What makes A Child’s Reflection different from other nearby schools?
- Lowest student/teacher ratios in the area: ACR operates at much lower student/teacher ratios than most schools in the area and well below state-mandated ratios. This allows for much more personalized care for your children in all of our classrooms. See our website for listed ratios by age group.
- We are not a franchise.
- Since every child is so unique, we do not believe that a cookie-cutter approach to childcare is the most successful approach. Our teachers have the flexibility to tailor their lesson plans and to supplement with outside resources. This may be using formal curricula such as Handwriting Without Tears, Frog Street Press and Scholastic or informal ideas and lesson plans taken from previous experience, from Pinterest and from other educational resources.
- We have the flexibility to buy whatever classroom resources we would like and to arrange our rooms in the most appropriate manner without following the mandated, standard footprint of a franchise. This is very important because the room arrangement needs to be flexible to adapt to not only the number of children in the classroom but also to be the best learning/play environment for the children. For example, a classroom which is heavily weighted towards active boys needs to be arranged differently from a room which might be a majority of girls.
- Because the school is run as a family business, we avoid all of the negatives aspects of being a franchise or corporate school. We do not track the children as “units, annuities or any of the other offensive terms” often seen in the industry for measuring profitability. We get to know you and your family personally. Your child is never just a number to us.
- Our meals are planned to have a balance of items that the kids enjoy eating. We do not measure our snacks and meals in terms of cents/dollars spent per child. Thus, we generally have much broader menu items than seen at most franchised centers and we can experiment to see what the children enjoy. We also accept ideas for new meals from our parents.
- We buy whatever the classrooms and teachers need for their lesson plans. Our staff and teachers are not limited by corporate budgets and corporate restrictions on purchases from non-certified vendors.
- We offer a balanced curriculum that is focused on Learning Through Play.
- We place a very heavy emphasis on building a child’s social skills so that they can happily interact, play, and speak with other children and adults. A child’s ability to sit in his chair and follow teacher instructions is much more valuable in Kindergarten then whether they can fluently read on day 1 of Kindergarten.
- Children will learn through exploration, social interactions, observation, play and teacher lead activities. If we see that the kids love an activity or topic, our teachers are free to expand and extend the activity for as long as it keeps the childrens’ interest.
- Our lesson plans for each age group are designed so that all children attending through Pre-Kindergarten will have an outstanding basis for transitioning to Kindergarten. Both Academically and Socially.
- We do not do worksheets for the sake of doing worksheets. If your child occasionally brings home a worksheet, it’s because we were working on the fine motor skills associated with handwriting and coloring. If you expect your child to learn through repetition and worksheets, we are not the school for you.
- We focus on age-appropriate development and skills. Children progress on very different scales whether it’s potty-training, spelling their name, learning numbers and letters, or learning to read. There is not a one-fit-all solution although some of our franchised competitors may try to convince you otherwise. Some children may be reading when they graduate from Pre-K but most are not.
- For all of the reasons stated above, our lead teachers love working at A Child’s Reflection.
- The average tenure for our Lead Teacher at ACR is almost five years and several have been here for almost 10 years. Ms. Pam, in our infant room, has been here 25 years.
- We have three floaters; wonderful, flexible teachers that can work with any age group that have each been with us more than 7 years. These ladies step in to assist and lend a hand in classrooms or kitchen throughout the day as well as act as “substitute teachers” when others are out for the day.
- Our teachers love having the flexibility in their teaching methods that franchised operators do not permit and this freedom translates into them truly loving their jobs and their children.
- Starting in January 2016, we now offer health, dental and vision insurance to our employees. We are one of the first pre-schools in the Katy area to offer these benefits.
Happy, healthy teachers translate into happy children.
What is included in your fees?
- Our tuition includes all meals and snacks. There are no extra charges for meals.
- Our tuition includes Spanish, Music and Stretch & Grow.
- Other enrichment such as dance, soccer and gymnastics are available for an extra charge payable directly to the providers.
- The only items that you will pay extra for during the year might be t-shirts (required for all off premise field trips), field trips (both on premise and off premise), bug spray and suntan lotion fees.
- If you are a school age child attending our before/after school program, there is an extra fee to attend on the full days when Katy ISD is not in session.
What is your absentee policy? Why do I have to pay if my child is not there?
Each family may use two absentee credits per year for weeks in which they will be absent for full weeks during the school year (Full Time Programs Only). These absentee credits are equal to 50% of your weekly tuition. You do not receive any absentee credits for individual days missed during the year.
Your tuition is not reduced for school closures due to holidays, inclement weather or other emergency closings. You are paying for a spot in our program and tuition rates are determined based on that spot being filled for the school year. Much like any private school, we have calculated what the annual tuition needs to be and simply allow you to make payments weekly. Each week you make a payment is simply a payment towards the annual tuition for that enrollment slot. At other private schools, tuition is due even when the schools are closed for weeks at a time over holiday weeks (Thanksgiving, Winter Break and Spring Break). We do not close for weeks at a time.
The absentee policy and the weekly tuition rates go hand in hand. Every school has a budget of how much they need to earn for each enrolled spot and then determine their absentee credit and their weekly rates based on that earnings need and there is generally a trade-off. If a school has a more liberal absentee policy, then their weekly rates (and/or their student/teacher ratio) are generally higher to compensate because they know that they will be giving out more absentee credits.
Why is child care so expensive?
We understand that when you look at child care costs over a period of a month or year that the amounts can seem outrageous. For some families, the cost of child care regularly exceeds the car payment or house payments. The reality is that the average family is paying about $5 per hour for child care over the course of a week. You compare this to a babysitter ($10 per hour) or nanny (at $15-$20 per hour) than you are actually getting a bargain. Alternatively, compare us to the trade-person that fixes your plumbing, electrical or automobile at $100 per hour or more and we believe that our loving, smiling teachers and staff are bargain basement cheap. Alternatively, compare our services to the kennel that houses your favorite pet at $35 per day or more and once again, the love that we provide seems cheap. Perspective.
Do you know that almost 50% of our revenue (tuition) is used to pay the teachers, staff and directors? What’s left over after paying salaries is used to pay the mortgage on the building, property taxes, and franchise taxes, insurance (outrageous, as you can imagine), food and kitchen supplies, and classroom supplies, marketing and a few Teacher Appreciation events throughout the year. We are also one of the few child care centers in Houston to offer Health Insurance benefits to our staff.
Do you know that some classrooms are actually loss leaders? Generally, because of State ratios and other obvious requirements it is almost impossible to break-even or make any money in caring for infants younger than 18 months. This is why so many schools and churches start their programs at 18 months of age. Taking into account the low teacher ratios in rooms for children under 18 months, the elevated insurance premiums and the costs of classroom space and supplies we lose money by caring for these age groups. Why do we do it? One, we love having infants around. They are cute, they don’t talk back and they can put a smile on anyone’s face at any time. Second, if you trust us with your precious infant, and we do our job right, then you are more likely to keep your child with us as he/she ages through to Pre-Kindergarten and our school-age programs.
Here is the hidden secret about private child care! The older your child, the more money the Center makes primarily because the classroom teacher/student ratios increase as the children age. Historically, profits made in the older age classrooms offsets the losses in the younger age classrooms and the owners settle for a nominal profit margin (compared to other industries). The problem for the child care industry is that these older children are now more often offered free or subsidized care by the Public school districts through Public Pre-K programs or Public after-school programs which are significantly restricting the ability of private child care centers to stay in business. As the number of children in private Pre-K and after school programs (such as ours) decline, owners are being forced to increase the rates significantly on younger children (3 and younger) just to stay in business. If this trend continues or Pre-K becomes universally provided by the school districts, then the tuition rates for children three and younger will continue to rise to levels that are probably 40-50% higher than today’s rates.