• MECC 41st Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser

    is May 15, 2020, 5:00 to 9:00

    The event starts in:

  • Fast Facts about Martinez Early Childhood Center

    • Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
    • Low teacher to child ratios
    • College educated teachers
    • Play-based curriculum
    • Healthy meals and snacks provided and prepared on-site
    • Affordable tuition (sliding fee based on family size and income)
    • Affiliated with CA Department of Education and partner with Head Start
    • Open year round, Monday through Friday from 7:00am – 5:30pm
    • Licensed by the Department of Social Services
    • Multilingual teaching staff
  • The Martinez Early Childhood Center, Inc. is a private, non-profit corporation, operating at 615 Arch Street, Martinez, California. The agency has a 501(c)(3)status and has been in the business of quality care and education services since 1974.

    The majority of our operating funds are provided through a contract with the California Department of Education to provide care and education to children 1 year to 5 years old from low-income families, so that parents can work, look for work, or receive vocational training that will lead to employment. We also receive funds through our partnership with the Federal Head Start program and the Federal Child Care Food Program. Finally, a small portion of our funds are provided by families who pay full tuition.

    MECC has enjoyed a long history of community support beginning with two years of local fundraising efforts and the procurement of three foundation grants that lead to the purchase of our 2½ acre site in 1976. In 1981, a third building was erected to house our Toddler Program. Numerous renovations and up-grades have been made possible over the years due to federal, state, and local grants, generous donations from community members, and annual fundraising efforts. Each year the Parent Advisory Committee hosts a Winetasting Event to raise funds that benefit the children and families at MECC. The community artists, merchants, and citizens are very generous with donations for our silent auction, raffle prizes and door prizes for this event. Local wineries and wine makers donate their fine wines, and the addition of local musicians and an abundance of delicious appetizers makes for a very enjoyable evening for the community, with proceeds directly benefitting the children’s program.

    We have had the pleasure of having local artists come into our classrooms and work directly with the children and teachers on a variety of projects. We are very fortunate to have the support of the Martinez Downtown Retailers Focus Group. They very generously donate a portion of their proceeds during downtown events; raising funds that help us keep our program high quality for children and families in the community.

    The Martinez Early Childhood Center opened May 6, 1974. We started with six children and grew to a class of thirty five preschool children in just two months. The Center opened with funds from Contra Costa County and soon after, the funding was provided by the California Department of Education.

    We started a pilot program for school age children in response to the needs of the community. We began with fifteen students and quickly expanded to sixty-five children that same year.

    In December of 1976, we opened our infant-toddler center. We received the funding to open the new center because of our growth record and the high quality of care and education we provide in our programs.

    By 1976 we raised the funds to purchase our 2½ acre site from the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Then in 1981 we had raised the funds to build a facility for the Infant-Toddler program. The fundraising success was due to the strong community support and hard work of the parents in the program.

    Other notable changes and points of history include:

    • Purchase of school bus for field trips in the community
    • Accreditation with National Association for the Education of Young Children
    • Facility renovation to meet standards
    • Phasing out after school program and expanding preschool classrooms
    • New bridge construction after flood/storm
    • Partnership with Federal Head Start Program
  • The Martinez Early Childhood Center (MECC) is a private, non-profit program dedicated to offering high quality Toddler and Preschool Education and full time care for children 1 to 5 years old.

    Spread over 2 ½ acres and nestled between the Alhambra Creek and the beautiful, rolling hills of Martinez, our school is conveniently located within 5 minutes of the major highways.

    Taking advantage of this rich, natural setting, children have a unique opportunity to experience this outdoor classroom of local, abundant wildlife. Deer, squirrel, turtles, families of ducks, wild turkeys, and the occasional otter and beaver are just some of the animals that make this area their home.

    • Children always come first; before planned curriculum, before rules, and before adult convenience.
    • The best learning happens in relationships that are characterized by personal respect and caring responsiveness.
    • Children learn best in environments which motivate them to want to learn.
    • Curriculum is everything that happens to the child while he/she is at the center and is generated from the teachers, environment, and other children.

    We use the Creative Curriculum (PDF) as a guide to implementing developmentally appropriate practice in all of our classrooms. The Creative Curriculum incorporates research from major child development theorists about how children learn and develop. The Creative Curriculum teacher creates an atmosphere in which children are safe, feel emotionally secure, and have a sense of belonging as they develop and learn through meaningful play.

    Children are encouraged to be active participants in their own learning. Allowing the curriculum to emerge from the students’ interests, teachers use a project-based approach when planning developmentally appropriate experiences that build upon children’s skills.

    We recognize the importance of keeping families informed and involved in the children’s program. Teaching staff maintain communication with families regarding children’s daily experiences and developmental progress in the program through written notes, newsletters, in-person, as well as telephone conversations, and email. Families are invited to formal parent-teacher conferences at least twice during the year. The teaching staff will share your child’s portfolio of work samples, anecdotal notes, photographs, and developmental assessments. We use the Desired Results Developmental Profile, the California Preschool Learning Foundations, and the California Preschool Curriculum Framework as tools to ensure we are providing the best possible program for your child’s continued growth and development.

  • MECC is always proud to be involved with community activities as these videos show. MECC kids love to participate!

  • "The Ride Along" takes us on a short journey with the MECC school bus at the annual Martinez 4th of July Celebration.
  • "Seeking Santa" takes place at the Annual Children's Light Parade in Martinez, CA. MECC is part of this every year.
  • Events

    MECC 41st Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser

    On Friday, May 15th, from 5pm to 9pm, Martinez Early Childhood Center (MECC) will celebrate its 41st Annual Wine Tasting event! The most anticipated wine event each year! Tickets are only $50 in advance, $55 at the event door.

    Your ticket includes 4 hours (5-9) of:

    • Local vintner wine tasting
    • Award winning BBQ & gourmet bites
    • Popular local bands and musicians 
    • Beer Tasting Raffle
    • ‘Express Your Selfie’ Photobooth
    • Complimentary collectors wine glass
    • Over 100 silent auction and raffle prizes donated by local artists, merchants, and members of the community to bid on
    LOCATION: Pleasant Hill Community Center – 320 Civic Dr, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
    Buy Tickets

    MECC has been providing education & care since 1974
    The funds received go to the education, well-being, and care of the children at MECC
  • Meet Our Staff

    With education and experience in early childhood care
  • Cassandra Campbell

    Title: Executive Director
    Oversees the overall supervision and management of the center.

    Bio: Cassandra Campbell started at MECC in 1980 as a lead teacher, then Program Coordinator, and became Executive Director in 2009. She holds an AA,in Early Childhood Education, BA in Human Development and an MA in Education with an emphasis in Child Development. Cassandra has a Program Director Permit from California Department of Education.

    Lisa Maloney

    Title: Eligibility/Enrollment Specialist
    Responsible for determining each family’s on-going eligibility and need for services and provides administrative support to the Executive Director.

    Bio: Lisa Maloney has been at MECC since 2003. She has detailed knowledge of California Department of Education Regulations regarding Eligibility and Need for subsidized services. 

    Charmaine Flores

    Title: Site Supervisor
    Responsible for

    Bio: Charmaine Flores joined MECC in August of 2012 after spending a semester as an intern through Los Medanos College. Charmaine has an AA degree in Child Development, a secondary AA in Liberal Arts: Behavioral Sciences, and a BA in Early Childhood Education. Charmaine also has a Site Supervisor Permit from California Department of Education.

  • Catherine Roof

    Title: Chief Financial Officer
    Responsible for fiscal operations and provides administrative support to the Executive Director.

    Bio: J. Catherine Roof started at MECC in 1974 and became the Executive Director soon after. She has recently taken a part time position as Chief Financial officer as she prepares for retirement. Cathy has a BA in Liberal Studies and an MA in Education Administration.

    Jillian Campbell

    Title: Education Coordinator

    Bio: Jillian Campbell has been with MECC since 2008. She has an AA degree and holds a Master Teacher Permit from California Department of Education.

    Board of Directors

    The Board of Directors sets center policy.

    Marshall Cochrane President
    Jerry Kramer Vice President
    Bambi Barker Treasurer
    Lynda Kilday Secretary
    Gay Gerlack Officer
    Katie Cisco Parent Liaison
  • Teaching Staff

    All of our teachers are experienced Early Childhood Educators who possess California State Child Development Teacher Permits. Our teachers participate in a continuous program of professional development through college courses, workshops, in-services and professional organizations. All of our staff is college educated and many hold degrees in Early Childhood Education.

    For the safety of your child, MECC follows the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing regulations that require staff members to complete a background screening. All staff members are required to obtain health screening and T.B. Test clearance.

    We pride ourselves in maintaining low teacher/child ratios, which allow more opportunities to provide individual attention to each child.

  • Sol Shimmel

    Title: Program Coordinator

    Bio: Sol Shimmel has been with MECC since 1992. She has a BA degree and Site Supervisor Permit from the California Department of Education.

    Sol participates as a California Mentor Teacher through Los Medanos College.

    Sussan Mokhtarzada

    Title: Lead Teacher

    Bio: Susan Mokhtarzada has been with MECC since 2008. She holds a Master’s Degree and Master Teacher Permit. Sussan speaks English, Farsi, and French.

    Lisa Forest

    Title: Teacher

    Bio: Lisa Forest has been with MECC since 2007. Lisa has many years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education and has completed the core college courses in Child Development.

    Marina Chavez

    Title: Teacher 

    Bio: Marina Chavez has been with MECC since 2014. Marina has completed the core college units in Early Childhood Education at Brandman University. Marina is eligible and has applied for her Associate Teaching Permit from California Department of Education.

    Michelle Ferguson

    Title: Lead Teacher

    Bio: Michelle Ferguson has been with MECC since 2000. Michelle is working toward her AA degree and is scheduled to graduate in 2018. She holds a Site Supervisor Teaching Permit from the California Department of Education.

    Anita Ruffner

    Title: Teacher

    Bio: Anita Ruffner has been with MECC since 2017. Anita has a Teaching Permit from California Department of Education and has many years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education.

  • Delia Castro

    Title: Lead Teacher

    Bio: Delia Castro came to MECC in 2007. She has over 30 years experience teaching preschool. Delia has a Master Teacher Permit from the California Department of Education. Delia speaks both Spanish and English.

    Alma Bennett

    Title: Lead Teacher

    Bio: Alma Bennett has been with MECC since 2000. She has a BA degree and a Site Supervisor Permit from California Department of Education. Alma speaks both Spanish and English.

    Sumarlee Srisuan

    Title: Lead Teacher

    Bio: Sumarlee Srisuan has been with MECC since 2002. She holds a Site Supervisor Permit from the California Department of Education. Sumarlee speaks English and Thai.

    Ana Gudino

    Title: Teacher

    Bio: Ana Gudino has been with MECC since 2015. Ana has completed the core courses in Early Childhood Education and is continuing her education. Ana holds an Associate Teacher Permit from California Department of Education. Ana speaks English and Spanish.

    Janine (Gigi) Ryden

    Title: Teacher

    Bio: Janine (Gigi) Ryden  has been with MECC since 2018. Gigi is working towards earning units in Early Childhood Education and earning a permit from the California Department of Education. Gigi is a new grandma and has an immense love and appreciation for young children.

    Holly Chavez

    Title: Nutritionist/Chef
    Responsible for food purchase, preparation of lunch time meals, and responsible for maintaining the Federal Food Program standards.

    Bio: Holly Chavez has been with MECC since 2006. She holds a Teacher Permit. Holly became our Chef in 2010 and does an excellent job. She works in the classroom when needed.

  • Contact Us

    • Postal Address

      Martinez Early Childhood Center
      615 Arch Street
      Martinez, CA 94553

    • Phone & E-mail

      Phone: 925-229-2000
      Fax: 925-229-2088

    • Business Hours

      Open year round
      Monday – Friday
      7.00 am – 5.30 pm
      Closed weekends