In 25 years, House of Tykes Preschool has watched an entire generation of kids grow up since opening their doors to Oakdale’s youngest community members and, according to owner Stacy Dunn, it’s been a heartwarming adventure.

When Dunn opened her doors in November 1995, she had modest hopes but she never imagined that the business would still be going strong all these years later.

“My original thoughts were to have a short-lived business that I would attend to until having children of my own; much to my surprise God had bigger plans that have been a great blessing to my life,” Dunn said. “I enjoy watching children grow socially, emotionally, physically and academically. Children put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart from their simplicity to enjoy life to their wonder to learn and explore.”

For Dunn, operating a thriving business in the town where she was born and raised, holds a special place in her heart and she’s thankful for the blessings of her small town.

“Many of our past and present families have strong roots to Oakdale as well,” Dunn shared. “It is a wonderful community to raise a family in. House of Tykes is also special to the community because it is centrally located in Oakdale and it offers a variety of programs to fit many needs from preschool readiness, full day childcare, a school-age program, kindergarten transportation and a hot lunch program.”

Dunn continued, saying, “It has been a wonderful privilege to see previous students grow up and have children of their own as well as an added honor when they choose to enroll their child in our preschool.”

House of Tykes has remained an active part of the community by participating in many time-honored activities such as the rodeo parade, the Turkey Trot parade, visiting the Oakdale library for story hour, downtown Christmas, inviting Cowboy Santa to visit the classrooms, and field trips to iconic places within the city.

“We’ve also enjoyed participating in the Angel Tree, the shoebox ministry offered by The River Church and a canned food donation to the Guardian House,” Dunn said. “Save Mart has donated a generous amount of pumpkins to us each year for our Harvest Party. Hudson Photography takes fall and spring pictures for us each year. House of Beef has donated many yummy treats as well as provided dinner for our monthly staff meeting. We have a great supportive community.”

Like many businesses hit hard by the pandemic, House of Tykes has weathered its share of challenges but they are committed to doing what they can to remain a reliable resource to the community they love.

Dunn admitted, “COVID has been a huge adjustment for the preschool industry, from health and safety concerns, regulation changes, to staffing changes. House of Tykes like many other preschools is doing our best to hang in there. We are very thankful for the PPP loan offer by Oak Valley Bank, the small business Oakdale Grant, and Cleaning Supplies Grant by SCOE (Stanislaus County Office of Education) that has made it possible for us to stay open for business.”

House of Tykes celebrated their 25th anniversary with the help of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce by offering a coffee/refreshment bar. City council members, past and present staff members of House of Tykes, members of the chamber, previous customers, students and parents came to support the popular preschool.

Dunn said, “We also celebrated with an anniversary cake for the children and current staff members. We enjoyed making it a kid friendly party in the classrooms.”

With times as they are, like many organizations and schools, House of Tykes accepts donations in many forms. They are currently running a See’s Candy fundraiser to help with general expenses and there’s always a need for disposable gloves, Kleenex, and baby wipes.

For more information on how to donate to House of Tykes or to participate in their fundraiser, call 209-848-8957.