Apple Tree History

Since its humble beginnings with Dee Stewart in 1981, Apple Tree Children’s Centers has grown from a quaint one-room preschool in Sioux Falls, embracing the esteemed Montessori Learning Method. Recognizing the growing demand for quality childcare, we expanded our horizons. Today, with four state-of-the-art facilities, we proudly cater to 800 children. As a dedicated non-profit, Apple Tree Children’s Centers, Inc. is unwavering in its commitment to offering top-tier childcare, exceptional preschool preparation, and engaging before/after school programs to the vibrant families of our community. Join us as we continue our legacy of nurturing future generations.

Our mission

The mission of Apple Tree Children’s Centers 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.


Apple Tree Children’s Centers is passionate about shaping a brighter future through today’s young minds. Recognizing the unique potential in every child, we focus on nurturing their growth and development, preparing them for a prosperous tomorrow. Our time-proven methods ensure that learning is immersive, blending classroom structure with supervised play. We’re firm believers that every activity, under the right guidance, can be transformed into a valuable teaching tool. This approach instills key traits in children like independence, confidence, and problem-solving – cornerstones for a successful future.

While there’s no place like a warm, caring home with loving parents, modern-day financial demands often mean that both parents work, limiting the time they can spend at home. At Apple Tree, we’re committed to filling this gap by offering an environment reminiscent of a loving home. Every aspect of our centers, from design to staffing, is meticulously crafted, keeping in mind the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of children aged 4 weeks to 11 years.

Our mission? Excellence in childcare. Apple Tree Children’s Centers aim to provide a solid foundation, helping children embark on their journey to responsible adulthood. Join us in laying the groundwork for our future leaders and innovators.

Our Dedicated teaching Staff

Lori Braley

Program Director

Lori Braley, esteemed Program Director at Apple Tree Children’s Centers in Sioux Falls, SD, passionately dedicates herself to fostering early childhood development. With years of expertise, Lori ensures each child’s unique potential flourishes in a nurturing, educational environment. Your child’s growth, championed by Lori’s dedication.

Amy Hauff

West Director

My name is Amy Hauff. I have been with Apple Tree since 2001. I enjoyed many years in the classroom before becoming an Assistant Director at Valhalla. In 2018 I became the Director of West and have enjoyed it fully. I have a degree in English from USD and completed my CDA. I am married and have 2 boys. I enjoy spending time with my very large family, and doing anything outside. I also enjoy music in many forms. I really love putting on our Christmas and Graduation programs with the kids.

Lynn Peterson

North Director

I have been blessed to work with Apple Tree Children’s Center since 2001. I started my passion for childcare in my early college years when I had the privilege of working with infants/toddlers at the University of South Dakota. In my free time, I enjoy camping, craft projects, and cheering on my favorite little Sioux Falls Flyer Hockey player.

Lisa Carson

East Director

I have been in the Child Development field since 1999. I obtained my Child Development Associates from the Council for Professional Recognition in 2002 and became a Child Care Development Specialist in 2005 with the Department of Labor. However, my true testament is my faith in God and love for my family.

Katrina Richuber

Valhalla Director

I relocated from San Antonio Texas to Sioux Falls with my husband and children in 2019. I started at Apple tree in January 2023 and it has quickly become a second home to me. I received my degree in medical administration in 2020 but my main passion in life has been childcare and teaching since I was a little girl. In my free time I enjoy cooking, hiking, road trips and spending quality time with family and friends.

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We can’t wait to meet you and your little one! get in touch for a one-on-one tour and we’ll answer all of your questions.