Ray Ellison Family Center

Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Ray Ellison Family Center (REFC) at Palo Alto College is licensed to provide daily services to 66 children between the ages of 18 months to 5 years old. The REFC provides a high quality early childhood program that supports the growth, development, and education of children and their families while creating a model of quality early childhood education and a center for training early childhood professionals within the broader San Antonio community.  At the Ray Ellison Family Center, we believe:
  • Children learn through play.
  • Play is the most fundamental and valuable task/gift that can be given to children.
  • Childhood is an extremely precious time in the development of each individual which needs to be honored and protected.
  • Each child is worthy of respect because of the unique talents and skills each one possesses.

Children develop into productive members of society when they are given the independence to make safe choices and supportive opportunities to realize their dreams. They are our most precious and important resource, worthy of respect, and to be valued for their individual uniqueness.

Children are natural learners. When placed in a stimulating, interactive environment, each child's potential can be fully realized. We believe children are curious, open-minded, honest, and accepting. Take the time to observe them and listen to their ideas and thoughts will help staff fulfill each child's individual needs.

Parents are the most important adults in a child's life. We want to develop a respectful partnership between teachers and parents; we assist parents, and ultimately the children, when we provide support, encouragement, and education for parents.

Frequently Asked Questions 


The Ray Ellison Family Center follows the calendar of Palo Alto College. In addition, the Ray Ellison Family Center schedules certain days as closed for staff development. Parents will be notified well in advance of closures.


The curriculum emphasizes developmentally appropriate play experiences and is designed to promote the general well-being of the whole child by:

  • Developing safe and healthy habits in young children with an emphasis on proper hygiene, sound nutrition, exercise and physical care.
  • Fostering positive self-esteem.
  • Providing opportunities for creative expression.
  • Supporting the development of social skills such as sharing, cooperation, generosity and empathy.
  • Stimulating cognitive problem-solving skills with an emphasis on the concepts of cause and effect, classification, serialization, space, time, numbers, shape, and colors.
  • Strengthening communication skills necessary for listening, reading, writing, and speaking by providing an environment rich in the practical uses of words.
  • Enhancing fine motor and gross motor skills
  • Practicing decision making by selecting activities from a variety of learning centers (i.e. language, sensory, science, blocks, manipulatives).

For the specific objectives addressed at each age level, consult with your child's teacher. Developmentally appropriate activities are planned and implemented in each group. The daily schedules provide for a balance between child-directed and teacher-directed activities, quiet and active time, as well as inside and outside play. Children have daily opportunities to read books, use a variety of art media, explore math and science materials, experience music, and work alone or together with friends.


The REFC prepares and provides breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack for all the children. Meals are served family style (with teachers and children sitting at the table together) encouraging children's social and language development as well as self-help skills. Children are encouraged to taste all foods served but are not required to eat any particular food item.

The foods children eat influence their growth and development, capacity to learn, and overall behavior. As participants in the Special Nutrition Program, menus are nutritionally balanced according to the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program Guidelines and the TDFPS Minimum Standards for Child Care Centers.

A morning meal is served between 8:45 and 9:30 a.m. We begin serving lunch at 11:30 a.m. with the lunch count being based on the number of children at the REFC by 9:15 a.m. An afternoon snack is also served at 2:30 p.m., after nap time. If a child has any food allergies, the school must be notified in writing by the child's physician including the symptoms resulting from the allergy, the steps to take in case of a reaction and specific food substitutions and precautions to be taken. No food, gum, drinks, or candy will be allowed from home.

Copies of the menu are posted at each classroom and can be requested from the Office. Variations to menus are developed individually for the purpose of meeting children's ethnic, religious, or dietary restrictions/preferences.

Tuition and Fees

Two different schedules are available to meet students' needs as indicated below

Schedules and Fees*


Rates vary depending on classification status. There is a $40 non-refundable registration fee pers semester. Please contact REFC for further information.

Ages Schedule Student Weekly Tuition Community Member Weekly Tuition
Toddlers(18 months to 3.4 years)   M-F  $163  $191
 M-TH  $130.40  $152.80
 Preschool (3.5 to 5 years)  M-F   $160  $186
 M-TH  $128  $148.80

Priority for enrollment is given to Palo Alto College students, but availability is open to the community as space permits. Familites on CCDS are welcome.

Contact Information

Ray Ellison Family Center (REFC)



Hours of Operation:
7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.




Rosanna Padron
Interim Coordinator of the Ray Ellison Family Center

Desiree Solis
Administrative Services Specialist

Sheila Harris
Child Development Specialist

Heidi Sauceda
Child Development Specialist

Elida De Leon
Child Development Specialist 

Shannon Meyer
Assistant Child Development Specialist

Stephanie Gutierrez
Assistant Child Development Specialist

Alma Segovia