Started:
    31 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education
  • Ms. Pat

    Ms. Pat, Infant Classroom

    Teaching from your heart makes the job worth it

    Ms. Pat has over 20 years of experience working in early childhood and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and an Associates Degree in Early Childhood that she got while living in New York. Her biggest adventure is moving from New York to Peoria and being a mother of 2. Pat's favorite thing about teaching is that she is part of a child's learning and growth process. Children love her classroom because she is so much fun!

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Anything by Eric Carle
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Associate's Degree in Early Childhood
  • Ms. Sonia

    Ms. Sonia, Toddler Classroom

    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn- Benjamin Franklin

    Ms. Sonia's favorite thing about teaching is the children! She loves helping them to learn and grow each day and children love her classroom because they are nurtured and do not realize that they are learning by playing and exploring. Sonia has her Child Development Associates and says her biggest adventure is being a foster parents since 2006.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Little Cloud by Eric Carle
    Year Started:
    7 Years
    Child Development Associates
  • Ms. Melissa

    Ms. Melissa, Toddler

    Life is a giant road with many different paths. It's our job as teachers to help children find the right path to walk on.

    Ms. Melissa majored in theater at North Central College before working with children and is now in the process of obtaining her Child Development Associates (CDA). She has always loved children and now that she works with them each day, her favorite thing is to watch them grow and progress. Children love her class because they are able to learn while having fun! Melissa has her own "baby" at home; he has brown eyes, a wet nose, 4 feet, and goes by the name of Shadow.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    The Berenstain Bears series
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    working towards a Child Development Associates
  • Ms. Tanya

    Ms. Tanya, Discovery Preschool Classroom

    Don't give up. I believe in you all. A person's a person no matter how small. -Dr. Seuss

    Ms. Tanya has been working in childcare for 18 years and with two-year-olds for 11 of them! She loves watching her children have an "Aha" moment when she shows them something. Children love being in her class because she encourages them to be independent and allow them to make their own choices.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. The Monster at the End of the Book
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Associates in Arts and Science
  • Ms. Irma

    Ms. Irma, Discovery Preschool

    You can't have success without failure. A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.

    Ms. Irma is an early childhood candidate at Illinois Central College and has had field experience at Glen Oak elementary school. She has three children of her own and being a mother is her biggest adventure because her children always teach her new things and keep her very busy! Irma's favorite thing about teaching is working with children each day; she loves to see them grow and develop and knowing that she is part of it is a great feeling. Children love being in her class because they can explore and try new things; they all learn together but they still have space to be independent.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? The Llama Llama series
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    Early Childhood candidate
  • Ms. Samantha

    Ms. Samantha, Preschool and School Age Classroom

    It takes a big heart to shape little minds.

    Ms. Samantha was born and raised in Peoria, IL but moved to Memphis, TN after she graduated high school which is where her career in early childhood education began. She began by volunteering and fell in love with working with children and has been doing it ever since. Samantha has worked with all age groups and has four children of her own so she has a lot of patience and feels as though being a mother is her biggest adventure. She says her favorite thing about teaching is being a part of the growth and development of children and that children love her classroom because there is a constant flow of energy, love, growth, and independence.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    8 years
  • Ms. Krystal

    Ms. Krystal, Preschool & Support Staff

    Teaching: We don't do it for the income, we do it for the outcome.

    Ms. Krystal is a mother of 5 who joined our team after two years of caring for children in her home. She is great at working with every age group and is very adaptable! Her favorite thing about teaching is when she has been teaching a child something and it clicks; she loves to see that light bulb moment when the child gets it. Children love being in Ms. Krystal's classroom because she allows them to explore, have new and exciting experiences, and most importantly have fun! Singing, dancing, and giggling is an every day occurrence which is what makes her job so fun every day!

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Are You My Mother?
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
  • Ms. Jahmi

    Ms. Jahmi, Pre-Kindergarten

    The future of the world is my classroom today.

    Ms. Jahmi is the oldest of three children and loved helping take care of her younger siblings. Her favorite thing about teaching is watching children get excited about learning and achieving goals that they didn't think they could achieve. Children love being in Jahmi's class because she creates a warm and safe environment where children can be themselves and have fun learning. Jahmi says her biggest adventure is going sailing on the islands of Turks and Caicos and she has aspirations to earn a degree in business one day.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    The Amelia Bedelia Series
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
  • Ms. Wyneisha

    Ms. Wyneisha, Pre-Kindergarten Classroom

    Teaching is the key to success.

    Ms. Wyneisha loves working with children which is why she chose to study Child Development in school and has been working in the early childhood field for 10 years. She loves when a child is able to teach her something they have learned and children love her classroom because it's full of joy, laughter, color, and lots of smiling faces. Wyneisha enjoys how children look up to her every day knowing that she is there to make their day better by teaching, showing, and guiding them in every way.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    No David but loves all children's books!
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    working towards a degree in Child Development
  • Ms. Vanessa

    Ms. Vanessa, Jr. School-Age

    The future of the world is in my classroom today. -Ivan Fitzwater

    Ms. Vanessa has a passion for working with children and has done so in various capacities for 20 years. Coach, teacher, mentor, tutor, and babysitter are just a few roles she has had. Even before she got her degree in psychology she was interested in the development of a child including social/emotional and their education. Children love her classroom because she brings diversity, including language, and loves using games to help the children learn. Her biggest adventure was driving solo across the United States to visit family and friends. Ms. Vanessa is also our center's Health and Safety coordinator so she ensures that the center is safe and that teachers are well trained and informed so that the children are as safe and healthy as possible.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    The Snowy Day
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachelor's Degree in Psychology/ Para educator secondary education.
  • Ms. Paula

    Ms. Paula, Support Staff

    Never do for a child what a child can do for him or herself.

    Ms. Paula's favorite thing about teaching is observing the children and watching them learn and grow. She has an Associates Degree in Child Development from Parkland College and has worked in several different childcare settings which helps her every day with each age group she works with. Children love Paula's classroom because they know that she loves and cares about them as individuals.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Little Bear
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Associates Degree in Child Development
  • Ms. Shavon

    Ms. Shavon, Center Cook

    Love children for who they are.

    Ms. Shavon works very hard to make sure the kitchen is maintained to the highest level required by the Peoria County Health Department. Shavon also helps in any classroom whenever necessary and her biggest adventure has been going back to school as an adult and getting her Child Development Associates (CDA). Shavon loves seeing all of their children happy with their bellies full of the healthy meals she prepares for them.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Green Eggs and Ham
    Year Started:
    5 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Child Development Associates (CDA)

October 2016 Events

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Filter Center Calendar
  1. Monday October 10, 2016
    1. Professional Development Day - Center Closed

      Two times each year we dedicate a day for our staff's professional development to further their training and better equip them for the care of your child. The center will be closed on this day for training to occur. If you have questions or would like to request further details, please contact your local Center Director.

  2. Tuesday October 18, 2016
    1. Join Our Community Social

      Your entire family is welcome to join us October 18th for our community social. Come see how family-style dining is done at our center, mingle with other families, and, best of all, enjoy a healthy snack with your child!  

      You’ll better understand how we turn our meals into learning experiences and encourage the children to try new foods, practice table manners, use utensils, and simply enjoy a great meal and good company! See you there!

About Our Center

Our teachers are passionate about children and their education. We provide a safe, fun and exciting learning environment with hands-on activities each day. The teachers strive to develop the whole child with our curriculum emphasizing growth in social, emotional, cognitive, language and literacy, creative expression, and physical development.

Awards and Recognition

  • NAC


  • ExceleRate Illinois-Gold Circle

    ExceleRate Illinois-Gold Circle

Languages Spoken at Our Center

  • American Sign Language
  • Spanish

Meals & Menus

Meals Served

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • PM Snack

Additional Menu Options

  • Vegetarian
  • Special diets
  • Nut-Free Center

Center Menu

Holidays Observed

New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve closed early, and Christmas Day.

We are also closed on President's Day and Columbus Day for Professional Development.

Health and Safety

Safety is one of our top concerns, which is why we have keypad entry, a system for authorized person pick-up, fenced playground, and all of our staff members are CPR and First Aid certified. We have a Health and Safety Coordinator on site who takes care of medication, allergy lists, fire/tornado drills, and general center safety.

At KinderCare, what families say about us means a lot. Read below some of the great experiences our families have had with us.

Share Your Story
If you have a story about your experience at KinderCare, please share your story with us.

I have a son with down syndrome who attends Kindercare. I've had bad experiences with other centers, looking at him as the child with a diagnosis instead of just a child. My experience at Kindercare as been a breath of fresh air. When you have a child who can't verbally tell you about his day, you need to feel comfortable when he is in the care of others and the staff at Kindercare makes me feel just that. He has learned so much and the love they have for him is genuine and unconditional and he loves them too!! He doesn't even want me sometimes when I pick him up. One of the things I like the most about Kindercare is the director is very involved with the children. My son is attached to her as well. It's very important to make a mother feel like her child is safe and getting treated equally, especially when her child has special needs. The staff at Kindercare makes it easier for me to go to work knowing my children are in good hands!! 

- Mother

Selecting the right daycare was a tough decision, especially for a first time mom. I could not have been more certain I made the right choice with KinderCare. They have exceeded my expectations in every way! At 15 months she has quite the vocabulary going and although I would like to personally take credit I would say they have had a lot to do it. Her communication skills have really improved since joining. KinderCare is more than just a daycare. The skills they are teaching are life skills. Above and beyond any expectation I could have had. Not only do I feel confident and comfortable leaving my child at KinderCare but I know she's excited too, and that's the best part.

- Mother

See what’s happening on the blog

Our staff would like to welcome you to visit our center. The staff takes pride in keeping up to date with the latest trends in Early Childhood Education. Ongoing training is offered to the staff during the year at the center and though the various training opportunities in the community.

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Resources for Parents

Download helpful guides and other resources to make your child care decisions easy.

What should I look for when choosing a childcare center?:

Enrollment Agreement: