Close to Home

Happy children make happy families.

Awards & Accolades


Close to Home Childcare Center and Preschool is accredited and rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau of Northwest Ohio that covers 24 counties and over 1.5 million consumers. Close to Home has been nominated 3 years in a row for the Torch Award and won it in 2016. The Torch Award recognizes companies who display an outstanding level of ethics and integrity in all their business dealings. Companies nominated and awarded are noted for generating a high level of trust among their employees, customers and local communities.


We proudly contribute to many area advisory boards, including: Four County Career Center Early Childhood Education program, Northwest State Community College Early Childhood program. We also provides tours, practicums, observations and internships to Defiance College, Northwest State Community College, Bowling Green State University, and several other organizations.


Close to Home Childcare Center is a Step Up To Quality 3-Star Rated facility administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. This means our facility meets quality program standards that exceed licensing health and safety regulations.

Our Philosophy

Happy children make happy families.

Our philosophy at Close to Home Childcare Center is to provide a safe, fun and engaging learning environment. We are an education focused childcare center that assist children in our care to be engaged learners. 

Our History

Close to Home Childcare was founded in Defiance, Ohio in 2004 and are currently located at 150 Grand Avenue across from Defiance College. We serve families by getting the pleasure to team with them to care for their children when they are working or attending school. We know that each child is unique, and we take that approach in our education and care of the children.

Our dedicated, certified, and trained teachers foster a love of learning and exploring in every child. We have served thousands of families over the years and they continually recommend us to their extended families and friends. 

Choosing a Center

Selecting a Childcare Center or Daycare Center is not easy, yet one of the most important decisions you will ever make for your child(ren). Just know the rewards for your effort will pay off! Selecting a safe and nurturing environment is critical, but don’t forget the curriculum. Research shows that most of a child’s learning starts in infancy and the early years so finding a “high-quality” program is important to ensure your child is beyond kindergarten ready. Look to see if the center is EXCEEDING the standards by the State of Ohio or just meeting the standards.

    Top 5 Things to Evaluate:

    1. Are children engaged in learning and what curriculum, if any, do they use and why is it the best? Has this curriculum ever been evaluated?
    2. Do they have a strong family partnership? Do they have testimonials from families?
    3. Is the focus on the whole child (emotional, intellectual, social and physical).
    4. What are the safety standards of the building – are they sharing the space with other people or groups. This is very common, so find out the policies they administer during the day to protect your child. What’s the plan if there’s an emergency in the building? Is the place so large you child could be easily forgotten? Do they have closed-circuit cameras that are being monitored by childcare staff.
    5. Look at the classroom/playground – do they have games, toys and how do they incorporate “Engaged Learning”. In other words, are the children actively participating through play and having new experiences that engages and excites them to want to learn more?

    The final question to ask is: While you’re at work or school, will you feel at ease knowing your child is in this setting?

    Our Exceptional Educators

    Close to Home Childcare Center and Preschool is one of the premier childcare centers in Northwest Ohio for over 15 years, due in part to their amazing staff. The combined staff at Close to Home Childcare Center and Preschool has over 150 years of experience in early childhood care and education and are highly trained, talented and certified. Equally importantly, they are passionate about building a strong foundation so your child can achieve a bright future.

    Our educators undergo constant career development and certifications so they can provide the most advanced educational experience to every child entrusted in their care.

    Our teachers have a strong sense of community and parents love the engaging and innovative programs that change daily, so your child becomes an engaged learner.

    Amanda, Director

    Hello families,
    I am Amanda Zachrich the owner of CLOSE TO HOME CHILDCARE Center and Preschool. I also own Here We Grow/Amanda’s Daycare. My passion has always been working with children and families. I hold a Child Development Associates Degree, Ohio Promise Professional Childhood Inclusion Credential, School-age endorsement, and over 15 years of experience working with children. I was the speaker for the childcare Missions Moments and continue to advocate what’s best for children and their families. I am a hands-on owner and work daily in both my centers as I feel open communication is best for families. I take great pride in my work and can truly say I love my career.

    Lori Olinghouse, Administrator

    Lori is one of our administrators and has been with Close to Home for nine years and has more than thirty years’ experience working with children including Youth for Christ, children’s ministries, and nineteen years as a swim coach for the YMCA. Lori has been married thirty-eight years, is a mother of four and has six grandchildren. Her goal in life is to impact the lives of those around her for the better and has a passion for education.

    Lauren Combs, Toddler Teacher

    Lauren is one of our toddler teachers and been with Close to Home for 9 years. She also has 4 years of experience working with and assisting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Lauren has a passion for helping children develop and grow in confidence and kindness. Outside of work, she enjoys attending baseball games and taking trips with her husband and their two sons.

    Allison Willitzer, Toddler Teacher

    Allison has been with Close to Home for 6 years in the toddler classroom.  She earned her Associate Degree from Northwest State in Pre-Kindergarten Education.  She was raised as an Ayersville Pilot but as Close to Home moved to Defiance, she followed.  Allison enjoys reading, watching TV/movies, and being with my family which includes my mom, Terri, and my three sisters- Emily, Amanda, and Abby.  In her spare time she enjoys rooting for her favorite football team the Jacksonville Jaguars or her favorite hockey team the Tampa Bay Lightning.  

    Barbie Rhamy, Preschool Teacher

    Barbie has been teaching preschool for 30 years and has been with Close to Home for over 10 years, and obviously loves her job! She attended the University of Toledo and Cincinnati and studied Early Education. She has been married for 22 years and has a daughter in college and a son who is a senior in high school. Barbie enjoys spending time with her family and three dogs and is proud to announce she has a granddaughter.

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    150 Grand Ave.
    Defiance, OH 43512


    Monday - Friday
    6:30am - 6:00pm

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