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The Hood Magazine

Sponsored Feature: Apple Tree

Jun 28, 2021 ● By The Hood Magazine
The year is 1981. One woman starts with an idea, a spark, and a passion. Her name is Dee Stewart, and her passion is children. She looks around and sees a need—a need for the education of young children. Learning, after all, begins early in life and Dee believed she could offer that learning. Just as a tree can come from a simple seed, Apple Tree Children’s Center grew from an idea that Dee planted and nurtured.

 Since the first center was established in 1986, Apple Tree Children’s Center has been a trusted name in Sioux Falls for child care and early education. Since then, the number of centers has grown; currently, there are four locations in Sioux Falls. Apple Tree continues to strive to be a well-rounded academic and socially conscious learning environment.

Over the years, faces may change, but the foundation remains the same. The Stewart family also continues to be involved in the day-to-day operations, and Dee, of course, keeps a watchful eye. The mission statement of Apple Tree reads: “The mission of Apple Tree Learning Center is to provide exceptional care, nurture and age appropriate learning opportunities in the context of a Christ centered worldview.

This mission is accomplished through the dedicated effort of management and staff whose concern is for the welfare of the children entrusted to their care.” Dee understood the important aspects of child care and early childhood education. For her, it wasn’t just care; it was making the care exceptional. It was going above and beyond what was expected. Faith was also an important part of building Apple Tree.

“A Christ centered worldview” means that at the core of Apple Tree is Christ and faith. Not faith that is force-fed, but that it is a natural and easy part of each day. Faith that reminds us that we have someone to guide the steps in our journey through life. As providers, we witness the examples that Dee set. The women and men who work for Apple Tree have a solid reminder that with love and perseverance, one can accomplish great things and make a difference in a child’s life. After all, that is what we do: we make a difference.

Our job is to shape, mold, encourage, and above all, teach. Child care may not be seen as a glamorous profession, but we believe that helping to create the base of a child’s life is vitally important, and we could never imagine doing anything else. Many great people have paved the way for important things and made an impact on our lives. We thank Dee for acting on her vision and giving us a chance to make our own differences in the small lives at Apple Tree Children’s Center.