Early Education Options for Everyone
“I was unsure of how my babies would feel and how they would be treated.”
Life was already kind of crazy for mother-of-two Monica, who was already caring for her infant son, Lorenzo, and toddler daughter, Melody. When she realized she needed to find full-time child care for her children so she could return to work, Monica was overwhelmed.
“It was difficult to even begin to search for child care,” Monica recalls. “It took several months to find the right spot for us – at Mainspring Schools.” Mainspring Schools is a nonprofit organization working to provide high-quality early education for families all over Austin who represent diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and socio-economic levels; 75% of the school’s students receive tuition subsidies. Mainspring is a highly-rated early education center, but that didn’t keep Melody from missing her mom during her first days at the school.
“Mommy was all she had known,” Monica confirms. “So we both used to cry through drop-off every morning – but nowadays, she’s smiling big-time when I pick her up in the afternoon. The staff at Mainspring is very caring, hardworking, and patient. They listen to my concerns and reassure me my babies are safe with them – and they are!”
Meanwhile, mom Sonia has four daughters, ranging in age from 3 months to 13 years. She was lucky enough to find public-school care for her middle girls; they’re currently enrolled in Austin ISD Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 programs.
“Finding child care in which the children are enriched and developed is one of the biggest struggles facing young families today,” notes AISD Pre-K3 teacher Dolores McDonald, who taught one daughter of Sonia’s last year, and this year, is teaching her sister. “Children should begin their education in a positive, engaging way – in a way that gets them excited about learning.”
Just like Monica, Sonia remembers clearly how she felt the first day her now-teenager started preschool.
“We were both scared and happy at the same time,” Sonia recalls. “I was worried she was too little to start school, but I was hopeful she’d begin learning more. And she adapted to preschool quickly; she was always happy to go to school.”
Sonia’s eldest daughter’s pro-ed attitude is apparently rubbing off on her younger siblings; both are enjoying going to school every day alongside their big sis.
“The older one has developed in all areas at school,” notes Sonia. “The younger one has become less timid, more social. And I think I may be feeling just a little less tired.”