How long have you been in business?
We have been open since 1980 in our current location. There are no other locations.
Are you affiliated with a church?
Yes, Northwest Hills United Methodist Church (NWUMC) Beginning at 3 years old, all children attend Chapel once a week with the Director of Children’s Ministries and NWUHMC. Chapel is held in the FLC Chapel and the children learn Bible stories through songs, finger plays and other activities. We do not attempt to instruct the children in Church doctrine but focus on a central theme of God’s love for the children.
What days and hours are you open?
Our regular operating hours are 7:00 am - 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Children are dropped off in the morning between 7 am and 9 am, and can be picked up anytime before 6:00 pm. We operate year-round, weather permitting, closing for regular holidays and three teacher "in-service" days. Click to see MFH Calendar.
What is your inclement weather policy?
The center will be closed when AISD is closed due to inclement weather. We reserve the right to close early on inclement weather days, such as sleeting rain or ice, at the sole discretion of the MFH administration. In this event, we will notify parents via phone calls that we will be closing early for the safety of our staff and children. After notification, parents will need to pick up their children AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
How many children are enrolled and how old are they?
We are licensed for 170 children including ages 8 wks through Pre-K and after school care.
Do you have a Mother's Day Out/part-time program?
Yes. The hours are from 8:30-2:00 Monday through Friday and meals are provided.
What are your child to staff ratios and group sizes?
Our child/staff ratios are significantly better (lower) than you will find in most Texas centers.
What qualifications do your teachers have?
Each of our "classes" is directed by a Lead Teacher who has CDA (Child Development Associate credential) or is working towards one. Associate and/or Assistant Teachers work with and under the supervision of a Lead Teacher. All members of our staff are certified in CPR and 1st Aid. They are also required to have a background check and FBI fingerprinting upon hire and then every 2 years thereafter must undergo another FBI fingerprinting. Our staff has over 150 years of combined early childhood teaching experience. Besides the required 30 hours of training (required by Texas Rising Star) annually, numerous members of our staff continue to participate in professional development initiatives such as mentoring, leadership and continuing education programs.
Do you offer any special instruction or activities?
In addition to Spanish and Sign Language classes which are offered once per week (at no extra cost), we also provide several optional programs. Click to see Extra Curricular Activities.
What meals and snacks do you provide?
As participants in the Federal Child and Adult Care Food Program, MFH provides well-balanced, nutritionally sound and appetizing meals for the children. Our menus meet the strict guidelines of the federal government as well as the Department of Health’s guidelines. We provide breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. Parents of infants up to 12 months may supply all formula and other jarred baby food or have the option of using the milk based or soy based formula, rice cereal, and fruit and vegetable jar food we offer.
What is your child safety/health policy?
We have a coded-entry security system in our building. Public access is only available through the front door. All other doors are kept locked. A doorbell rings every time the front door is opened. Our health practices include frequent hand-washing and sanitizing the toys and other surfaces in the classrooms. Additionally, we are required to maintain current records on each child, including immunization records. Children must be in good health when at the center, and we will not care for children who exhibit signs of illness. Additionally, a supervised nap or rest period will be provided for all children during the day. Children will rest or nap for a period of two hours following lunch as required by state law.
What is your pick-up/drop-off policy?
Upon arrival every child must be accompanied to the classroom or other drop-off location by a parent or authorized adult. The child must be signed in using our electronic attendance tracker for children attending MFH or by signing inside the child’s classroom for children attending Play-Time Group. The teacher must be made aware of the child’s arrival. When departing, every child must be signed out on the attendance form and the child’s teacher must be notified. Every child must be picked up by an adult authorized on the child’s enrollment form. MFH will not release a child to anyone other than the parents without written permission from the parents in advance. We require proper identification from all adults who are authorized to pick up and will keep a copy of this identification in your child’s file.
What about toilet learning?
For children enrolled in the two year old class, the toilet learning process begins in the home, yet is fully supported by our staff. Children who are using or attempting to use the toilet should wear clothing that they can maneuver easily. Buttons, snaps and things of that nature, frustrate beginning learners and can slow down the toilet learning process. Elastic waist bands or clothing that stretches is the most preferable to both teachers and children. Keep this in mind while you choose the items they will use as extra clothing at school. We ask that you provide several changes of clothes including socks and a pair of shoes, clearly labeled with their first and last name, if not, initials during this transition. Per DPRS regulations, staff may not wash out soiled clothing.
Do you have parent/teacher conferences?
Yes. Parent/ Teacher Conferences are conducted twice a year using the MFH Developmental Checklists and Assessment/ Progress Forms. A parent or teacher may request additional conferences any time.
How do parents participate in your program?
Because MFH is a non-profit organization, we rely on parent involvement through volunteerism for many aspects of our program from fundraising to serving as a Parent Partner. Click to see Parent Involvement
What are your rooms like?
We have 13 classrooms. Our rooms are spacious and well-equipped. Every room has two large windows which provide abundant natural light. All rooms have learning centers, including art, construction center (blocks,) music, sensory, science, fine motor (manipulative,) dramatic play (home center,) and literacy center. Each center is designed to stimulate and enhance the cognitive, emotional, social, fine motor and gross motor skills of the children. Toys and materials in the classroom are developmentally and age appropriate. Additionally, we have created literature rich classrooms in which the children are immersed in meaningful literacy, such as name labels and or pictures on their cubbies. In applying this methodology, teachers are encouraged to incorporate age appropriate books into their weekly lesson plans and derive center activities based on ideas generated by reading.
How much time do the children spend outdoors?
According to state law, we provide outdoor playtime for all our children every day that weather permits on one of our four age-appropriate playgrounds for about 45 minutes, twice a day with the exception of the part time program. We have an infant-only playground, a toddler playground, a two’s and three's playground, and a four’s and up playground. Our playgrounds are completely fenced. Our teachers also take the children on nature walks and on buggy rides (those 2 and under). On bad weather days, we are often able to play in the church gymnasium.
Do the children ever go on field trips?
Children who are in the infant and toddler classrooms will participate in Bye-Bye-Buggy rides on the church grounds with approval from parents. Preschoolers may participate in field trips off campus. These experiences provide the opportunity for extended learning in the local community. High adult to child ratios are maintained and a caregiver with CPR and First Aid training accompanies each group. Parents are notified in writing at least 48 hours in advance. Transportation will be provided using center vans and or parent volunteers. Please provide a car seat for your child and install it properly in the van.
How do you handle discipline and guidance?
MFH uses positive discipline techniques that are designed to enhance the child’s feelings of self worth. In other words, children are told what they can do, rather than what they cannot. Some examples of these techniques include redirection, giving acceptable choices, expressing feelings, problem solving, noticing desirable behavior, and logical consequences.
How much do you charge?
When do children change classes?
We follow the Austin ISD school schedule, and start new rooms in the fall (August).
What is your enrollment policy?
We accept new enrollment whenever space is available. Most openings are filled from our Waiting List. The bulk of our enrollment occurs in the form of pre-registration for the fall (August) when our new year begins. This is when our Pre-K children graduate to Kindergarten, and all remaining children move up to their new classrooms, thereby creating a crop of new spaces across the board. We begin the pre-registration process in the spring, (April/ May) by calling the families on the Waiting List. Siblings of currently enrolled children receive priority as do members of Northwest Hills United Methodist Church.
How long is your Waiting List?
It varies from month to month and is always unpredictable. We occasionally have openings and then we call from the Waiting List. There is no way to predict when a spot will be filled.
Does enrollment continue from year to year?
Yes. Once registered children are guaranteed continuous service until they graduate to public school (Kinder), or are withdrawn for the summer months.
What is your policy on sick children?
Children must be in good health when in attendance. Your child should stay home if he or she:
• Gives evidence of a fresh cold (the first three days are the most contagious).
• Has had an oral temperature of 101 degrees or greater (with no added degree), rectal temperature of 102 degrees or greater (with no added degree), or armpit temperature of 100 degrees or greater (with an added degree) within the last 24 hours without the use of a fever reducing medication.
• Has red or discharging eyes.
• Has had an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea within the last 24 hours.
• Has a contagious illness or skin rash.
If any child develops the above symptoms at school, we will accommodate the child and call the parents to come and get him or her. When a child is ill, we ask that the parent call the school, so that we can expect their absence and relay to other staff and parents of any illness that is going around. Communicable diseases must be reported to the office upon diagnosis. Please remember, if a child is well enough to come to school they should be well enough to go outside. This includes cold days.
Can I come for a tour?
YES! Visitors are always welcome. We recommend the hours of visitation before 11am and after 3pm, due to meal times and rest times.