About Us

Our mission is to provide high quality learning experiences and foster strong families. Learn more about us below!

Community Extension Programs, Inc. (CEP) is a non-profit 501 ( C ) (3) corporation that started in 1970. We offer before and after school care, summer, intersession and community education programs at nine school age program sites and two Early Learning Centers. We are licensed by the Arizona Department of Health and Services (DHS) and we accept clients who are accpeted by the Department of Economic Security (DES).

Rated for Favorite After-school Program, Best Daycare, and Childcare of 2015!

Thank you to the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson.com for this recognition.


I. Our mission is to provide high quality learning experiences and foster strong families.


CEP has a long history of commitment to Amphitheater School District and values this relationship to the extent that they receive priority in our service mission.


CEP values collaboration and will seek partnerships with community projects that support our mission of excellence in community education and access to families.

Best-Practice Programs and Services

CEP will develop and deliver programs and services that educate, enrich and embody best practice.

Increased Convenience and Reduced Cost

CEP prioritizes access to programs by reducing barriers of cost and location, as much as possible, to families and children.

CEP Guiding Principles and Philosophy

  • We believe that families and the teaching staff are partners in the care and education of their children.
  • We believe that all children are able, competent learners and that their social and emotional health and development are directly related to their cognitive growth and development.
  • We believe that the learning environment should be rich with possibilities for exploration, inquiry and problem solving in all domains.
  • We believe that the children’s programs should be guided by developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant practices, and that research and established best practices should inform our curricula.
  • We believe that teaching staff have a special responsibility to observe, interpret and document children’s interests, their questions and their learning, and to incorporate this in their planning.
  • We believe that in order to maintain program excellence, we must support opportunities for continuing education for our teaching staff in the field of early childhood education, recreation and school-age programming.


II. We believe in Optimal Child Development



We believe that every child deserves a fair chance at success in school and in life. Focusing on a child’s education and development from birth to age 8 is the most effective way to help children reach their full potential now and in the future.
Research shows that children need to be prepared for educational success by third grade in order to succeed in school, work and life. That preparation relates to every aspect of a child’s development from birth to age 8 and everywhere a child learns – at home, in child care settings, in preschool and in kindergarten through third grade.
The active engagement and empowerment of families also play critical roles in a child’s education and a family’s ability to engage fully depends to a great degree on whether its basic needs – for food, employment, a path to economic security – have been met. To address the needs of children, we must address the needs of parents and children together.

Healthy Children

We look at health and well-being in the context of community and across the full range of child development. We emphasize the prenatal months to age 8 as the foundation for all health development.
All children need a healthy start, good nutrition, physical activity and accessible health care in order to thrive in school, work and life. Yet many children, especially those in our most vulnerable communities, face disproportionately high barriers to acquiring these
Food plays a vital role in our overall health. Yet too many communities lack access to healthy, affordable, fresh and locally and sustainably grown food. Equally important is some communities’ lack of safe places for children to play outdoors.

Strong Families

The economic security, ability to access employment, and access to support systems and resources, are crucial to creating the optimal conditions through which children can develop, learn and grow.
Communities are growing and becoming increasingly diverse ethnically and by other demographic measures. That very diversity makes communities and their residents both the best source of wisdom and solutions and rich veins of knowledge, experience and potential solutions for other communities.
Intergenerational cycles of poverty can be most effectively broken by strengthening two generations – both children and their parents – simultaneously. Children are able to reach their full potential only when all aspects of their development – intellectual, emotional and physical – are fully supported.   And only when families have enough income, benefits and supports and when families become free of the profound anxiety that comes with economic and employment insecurity, will parents feel fully empowered and equipped to provide that support.

Community, Civic Engagement, and Equity

We believe that equity is essential if we are going to accomplish our mission to support children and families in creating and strengthening the conditions in which vulnerable children succeed. We actively support efforts to dismantle structural inequities that limit opportunities and hold some children back.

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