About Us

Mission Statement

We let kids be messy, adventurous kids. After sitting in school all day we believe it is vital children get outside and explore the world. While engaging in fun outdoor activities, children build strength and confidence, improve motor and cognitive skills, nurture relationships as well as enhance social awareness. We believe authentic learning takes place when children investigate and interact with the world around them. These impromptu and organic natural experiences will inspire a lifelong love of nature.

Jon Lowings Bio

Jon grew up on the Coastside. As a boy he spent his free time climbing trees, exploring beaches, building forts, and playing games. Jon developed a deep love and respect for the outdoors that followed him into adulthood.

After graduating from Half Moon Bay High School, Jon moved to San Luis Obispo to attended Cal Poly University. There he ran the Junior Rangers Program, which inspired a passion for working with children. During Summers Jon was employed by the local state parks where he educated children about nature and inspired Earth stewardship.

Upon completion of his degree in Recreation Administration he moved back to the Coastside to direct the Kings Mountain Children’s Center. He ran the center for 10 years before deciding to go back to school to attain his teaching credentials. He taught kindergarten for 2 years and although he loved working with children, he struggled with the sedentary nature of the curriculum and tight boundaries of the classroom. He recognized how deeply the children wanted to move, explore, be active, and just play; and he wanted to do that with them.

Enter UpGrade: An afterschool care center he and friend Heather Deweerd founded, encompassing everything Jon loves: children, nature, adventure, learning, and just good ole’ fun. In 2006 UpGrade was opened in Princeton-by-the-Sea. Since its inception, over a thousand children have been part of the Upgrade family: making friends, exploring the Coastside, building confidence and strength, and above all a developing a lifelong respect for nature. Jon revels in watching children mature and thrive. In a warm and fun manner he pushes children’s boundaries, inspiring personal growth and confidence within them.

Jon and his wife Michele have two children, Sam and Claire who both thoroughly enjoyed their UpGrade experience. During his free time Jon adventures with his family, climbing trees, exploring beaches, building forts, and playing games. He loves to coach baseball, help in classrooms, and is an avid surfer. Jon wants to offer children the same opportunity he had growing up; playing outside with your friends.


Our Center

Located in rustic Princeton-by-the-Sea our facility is a kid’s paradise. Several huge bean bags and pillows adorn the floor and a basketball hoop hangs on the wall. We have tons of toys, Legos galore, board games, books, and a magnetic wall. Upstairs are computers (screen time is limited to 10 minutes per child), 25+ bins of art & crafts, drawing and design items, as well as plenty of table space for creativity, reading, and homework. Downstairs is reserved for playful wrestling and active games such as Old School Dodge Ball, Simon Says, and a multitude of other fun games Jon has created over the years. Children have different recreational needs and our center has a space for everyone. We are walking distance to the harbor, Mavericks, and Ross's Cove (one of the best beaches on the coast).