Austin >Community & Social Services > Stepping Stone School 5
2001 Wells Branch Pkwy, Austin, TX | Directions 7872830.434009 -97.682152
Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m to 6:15 p.m.
Neighborhoods: Wells Branch
I am in love with this school! My daughter was at another local daycare not too far from here and was coming home telling me about the movies she watched during the day. I was not paying for her to go to daycare to watch TV. I did a little homework and found this school tucked away near my home. I did a school visit and was very pleased at the cleanliness of the school. My senses weren't bombarded with the smell of urine or dirty diapers.
All the children seemed very happy and were ACTUALLY learning. My daughter 2 years old at the time made herself at home during craft time. They let her do an art project while she was there. She immediately made new friends and was very comfortable in the classroom.
Ms. Julie the director is awesome! She knows every child by name, is there every morning to greet everyone that walks through the door. She always seems to make time to talk to parents even when she's in the middle of something. She listens to both the parents and children. I've never seen so many kids happy to go to school. I personally know that she makes sure the students are thriving. She is in the classrooms, making lunches, and everything else.
Lately there has been a high turnover for the teachers due to illness and better pay elsewhere (I used to work in a daycare so I know how it goes), but Julie has tried to make these transitions as smooth as possible. I don't know how she does it day in and day out, but she is an amazing director and even though some days you can see she's running all over the school to make sure everything is covered, she smiles through it all!
I can't ask for a better director. My child comes home telling me all the new things she's learned, she's sounding out words or telling me the letter of the week. I can't help but be thankful for the hard work that all the teachers and Ms. Julie puts in...Thank you!
Pluses & Minuses:
Great things: No TV's in the building; lots of toys & books; enthusiastic teachers; a reasonable set of rules including the health-related (important) rules.
Downsides: Poor organization, terrible billing service (manual, error-prone, no eft options). High turnover (low pay) and insufficient staffing for teacher illness (constant at any daycare), leads to lack of stability in the children's environment, and a hide-and-seek chase trying to figure out where you're kid is / should-be.
Overall, not bad but not what it could be, especially for the price...
3 Cheers for Changes!!! – We started at this Stepping Stone a year ago and all I can say is the recent change in management is a right step forward. The new Director is GREAT!! She greets us every morning and I do not think she has ever missed a day. While they have had some turn over, it is for the good and she is in constant communication with me about it. Ms. Julie talks to all the parents, everyday. She has a warm welcoming feeling that pours from her and is rubbing off on the others!
The whole staff seems happy and energized! I am one HAPPY Mom!
Amazed by my son's verbal and social growth! – When I started my two-year-old at Stepping Stone, I was feeling a bit skeptical. My oldest son had a bad experience in a childcare, so I was hesitant. My two-year-old was not flourishing in his private care and actually regressing socially and verbally.
Stepping Stone has really nurtured his growth in both of these areas! He is talking much better, and although he is still verbally behind, he is making up that gap through his teacher, Lisa, and with his peers. Lisa is very patient with him, teaching him how to speak correctly and really trying to understand his language. She has nurtured him socially and taught him how to play with his friends in a positive manner, where before, he would not play at all.
At his old school, he would cry when I dropped him off, and cry when I picked him up. Now, when we get in the car, his words are, "I go see "Isa" (Lisa)!" When I drop him off at school, he says, "Hi, guys!" and "Bye, Mom!" There are times I could almost cry he's so happy. When I pick him up, he tells me about his day, shows me his artwork, and tells me about his friends. I couldn't be happier.
I had the opportunity to go to a daycare that is cheaper next year, that would be at my workplace. I had to turn them down in fear that my child would not progress as he has at Stepping Stone. I absolutely adore the program they have at this school, and I just love Lisa. Thank you to Lisa and Stepping Stone for all you have done for my child.
Heartbroken to leave, but disappointed in leadership – I was so pleased when we started out our daughter in the infant room, but with the high turnover and lack of qualified teachers, I have become increasingly disappointed with Stepping Stone Wells Branch. The teachers in the infant room are great, and Charli in the 12-17 month room is Fantastic! But, there is zero continuity in the classrooms. The classrooms are small and overcrowded and many teachers do not have any experience in child development or early childhood education. When we walk in to pick up our child, we get the feeling that the inmates are running the prison and that kind of chaos is unhealthy for a toddler. I'm very disappointed in the lack of leadership on the part of the director, as the school was in much better shape with the old director. I'm very sad to put in our 30 day notice, but I don't feel my toddler is being given the care she (and all the other toddlers in the room) deserves. I'm sorry Stepping Stone. I really wanted this to work out.
High Teacher Turnover – My son has had 12 teachers in 12 months (there are 2 permanent teachers in each classroom for infant/toddlers).
When I first brought my 3 month old son to this daycare, all was well. There was a 5 year veteran in the baby room who was great. Shortly after our enrollment, however, she retired and the other care taker quit and then the string of replacements began. Only one remained constant after that (who was wonderful by the way), but she has left as well (luckily after my son moved up to the next room).
The issue continued into the second classroom, where there has been no teacher that has stayed longer than a couple months (unless the one who just went part time actually decides to stay), some less than a month. Although there have been a couple good teachers, it is not worth the stress of having to retrain a new teacher and more importantly, having my son not want to go to daycare because he doesn't know his teacher.
If you are considering this daycare, I suggest you have alternatives already researched and be prepared to switch if this school does not change its retention policies and continues to have high turnover in the infant/toddler rooms.
Caring Childcare – I have had my daughter at SS for a number of years. We have felt very comfortable with all of the teachers from the start. My daughter loves the food that is made for her daily. One of our favorite teachers "Mama Haynes" (Lisa) teaches the 2 year olds to be potty trained. Not an easy task! Ms. Claudia is her pre-k teacher and she is fabulous as well! She is about to start kindergarten and she has learned so much in the pre-k class. I have always felt like my daughter was very well cared for.
We now have a baby boy in the nursery. Ms. Maria, Ms. Christina, and Ms. Francis love my little boy like their own. The love to see him grow and do new tricks every day!
I would highly recommend this facility to anyone looking for great childcare!
Great Staff – My son has been with Stepping Stone for 3 years now and loves it. His teacher is Ms. Jennifer and she is great with him and everyone else. All the staff is great and very helpful. Jaden has learned alot since he started and they have been preparing him for Kindergarden in August. Highly recommend the school to anyone looking for great care.
Anxious Mom – I am expecting my first child soon and toured the Stepping Stone on Wells Branch. I was impressed by the cleanliness of the center and the longevity of the staff. I was referred to the reviews on Citysearch and Yelp so I can see what the families are saying about Stepping Stone. I am impressed by the great reviews and the many happy parents here.
Loving teachers – So far my experience has been great. I've only been at this school a few months. The staff are always warm and welcoming and the school seems pretty clean. My son is in Ms. Sandra's 2 year old class and I have been told she has been working there for 12 years. That is amazing! I just want my son loved and well cared for and Ms. Sandra does a great job at that.
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