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Playing the Waiting List Game

HAPPIYOUNGSTR

Playing The Waiting List Game

HappiFamli, Senior Waiting List Correspondent

March 20, 2018

Although the next school year for preschools doesn’t start until late August/early September, schools are pulling from waiting lists now.  We have some tips to help you play the wait list game.  

Many excellent child care centers and preschools have long waiting lists, so you need to plan for that in your timing of selecting the right school for your child.  You should be touring schools at least a year in advance of your anticipated start date if at all possible.  It also a good idea to have some “back-up plans” for other schools that would work well for your family.  Most schools also do have a fee to get on the wait-list, so you have to be smart with your money.  I recommend getting on about 3-4 waiting lists, where you would truly feel comfortable having your child attend that school.  That way, you have more than 1 option, but aren’t paying a ton of money at schools you probably don’t feel that great about.

Once your child is on a waiting list, there are some things you can do to help ensure the school knows you are interested:

1.  Make sure you understand who has priority on the wait list and how that affects your placement.  Most schools have sibling priority, where siblings of existing students are moved to the top of the wait list.  At other schools certain businesses that are close to the center may have priority (think IBM, Intel, etc), church members may have priority, etc. 

2.  Write a letter to the school explaining why the school is such a great fit for your child and what qualities put it at the top of your list. You want to make it clear that you hope your child will be admitted when a slot opens up.

3. Call the director and have a conversation about similar things that were in your letter. You may also, if applicable, discuss how you plan to contribute to the school.  Do NOT make frequent phone calls.  Call once a month at the MOST – but at least once a semester

4.  If you know someone with children who attend the preschool, you can ask them to make a call to the director on your behalf. They should stress how wonderful your child and family are and what a wonderful asset they would be to the school.  Again, specific details on why your child is a good fit and exactly what you could help the school with are always beneficial.

Good luck in your search!!

Playgrounds Around Town

HAPPIYOUNGSTR

Playgrounds Around Town

HappiFamli, Senior Playground Correspondent

March 13, 2018

Austin is home to so many great parks, and spring is the perfect time to go and check some out! Here are some of our favorite parks around town. What are we missing?  Let us know your favorites!

NORTH AUSTIN

Katherine Fleischer Park is in the Wells Branch area of North Austin at 2106 Klattenhoff Drive. If you’ve been there, you probably remember it as the playground with the little green playhouse. Besides a huge playground, there are sports fields and hiking/biking trails that run behind the park as well.

CENTRAL AUSTIN

Zilker Park is the heart of Austin. There is more to do here than you can squeeze into one day (although it would be fun to try)! Besides a giant playground, you can find the Zilker Zephyr train, Barton Springs pool, Austin Nature and Science Center, and the Botanical Gardens. Zilker is also the perfect place to canoe, kayak, or SUP out on Lady Bird Lake, or bring your dogs out to Barking Springs or play a game of frisbee fetch at the dog park.

NORTHWEST AUSTIN

Springwoods Park is over in the Anderson Mill area of Northwest Austin at 9117 Anderson Mill Rd. The park has two large playgrounds, one for little kids and one for older kids. The surrounding areas are shady and large climbing trees are everywhere. There are party pavilions, tennis courts, sand volleyball court, and a soccer field.

EAST AUSTIN

Roy G. Guerrero Park is located at 400 Grove Blvd. This park has a huge playground and is right next to Austin’s famous “Secret Beach”. There are beautiful hikes all around this park as well.

WEST AUSTIN

Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park is located at 6301 W Slaughter Ln. Here you can find something for everyone! There is a shady playground that will appeal to both little and big kids, soccer fields, basketball and volleyball, disc golf, hike/bike trails and more!

SOUTH AUSTIN

Dick Nichols Park at 8011 Beckett Rd. has a free pool, a splash pad for kids, 17 playgrounds, hike/bike trails, basketball, fields, pavilions, tennis courts, and more. This park is huge!