Stacie Cardoza, Center Director
Ages: 6 weeks to 5 years
Our center is accredited by NAEYC.
Meet Stacie Cardoza, Our Center Director
At KinderCare Since: 2014
Education: Associate Degree
Favorite Children's Book: The Froggy Goes to School series
Meet Stacie Cardoza! She is the Center Director at Westlakes KinderCare in West Des Moines, IA. Stacie attended Des Moines Area Community College where she earned an Associate Degree. She has been with KinderCare for eight years, and before that she was a teacher and an assistant director. Outside of work, Stacie enjoys watching movies, being outdoors, and spending time with her family. Her favorite quote is, "It's going to be hard, but hard does not mean impossible."
AMERICA’S MOST ACCREDITED
We’re so proud!
Nationally only 10% of daycares are accredited - nearly 100% of our learning centers are. That’s a big difference, and that means KinderCare kids are getting the very best. Here’s why.
What Learning Looks Like
Our talented early-childhood teachers set kids down the path toward becoming lifelong learners in a positive, safe, and nurturing environment.
Westlakes KinderCare Programs
Infant Programs (6 weeks–1 year)
Leaving your baby in someone else’s care is a big step. Everyone at our centers—most importantly, our naturally gifted infant teachers—will work with you to make sure the transition goes smoothly. When you step into our infant classroom, you’ll see how much we want your infant to feel safe, loved, and ready to explore their world.
Toddler Programs (1–2 Years)
Everything in our toddler classroom is designed for little explorers. That’s because a lot is going on at this age. When your child is wandering all over the place, that means they’re learning and discovering new things every day. We’ll help them explore their interests (and find new ones!) as they play and learn.
Discovery Preschool Programs (2–3 Years)
This age is filled with so much wonder and curiosity. That’s why we offer a ton of books and toys and bring artwork down to kids eye level. Children in discovery preschool also begin to learn how we all work together in a classroom. Simple math and science, pretend play, and group play help them get used to a more structured school setting.
Preschool Programs (3–4 Years)
This age is all about expression, when kids really start to form their own ideas about what they want to play and how they want to create. Every day in our preschool classroom, your child will explore science experiments, create artwork, and play pretend—all the skills needed for their big next step: kindergarten!
Prekindergarten Programs (4–5 Years)
When you walk into one of our pre-K classrooms, you’ll see artwork and writing displayed around the room. Labels are everywhere to help kids connect letters with words. You’ll also see pictures on the walls that reflect the families in our community. Your child will also deepen their knowledge in language, math, science, Spanish, and social skills.
School Break Programs (preschool, prekindergarten, and school-age)
Winter break, spring break, summer break—when school’s out (but you still need to work), you can count on KinderCare to provide a safe and supportive learning environment that’s focused on fun. We welcome children ages 5–12 during school break times and make sure they have a sensational, screen-free experience they won’t forget.
Learning Adventures - Enrichment Program
Cooking Academy™ (3 – 12 Years)
In Cooking Academy, kids learn new recipes from cultures around the world and develop a healthy relationship with food. They’ll whip up everything from Southwest rainbow lettuce wraps to pumpkin muffins, building their skills in STEM, communication, and more along the way. And yes—little chefs get to eat their culinary creations!
Phonics Adventures® (2 – 4 Years)
Learning how to read is a whole lot of fun at KinderCare! We help kids grow to love books and words (and get ready for kindergarten) in our Phonics Adventures program. From discovering the basics of vowels to practicing poetry, kids learn all about letters and sounds in small-group lessons made just for their age group. (Bonus: Kids who attend our phonics program are more prepared than their peers for school—and we have the data to prove it.)
STEM Innovators (3-8 Years)
You’ve probably heard a lot about how important STEM education is for your child, but what does that really mean? Our STEM Innovators program takes kids’ natural ability to make sense of the world and applies it to robotics, chemistry, coding, geology, and more. While your child experiments, they’ll discover how to use technology to do amazing things!
ABC Music & Me
We're the only company in early childhood education to select teachers based on natural talent. Being a great educator isn't enough though. KinderCare teachers are also amazing listeners, nurturers, boo-boo fixers, and smile-makers. Put more simply, we love our teachers and your child will, too.
Meet just a few of our amazing KinderCare teachers!
A KINDERCARE TEACHER WITH
An Artist's Heart
"My classroom is full of art!” says Mary Annthipie-Bane, an award-winning early childhood educator at KinderCare. Art and creative expression, she says, help children discover who they really are.
We put our best-in-class teachers in a best-in-class workplace. We're so proud to have been named one of Gallup's 37 winners of the Great Workplace Award. When you put great teachers in an engaging center, your children will experience an amazing place to learn and grow.
Don't take our word for it. Hear what our families have to say about our amazing center!
Our family has been at Westlakes KinderCare for over five years now. We couldn't be happier with the care and education that our children have received. Westlakes KinderCare is truly a learning center. The teachers are educated and have made a lasting impression on our family. They are an extension of our immediate family; we are so blessed to have them in our lives! Anna and Rachel are so accommodating and helpful. They care about us and the well-being of our children. All of the staff are the same way, they love my children and I feel so comfortable and confident leaving them in their care every day. They are amazing! I refer all of my friends because everyone should give their children the opportunity to have an education in this warm and safe environment! Thank you to Anna and the staff for everything that you do!”
P.L. - KinderCare Parent
My younger son started daycare with you guys at about ten weeks old. I was so excited to have him attend the school where his older brother had such success. The ladies in the Infant Classroom were so awesome! I had to pull him out about three weeks later, though, due to unforeseen circumstances at my job. When I was getting close to returning to work, I called Anna and Rachel, and found there were no openings. I was devastated. I put my name on the list and patiently waited and hoped I'd hear back. I looked at another daycare here in West Des Moines, and they seemed like any other average daycare. There were no warm and fuzzies when I visited. KinderCare had been such a stellar experience for us that I just hated the thought of putting him anywhere else. When I got the call that there was an opening, I was overjoyed! The teachers in his new room, Ms. Martha, Ms. Amanda, and Ms. Sydney, have been so sweet and patient with him. He has had a difficult transition from staying home with me to returning to daycare at 15 months old. They genuinely seem excited to see him every morning, and I can see the love and kindness they treat the other kids with as well. They truly love their jobs, and it shows. One morning a few weeks ago, I came in to see Ms. Martha sitting in the bathroom with one of the little ones. She was encouraging them to potty and making silly noises and playing with a light-up toy with them. I was just overwhelmed by a sense of how lucky I am to have these great people to care for my son. I could not be more pleased. It is truly a joy to bring my son to them every morning. From the smiling faces at the front door when we arrive to all the awesome teachers on the way to his room, his great teachers are the cherry on the top. KinderCare is by far the best daycare I have ever used, and, if I have it my way, I'll always use you guys. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking such good care of my little guys!”
Lindsay H. - KinderCare Parent
It is a great feeling knowing that while I am at work my son is receiving the best care imaginable at the Westlakes KinderCare located on University Avenue in West Des Moines. Right away in the morning, as we walk in the door, we are greeted with warm hellos and bright smiles from the management team; Tracy and Anna are always more than willing to assist me with whatever I may need and are always there to listen. As you walk through the secured access entry system, you hear sounds of laughter and the welcoming voices of the teachers greeting the children and parents as they walk in the classroom. It is certainly evident that the Westlakes KinderCare is not a daycare facility, but a true learning center. In fact, every time I enter our KinderCare, I am reminded of what makes the center so remarkable: the artwork, projects, and pictures of the children doing those learning activities are displayed neatly on each of the classroom walls. I can tell that these educated, tenured teachers are proud and happy to work with my child; their smiling faces and clean, curriculum-filled classrooms say it all. If you are looking for a safe and caring environment that gives your child an educational advantage while you are at work, the Westlakes KinderCare is the place for you!”
J.P. - KinderCare Parent
“You know what your problem is, don’t you?” my sister rhetorically asked me in August. “You make these people your best friends, and then every year you have to leave your best friends behind. That’s your problem.” It was so matter of fact, it stung. But she was right. I had made my children’s teachers my bestest of friends, then my children left their rooms, and there I was, mourning the loss of my beloveds.
Everyone has a story. And for those of you who don’t know us, our story began almost six years ago, when we were told our baby boy had a heart defect--a lethal one. Modern medical advances could prolong his life through a series of surgeries, but there would likely be consequences. Saving his heart came at the cost of a few other things. He needed thickened liquids to drink, he barely ate, he needed g-tube feedings, his language and motor skills were behind, his body got tired quickly.
…He’s perfect, of course, it’s his body that needs a little help. This was going to be my selling point when I met Anna.
I stopped by for a tour of KinderCare on a day the power went out, and Anna still had a smile on her face. I had carefully constructed a speech in my head to convey my son’s needs without scaring her into thinking he might die under her roof, while also somehow telling her how amazing he was that investing in him would be worth it. And I had to admit my daughter needed to be hugged for 30 minutes by a teacher at drop off in order for her to feel secure. So not a needy family at all. I’d had lots of other tours at other daycares before. Anna’s face was the only one whose smile didn’t fade when I mentioned a feeding tube; hers the only eyes that stayed focused on mine as I outlined what it would take from his teachers. I fell away from my carefully crafted speech. I revealed details of our lives that were totally unnecessary. I shed a few tears. I took up way more time than her paper planner had lined out for me. And she hugged me in her perfect little well-dressed arms and said they would do whatever it took. And I believed her.
My son landed in Miss Shannon’s room, and the thing about Miss Shannon is that you always know what she’s thinking--which is beautiful, and perfect for my son. I knew she wasn’t thrilled about the g-tube. I’m not a fan of it myself, either. Forcing him to put on his own shoes as he cries because it’s hard? Not easy, but totally necessary. Encouraging him to eat...every.single.day. Exasperating. Also necessary. Trying to decipher if he really does have to pee or he’s just trying to get out of writing? This requires an advanced medical degree. But she did it. And I think this is how I fell in love with Shannon. Because she was fighting my same battles with my exact same thoughts. And then, she got better than me. She got my son's friends to help him to eat. She got him to eat things at school that he won’t eat at home. She never let him get away with something other kids wouldn’t get by with. She advocated for him sticking up for himself, for him getting more and more independent. She was always paying attention. She put lotion on his dry hands, calmed him though dry-heaving spells, and managed to see my lovely sweet boy through all that extra work.
Now my son has this crazy schedule where he gets off a bus at lunchtime and is at KinderCare in the afternoons. Miss April, Miss Rachel, and Miss Anna all get him off the bus now. I want to be the one to see him get off the bus, but I can’t, so they do such a wonderful job of telling me exactly what he looked like and what he talked about. On his first day, they let him call me at work to talk to me when he got off the bus, and he had so much to say he could barely get the words out. In my absence, these girls still made it meaningful.
And then there is my daughter. I prayed when I was pregnant with her that God would somehow see to it that she wouldn’t get overlooked in the chaos that surrounded my son's needs. And for those who know her, she refuses to get overlooked. Miss April is especially adept at getting her out of her ornery moods when she’s giving you the “drop dead” look that is usually followed by high-pitched yelling. Miss Nicole used to play Frozen songs just for her (and probably every other girl in that class). Those teachers potty trained my daughter, because I was going to wait until she was ten (because who has time for that?), and they just asked one day if they could do it themselves. Yes, please. When Nicole got pregnant, I basically begged her to take my son's infant things. We didn’t need them anymore, but it was hard for me to part with them. I had such strong emotions attached to everything. His crib was the only piece of furniture we bought before he came home. I didn’t want to have a room for a baby that never got to come home. And Miss Nicole had become like family; I entrusted her with what I held dear. And Miss Payton, well, I asked her some hard questions about her life, her brother, and she sat and talked to me, with tears streaming down our faces, about life, and how beautiful and hard it all is. KinderCare is truly a place that just gets us.
And I’d like to mention my nephew, because his teachers have always been so supportive of me coming in to see him. My visits are almost always ill-timed, like right in the middle of story time, or the end of nap time, and his teachers have never once acted irritated that I interrupted to give that little slugger a hug. I’m sure that’s annoying, but thanks for faking that it’s not. I remember when my daughter first started and my nephew and her were in the same class, fighting about who got to sit on my lap when I visited, and it was so disruptive to story time, but their teachers just acted like it was so great that I was there. And when people are this kind to you, when they are this invested in your life, you love them.
Like when I come in the front door and Anna and Rachel act like they have nothing better or more productive to do than listen to whatever drama I’m telling them about our lives. Or how Mr. Jerome always says “hey hey” to my daughter and points at her, and last week, she pointed back! It was like she and Mr. Jerome had some secret language, and it was so so adorable.
So how can I not love them all as my own? They are people that I look forward to seeing at the end of my day. People that I care about so much, it hurts when I don’t see them every day anymore. They are raising my children right next to me. What they do matters…and to my kids' new sets of teachers, prepare for being my future besties!”
S.B. - KinderCare Parent
Who Are KinderCare Families?
They hail from hundreds of cities across the country from countless backgrounds, and proudly represent every walk in life. What our families have in common, though, is the want to give their children the best start in life. We are so proud to be their partner in parenting.
Hear from just a few of our amazing KinderCare families.
A Globe-Trotting Family Finds A
Home in Houston
Four young children, four different passports, two languages, two full-time jobs…oh, and a few triathlons thrown in for good measure. Meet the globe-trotting Colettas—a family on the go.
Frequently Asked Questions
What accreditations does KinderCare have?
We are your trusted caregiver. Our centers are state-licensed and regularly inspected to make sure everything meets or exceeds standards, including child-to-teacher ratios and safe facilities. Our centers aren’t just licensed—most are accredited, too! Find out more.
Do you offer part-time schedules at Westlakes KinderCare?
Everybody’s schedule is different. We’re happy to offer quality, affordable part-time and full-time childcare. Drop-in care may also be available. Reach out to your Center Director to learn more.
How does naptime work at Westlakes KinderCare?
Our teachers meet every child’s needs during naptime. Our teachers know how to get babies to nap. In fact, they are pros at getting children of any age to nap. Visit our article on "10 Ways We Help Kids Get a Great Daycare Nap" to learn more.
Do you support alternative diets?
We strive to be as inclusive as possible. To that point, we provide a vegetarian option at mealtime, take care to not serve common allergens and can adapt menus based on your child’s food sensitivities. If your child has additional needs, we’ll work with you to figure out a plan.
Are meals included in tuition? Can I choose to send my child with lunch?
We provide nutritious meals and snacks developed by a registered dietician to meet the needs of rapidly growing bodies and minds. If your child has special dietary requirements and you would prefer to bring in their lunch, please make arrangements with the center director.
Does my child need to be potty-trained?
Every child begins toilet learning at a different age. Until your child shows an interest in toilet learning, we’ll provide diaper changes on an as-needed basis. When your child shows an interest, we'll discuss how to work together to encourage toilet learning.