Huge day care center closes

Hundreds of low-cost slots disappear as Peninsula Day Care owners retire

Three hundred low-cost child-care slots disappeared last week when the owners of the 37-year-old Peninsula Day Care Center closed their doors to retire.

Herman Shaw, a pastor who began offering day care in 1974, 20 years after he built the Christian Life Church at 525 San Antonio Road in Palo Alto, just across the Mountain View border, announced a year ago he would close the center this month. Shaw said he wanted to provide ample notice so parents could make other arrangements.

Many of the children who attended the center are from Mountain View.

Friday (June 10) was the final day of operation.

A liquidation sale of school and office supplies — as well as a church pulpit and miscellaneous restaurant items (Shaw also owns and operates Country Gourmet restaurant in Mountain View) — will be held June 18 and June 25, beginning at 8 a.m.

Plans for the 3.5-acre property remain unclear. The Palo Alto City Council last month rejected a bid by SummerHill Homes for a new, 23-home development.

With its fleet of yellow buses and wide frontage on San Antonio, the nonsectarian Peninsula Day Care Center was a familiar if somewhat anomalous enterprise — housed in what still appears to be a church (it is not) and charging far less than the going rate at other Palo Alto child care centers.

Preschool parents paid about $612 a month for 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. care, compared with more than $1,400 charged at Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC).

Parents of school-age children paid about $400 a month for before- and after-school care, which included bus transportation to and from elementary campuses in Mountain View, Palo Alto and Los Altos. On-site before- and after-school care at Palo Alto elementary schools runs about $670 a month.

"So many parents come in here and say, 'We didn't even check you out because your prices were so low we figured you had to be crummy,'" said Eddie Shaw, Herman Shaw's sister, a retired Los Altos elementary school teacher who has helped at the school in recent years.

Shaw spoke last week in an immaculate classroom neatly stacked with school supplies in preparation for a liquidation sale later this month.

With multiple acres, Peninsula Day Care Center has huge playgrounds and separate facilities for preschool and school-age programs.

Low tuition was possible, Shaw said, "because we own the property, and it's truly nonprofit."

The center catered to working parents, observing public-school minimum days and holiday schedules. Most children came from Mountain View, Palo Alto and Los Altos, in that order, with their parents holding jobs in Palo Alto, she said.

Clients ranged from about 10 percent who qualified for state child-care subsidies, to doctors and nurses at Stanford University Medical Center to corporate CEOs, she said.

Peninsula Day Care Center also ran a side business, offering bus transportation for thousands of field trips for public schools in Los Altos and Mountain View, she said.

In fact, the expense of complying with the latest bus-emissions regulations from the state was a factor in the decision to close the center, she said.

Shaw said she thinks most families have found alternative child care, many through the YMCA in Mountain View. Peninsula Day Care invited parents to a "day care fair" one Saturday in March, at which other centers set up recruiting tables.

"We just want people to know how much we've enjoyed serving the community," she said.

"We've been here so long we have children whose parents came here as children, and staff who were here as children and came back to work for us."

One bus will be donated to a staff member who's starting a center for abused women in Mexico, Shaw said, and 20 tables and 200 chairs were sold at low cost to a church that's building a school in Guatemala.

Herman Shaw, who personally opened the day care center at 6:30 a.m. each day, will spend more time at his restaurant, his sister said. Shaw's late wife, Mary Jo, had managed the preschool program. She died last year.

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3 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I don't have kids but i know this was a huge benefit to those who do. The Shaws gave so much of their lives to this wonderul benefit. Hope we see someone take over or at least more slots opened elsewhere

3 people like this
Posted by Andrei
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm

The Shaws are great people. My wife went here as a child, as did our daughter as soon as she could. We were looking forward to her staying there for many year, but had to find an alternative. One of the sadest things about all of this, is the states emission requirements for diesel & heavy duty vehicles (have to outright replace vehicle or engine with retrofits)was revoked because it came to light that the epa falsified data to push their agenda through. So another government agency lies about data to get their agenda, has now out so many teachers and staff out of work and left a ton of us parents scrambling to find alternate car for double the price!!

3 people like this
Posted by Christina
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jun 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm

PDCC was such a great place. We are so sad to see them go. Thank you for the last couple of years!

3 people like this
Posted by Melanee N
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

As a single parent, my heart and soul is eternally grateful to PDCC for the seven wonderful years my daughter was welcomed and cared for. The Shaw’s, along with their wonderful staff, provided my daughter with stability, a foundation of friends and leaders built on love, high standards and morals that teach our children the fundamentals of becoming good citizens. Thank you PDCC. You were a very important part of our lives and you will be sorely missed in this community!

3 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm

PDCC was a wonderful place with a warm and caring staff. Pastor Shaw never failed to greet me with some sort of witty/funny comment every evening when I was picking up my kids. I am so grateful for the wonderful care they provided for my kids. It's sad to see them go and a huge loss for our community.

3 people like this
Posted by Porter
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm

PDCC was such a gem for Mtn. View to have. My husband went there 30 years ago and my 2 kids attended the facility for almost 10 years. They had the most caring and wonderful staff. It is so sad to see it close. I really hope the staff there will find other jobs and get the same satisfaction from their new employer as they did from PDCC. Pastor Shaw is a saint and a fixture in Mtn. View and Los Altos. I say make him mayor for a month!! :)

3 people like this
Posted by Rebecca
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I was lucky enough to attend in the early 80s. I will miss PDCC including the buses. A beloved community fixture indeed.

3 people like this
Posted by Proud Sierra Club Memeber
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I don't like this kind of reporting and writing:
"In fact, the expense of complying with the latest bus-emissions regulations from the state was a factor in the decision to close the center, she said."
It's anit-environment and furthermore people having children when there are so many in the world that need attention is wrong.

Go vegan and free trade!

3 people like this
Posted by Brent H.
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Wow, what a huge loss for families, kids and working parents. Pastor Shaw is a gem of a human being. My two oldest kids "graduated" from PDCC 2 and 3 years ago respectively after spending 5-6 years there. The place was a godsend and it saddens me that the alternatives are so expensive but hopefully as caring and nurturing. I look forward to seeing Pastor Shaw at his restaurant!

3 people like this
Posted by NeHi
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm

It is nice to see an article that generates so many positive comments. It is sad that someone could not have picked up where they left off.

3 people like this
Posted by GimmeABreak
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:38 pm

It's unfortunate that your passion for environmental causes biases how you read and interpret the news. There is nothing wrong with the reporting of facts. If you don't like that the Shaw's factored the cost of replacing their fleet of buses into their decision, tough. They offered an invaluable service to many area families and poured their lives into it. If you don't like that, stop reading the NEWS.

3 people like this
Posted by Steve Austin Powers
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 20, 2011 at 9:35 am

So much for affordable child care. They were the cheapest and best run daycare facility around. Too bad they are closing.

Good luck to all the ladies that have worked there for years and years.
Thanks for taking care of my children.

3 people like this
Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Amazing story and sad to hear how excessive govt regulations played a part in their decision to close. Another reason California is declining in quality of life. .

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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