written by Lisa Maguire
I started working at Pike Creek Fitness when I was 17, and continued to HAC in 2007 when we made our big move. Working in the Marketing Department, I was often responsible for knowing much of what was happening in the club. What I didn’t know is that knowing the club GREATLY differs from experiencing the club.
Like many parents at HAC, I am now getting to experience HAC in a completely different light. My son turned 3 in 2013, and in addition to being eligible for the YES Program, he is now tall enough and strong enough to navigate the maze himself, wade in the shallow end of the waterpark without me holding on to him, and, most importantly, old enough to attend HAC Preschool.
Ryan went to daycare at just 6 weeks old so I could return to work. He spent as much time with them as he did me, and stayed at the same daycare until we enrolled at HAC. Very much like choosing his daycare when he was an infant, I agonized over whether I should move him – Would he be happy at HAC? Would he miss his caretakers and friends? HAC Preschool is in a “gym,” is it going to be up to par with the competitors around the corner? (Yes, even as the Director of Marketing, the thought of that still crossed my mind. After all, this is my kid we’re talking about here!) But with the rave reviews from other parents that had sent their kids through HAC Preschool, I put my reservations aside and gave it a shot.
Ryan is enrolled in full-time care. That means we have one and a half hours of care available before Preschool, and another five and a half hours of care available after Preschool. Preschool itself is from 9:00-Noon daily. Here’s my experience thus far:
1. When I pick up Ryan at the end of the day, he doesn’t want to leave HAC and is exhausted and hungry.
- I know that he is enjoying his days at HAC if we have to debate for five minutes about whether we really have to go home.
- Hungry is a great thing when you’ve got a picky eater who all of a sudden will eat whatever’s in front of him!
- Bedtime is all of a sudden a non-issue. In fact, sometimes he’ll ask to go read stories for bed a little early!
2. Ryan can’t wait to see Ms. Meg in the morning, and talks about her fondly on the weekends.
- Ms. Meg is the teacher every parent dreams of for their child. She is genuinely caring and patient, and has a plethora of tricks for getting the kids to learn through play and engaged in a group setting.
3. Lunches are not included in HAC Preschool like they are in some daycares, (a healthy snack is though!), BUT music class two days a week, gym class two days a week, and the occasional swim day are included at HAC unlike many other daycares OR preschools.
- Coach Dave Mulvena runs our Preschool Sports Program and our camp brochure doesn’t lie – he truly is like the pied piper with children. Ryan adores him.
4. Ryan is eligible for the YES Program at HAC, and because we already spend 40-50 hours a week here, committing to coming back for another class is tough. Because he’s enrolled in HAC Preschool, the aftercare staff not only transport him to and from class, but also assist him with getting ready. So, on top of his music and gym class included during the
week, he’s also getting either a yoga class or sport and his Martial Arts class weekly.
5. Before & Aftercare is awesome. What else can I say? The employees working the before and aftercare hours are attentive, interactive, and really seem to enjoy the children they are with each day. This is where Ryan gets worn out – his brain has been in use for 3 hours during Preschool, and then he eats and hangs with his friends for about an hour at lunch, then they play for the rest of the day. They climb the maze, play in the gym, visit the arcade, do crafts – the list just goes on and on.
- This is one of my favorite things about his day. At his last daycare, they were in the same room all day with one outside recess daily if the weather was nice. At HAC, I know that he is being stimulated in a variety of ways, and he’s having fun the entire time.
Okay, okay, okay, so the HAC Marketing Director likes HAC Preschool. What a surprise, right? So what’s wrong with HAC Preschool? Honestly, the only thing I would change if I had a magic wand is the number of kids his age enrolled in full-time care. He’s the only “three” in true full-time, so he does spend some time playing with older kids, which isn’t necessarily bad, but they’re not his crew from class either. But really and truly, that’s the ONLY thing I’d change. Ryan couldn’t be happier or in better hands, and that’s more than enough for me.