Crenshaw Athletic Club was purchased in 1976 by Art and Gil Elsass, long time Austin residents. The original facility which specialized in gymnastics and swimming began in 1951 and is one of the oldest private gymnastic schools in the United States. In 1986, Art and Gil expanded what was then a morning only preschool at the Crenshaw location into an all day academy on Twin Oaks Drive. This was the beginning of Elsass Academy. Our Westlake facility, nestled among sprawling oaks in a country cottage setting, has been providing a warm, nurturing atmosphere in which children may learn, grow and develop since 1991.
Children between the ages of 18 months and kindergarten are welcome to attend the preschool academy. The goals of the program are to reach beyond day care and provide both academic and physical education in an environment that is nurturing, stimulating and developmentally appropriate. Our After School Program accepts students enrolled in kindergarten through third grade from the following EISD elementary schools: Eanes, Cedar Creek, Valley View and Forest Trail. Our summer camp programs provide exciting activities and great summer memories for children ages 5 years old to ten years old.
Our specialized class rotations allow our staff to create lessons that concentrate on a specific area of learning. These areas include gym, arts and crafts and the presentation of reading or math concepts. By specializing, the children will be working with teachers who are strong in their area rather than a "jack of all trades." It also allows materials for each subject area to be concentrated instead of scattered throughout the facility. Our pre-kindergarten students do a full set of rotations each morning that includes art/creative play, gym, reading/language readiness, and math/science readiness. (These rotations are daily with the exceptions of Crenshaw mornings and fieldtrips.) Our youngest groups, still needing the care and consistency of a self-contained learning environment, will be introduced slowly to the rotations as they get older and have more developed skills. They will access different areas of our campus, such as our picnic area, gym and garden, but will keep a familiar face with them.
We have found that our students prefer to eat food they are accustomed to having at home. Therefore we ask parents to provide the lunch. Elsass Academy provides refrigerator space for all lunch kits and has someone available to unpack, heat and serve the lunch to the students. Parents best know their children's likes and dislikes. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided for each child as well as drinks and all utensils. Please provide us with any necessary information reagrding food allergies or preferences (such as vegetarian diets).
Mornings are very structured. The teachers have weekly lesson plans posted in each classroom that reflect some of the goals for the class. After nap, the schedule slows down with activities which are less structured and more self-directed allowing some freedom of choice. Outside play is provided both in the morning and afternoon, weather permitting. When outside, children will be involved in both planned and free activities. Teachers strive to balance structure and free time to help provide periods of adequate busy and quiet activities.
(List of ratio goals:)
|18 mo. - 2 1/2 Year Olds||1 teacher to 6-7 children|
|2 1/2 - 3 Year Olds||1 teacher to 8-9 children|
|3 - 4 Year Olds||1 teacher to 10-12 children|
|4 - 5 Year Olds||1 teacher to 14-15 children|
(All of the above ratios are below the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Minimum Standards)
The best discipline is creating an atmosphere where the children are happy and busy and learn to appropriately interact with their peers. However, situations requiring staff intervention do arise. Teachers will help children learn better ways to interact with friends, explaining the positive and negative points of each method. Short, age appropriate periods of time-out may be used when necessary. If particular problems continue to exist, children will be directed to the office for time away from the classroom and parents will be notified.
We hire teachers with experience within the area they will be teaching. It is our goal that the lead academic teachers carry a degree or a high level of experience working with preschool children in licensed, quality settings. Our teachers are required to continue their education in early childhood training and must acquire at least 24 hours of continuing education per year. Elsass Academy Westlake is happy to pay for this continuing education for our staff who, throughout the year, will attend clinics and seminars. We are also constantly providing our staff with cutting-edge information and on-going training to provide the best possible care for your child.
The Academy will give one week, twice a year vacation credit. Credit will not be given for less than a full week. The year is considered from September 1 through August 31. There is an amount per week that can be deducted from the monthly tuition. (Max one week per month - Ask office for price) Please give the office advance written notice.
There is no charge for the weekly gymnastics lessons which are held in our beautiful, fully-equipped olympic quality gymnasium at Crenshaw Athletic Club. We will also occasionally ask for you to bring items from home (i.e. a tee-shirt, etc) for special art projects. Classes like music, art, soccer, dance, Spanish and computers are in addition to Elsass Academy tuition. Participation in these classes is optional and any additional fees are paid directly to each provider. Again, these activities are held on campus in order to facilitate parents' busy schedules.
Swim lessons are provided during the summer months for no additional fee. (Summer months) Our lifeguards hold EMERGENCY WATER SAFETY TRAINING CERTIFICATIONS (lifeguarding), Infant/Child CPR Certifications and First Aid Certifications. Please advise us of any special circumstances regarding your child's experiences with water/swimming.
Elsass Academy observes Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the following Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day and Independence Day (July 4th).
Special field trips are planned for the children throughout the year. Some examples are library trips, Crenshaw gymnastics classes, picnics in the area parks, trips to the Children's Museum and other activities which will enhance your child's learning experiences at Elsass Academy Westlake.
We welcome your input and involvement as a parent. The Director, staff and parents work hard as a team to make Elsass Academy Westlake one of the best schools in Austin. The children are at the center of all of our thoughts and motivations. Parents who work with the staff are a great asset. If your child is experiencing any difficulties, we will usually ask to meet with you for an informal conference to discuss ways for improvement.
Tuition is later AFTER the fifth of the month. After the fifth, a late fee will be added to your tuition. For those on the semi-monthly payment plan, a split payment fee will be added to your tuition and a late payment fee will be added to your tuition AFTER the fifth and AFTER the twentieth. Elsass Academy reserves the right to discontinue service to clients who continually pay late. Click here to open Preschool Tuition for prices. Elsass will charge a $30 fee for each returned check.
Children are very tired and hungry by 6:30 p.m. and need to be picked up. The teachers who close the facility have commitments and families. Very often a relaxed policy will lead to our staff staying late every day. This is unacceptable to our staff.
Elsass Academy Westlake publishes a seasonal newsletter to keep parents informed of upcoming events and happenings at the school. Current events are posted on the big bulletin board inside our main cafeteria as well as on a monthly calendar that will accompany our newsletter.
Parents and visitors are welcome throughout the day with the exception of naptime. We hope if children are disrupted by visits from parents that will not end in the child being taken home, that parents take into consideration the feelings of their child. Lunches are a great time to come sit and eat with your child. If parents have special talents, we encourage them to come share these talents with our classes. Examples may include: reading stories, sharing cultural differences, playing musical instruments, cooking a fun recipe, planting in our garden, teaching a new craft, touring an exciting new place (ie job), etc. Parents are always welcome to help with parties and on fieldtrips.
Tours of the facility are given Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. Please call for an appointment. We will work with your schedule if this is not convenient.
See the general information sheet for a list of illnesses for which your child should not attend school. If a child is not well enough, or not sufficiently recovered from an illness to participate in school activities, including playing outside, then he/she is not well enough to be at school. We do not have extra staff to attend to children who are not well enough to participate in the school day. If children become ill at school we will move them to the office and call you to pick them up. Please make sure we have an up-to-date listing of phone numbers where you can be reached. It is important to pick your child up promptly not only for his/her personal comfort, but also to prevent the spread of illness to others including staff. If your child has been ill, they cannot return to Elsass Academy until they are symptom-free and medication-free for at least 24 hours.
Our summer camp programs are for school aged children and fill very quickly. We generally open registration for former/currently enrolled afterschool students in February. In March, the remaining spaces will go to the general public. If you have older siblings of currently enrolled students, we will allow them to register in February along with former students.