We view every child as an individual with needs that can change daily. Their young bodies and brains are quickly developing during the preschool years. So, one minute’s fun can quickly turn into a bandaid and TLC-needed moment, and one day’s difficulty learning a new concept can turn into another day’s proud success. Whether your child enters our doors on their best day or needing a little more patience and understanding, we’re here to support every child—every day. 

A Community Education Tradition Since 1991

About Walden Lake Early Learning Center

Though days may change, children need constants. They need to know their caregivers believe in their best selves. They also require routines and predictability that give them the physical and emotional security to pursue their potential.

We’re here to offer parents an extension of your family’s care. As you begin a busy workday or run your errands, the staff at Walden Lake Early Learning Center wants you to experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing your child is in the best hands.

Believing in every child—every day. It’s not just a slogan: It’s our promise to each child and family we serve. 

A private preschool setting where we’re partners together - We’d invite you to experience our difference!

As parents, you are your child’s first (and best) teacher. Our programs and teachers are here to wrap around the goals you have for them and offer support through every part of their academic and social-emotional growth journey. A family-centered early education right in your community makes our school pretty special!

Beyond our program’s daily activities, our children and families enjoy many extra seasonal and special activities, such as:
  • Our annual Fall Festival
  • Spirit week
  • Fall and spring photos 
  • In-house “field trips” such as community helper visits and puppet plays
  • Thematic units to bring learning to life
  • Outdoor green spaces for running, climbing, and playing
  • Holiday events
  • VPK graduation and celebration
  • Summer field trips for our elementary-aged campers

Meet the Leadership Team at FELP

Mary Lou Hewett, Owner

A resident of Plant City since the age of five, she recalls being the girl who always played school. Following her love for learning and seeing a vision for working with children, Mary Lou obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She was also awarded endorsements for K-12 Principalship, Exceptional Student Education (ESE), and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

A mom of three adult children and grandmother to one adorable grandson, Mary Lou hopes to one day travel to Maine in the fall and take an Alaskan Cruise. Until then, she loves continuing her career in education leadership by growing quality private preschool options with her two schools-FishHawk Early Learning Preschool and Walden Lake Early Learning Center.

“I love watching children grow and develop intellectually, emotionally, and socially. I also love mentoring adults in education.”

“Having students that we had years ago bring THEIR children to us to love is really special!”

Annisa Peterson, Director

Flexible and dependable, Annisa’s role as director spans administration of office tasks, communications between school and parents, staff development, and curriculum oversight.

Annisa has been strongly influenced by her parent’s work ethic and draws inspiration from their model to work hard for the school. She loves seeing the smiles on the students when they run to their teachers each morning and is passionate about continuing to help grow the school as an excellent early education choice.

Outside of work, Annisa enjoys time with her husband, kids, and grandkids. While she’d love to someday experience the city of Paris, spending time with her family and friends at theme park is always a good time!

After serving 30 years in education that spanned from being a teacher to ending her tenure in Hillsborough County as a principal, Mary Lou Hewett decided to create an impact on local preschool education. 
A Plant City native, WLELC director Annisa Peterson, has spent over two decades invested into the school’s children and families. Since the age of 11, when she began babysitting, she knew she was meant to invest in the lives of young people.

We’d love to welcome your family into
Walden Lake Early Learning Center!

If you’re ready to see your child’s confidence soar and their learning potential engaged, we’d love to invite you to tour our school, ask questions, and find your place with our Walden Lake family!

Our highly-qualified and nurturing staff make Walden Lake Early Learning Center a special place for children to take their first steps in education.

COPYRIGHT 2023 Walden Lake Early Learning Center