Our goal is to provide quality early education and child care services to GRIC enrolled members, employees, and its entities.
The Center is an entity of Gila River Indian Community and operates as a sub department of the Tribal Education Department. The Center’s objective is to provide quality child care and early educational services to the Community. The Early Education/Child care Center serves children ages 6 weeks- 5 years old, while parents/guardians are working, in training or pursuing their education.


We believe that children learn through exploring, interacting, and experiencing the world around them. We assist children in this process of learning, by providing indoor/outdoor environments that meet the needs of the whole child socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively. We believe that children’s activities should be age and developmentally appropriate and literacy-based environments are an important aspect of school readiness. We know that parents are their children’s first teachers and influence their development; therefore we will work towards building partnerships and encourage parents to participate in their child’s early education by involving them in center activities and reinforcement of skills at home. We believe that culture and language are an important part of a child’s life and seek to utilize parents, classroom staff, elders and community cultural resources, in providing a multi-cultural rich environment. We understand how important continued educational development is, and will provide the opportunity for professional development and in-service training for staff working at the center.

Child Care Assistance

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)

A Federal program that assists low-income families in obtaining child care so they can work, attend training or education. The program also improves the quality of child care, and promotes coordination among early childhood development and afterschool programs.

First Things First Quality First Child Care Scholarships

Quality First scholarships help low-income families afford quality early care and education for their young children. Funded by First Things First, a limited number of these scholarships are available for children birth through age 5 that attend the GRIC Early Education/Child Care Center located in Sacaton. Programs distribute available scholarships to eligible families on a first-come, first-serve basis. Scholarships are tied to family income level and are available for parents who may be working, looking for work or improving their work skills through training or education.
If you are interested in receiving child care services and would like to begin the enrollment process, please visit our GRIC Early Education/Child Care Center to get the necessary enrollment information.

Child care providers

Choose from a variety of child care categories including center-based care, group home, family child care and in-home care. Providers are available on and off reservation to meet your child care needs. By providing a range of services the parents have the ability to choose a childcare provider that best fit their needs.

Are you ready to enroll?

If you are interested in receiving child care services and would like to begin the enrollment process, please visit our GRIC Early Education/Child Care Center at 280 S. Ocotillo Road, Sacaton, Arizona, 85283 to get the necessary enrollment information or complete the Initial Contact Form


Melissa Madrid, EECCS Manager
Phone: (520) 562-3640
Cell Phone: (520) 610-1819
Email: Melissa.Madrid@gric.nsn.us

Carrie Stansberry, EECCS Assistant Manager
Phone: (520) 562-3640
Email: Carrie.Stansberry2@gric.nsn.us

Vacant, Compliance monitor

Alyssa Lopez, Family Service Advocate
Phone: (520) 562-3640
Email: Alyssa.Lopez@gric.nsn.us

Carla Coochyouma, Administrative Assistant
Phone: (520) 562-3640
Email: Carla.Coochyouma@gric.nsn.us

Ame Edwards, Mentor Teacher
Phone: (520) 562-3640
Email: Ame.Edwards@gric.nsn.us

Carolina Kelley, Head Start/Child Care Partnership Coordinator
Phone: (520) 562-3640
Email: Carolina.Kelley@gric.nsn.us

Patrice Thomas, Secretary I
Phone: (520) 562-3640
Email: Patrice.Thomas.EECC@gric.nsn.us

Catherine Zepeda, Early Education Child Care Partnership Family Advocate
Phone: (520) 562-3640
Email: Catherine.Zepeda2@gric.nsn.us


Special Education Online Resources

- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997
- Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- Parental Rights/Procedural Safeguards
- No Child Left Behind
- Raising Special Kids
- Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP)
- Teacher Certification Special Education