Austin Kids' Directory Blog

5 Minutes and 10 Simple Things That COULD SAVE YOUR CHILD’S LIFE!

5 Minutes and 10 Simple Things That COULD SAVE YOUR CHILD’S LIFE!

Would you do something for 5 minutes if it meant that you might save your child’s life?

If you say YES, then keep reading. Your 5 minutes has already begun.

Summer is here and the water is calling to you and your family as you look for fun places to beat the heat. I ask you to please take water seriously and helping to prevent your children from drowning. Last year, Texas lost 107 children to fatal drownings while 6-7X more survived a non-fatal drowning incident. This year, our numbers are already up to 40! We must change our behaviors to keep our children (and ourselves) safe around water.

My name is Alissa Magrum and I am the Executive Director of the local drowning prevention nonprofit, Colin’s Hope, and a mom to 3 pre-teen girls, all who are strong swimmers. 9 years ago, I didn’t think drowning was something I needed to worry about at all.

Then Colin drowned.
And Connor drowned.
And Averie drowned.
And Tristan and Elise and Paxton and Emma Grace and Brandon and Xander and so many other children drowned.
And Clay and Jack and Brady and Mason so many more children survived drowning incidents.

These children have changed my mind. Drowning is something I do NEED to worry about. And so do YOU! I love water and so does my family-but water is NOT safe. Water will never be completely safe BUT I am going to tell you a few simple things and few small behavior changes you can make that can help keep you and your family to be safeR around water.

Are you in yet? Think about it---we take 20 seconds every time we get in the car to buckle our babies into car seats to keep them safeR. We spend countless minutes reminding our kiddos to put a helmet on before they pedal off to keep them safeR on bikes and scooters. We do these small behaviors over and over because we know they can help prevent tragedies.

I ask you to please take 3 minutes and take the Colin’s Hope water safety quiz here. Then read on and you can quickly add water safety tools to your parenting toolbox (our your pool bag).

10 simple things YOU can do NOW to help prevent drowning:

* Talk to your kids about water safety and tell them to NEVER get in water without an adult Water Guardian (that’s YOU or another adult).

* Understand that drowning is FAST and SILENT.

* Keep Kids in Arm’s Reach when near, in and around water.

* Enroll in formal swim lessons and learn to swim.

* Ensure that your pool and your neighbors pools are fenced and have self latching/ locking gates.

* Weak and non-swimmers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved and properly fitted life jacket NOT water wings or floats.

* Teach kids to stay away from pool drains to avoid entrapment.

* Learn CPR

* Visit and learn more, volunteer or donate.

* Share this information with your friends and family- it could save a life!

Colin’s Hope has a vision of a world where children do not drown. I hope that you will share this vision and this important water safety information as we endure another long, hot Texas summer.

In the words of Colin Holst--Have the Best Day Ever!
-Alissa Magrum,
Mom, Colin’s Hope Executive Director, Swimmer

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The IB Approach to Education

The IB Approach to Education

Think back for a moment, to your experiences of school. What were those days like for you? Do you hold fond memories of your time? Or perhaps, they were not times that you reflect upon positively. However you feel about your primary school experiences, more importantly, I would like you to consider how well they prepared you for your life ahead.

More so than ever before, as educators, we are preparing children for a vastly changing, and unknown future. Technological advancements, the changing face of the work place, simmering political tensions and scientific progression, all contribute to an ever-changing expectation of what and who our students will become. The bottom line is, we do not know who they will become, or what options will be available to them at that time; therefore, we must formulate an educational path for them that produces highly adaptable and capable adults, ready for whatever life has in store.

Traditional and conventional methods of education are rendering themselves obsolete in preparing children for the challenges that lie ahead; their schooling, career paths and life experiences. As the world’s expectations and ‘goal posts’ shift, so too must education’s responsibility to prepare children for future life. Rote learning, fact-based studies, sterile classroom environments, educators regurgitating curricula to impassive students, and pressurized, assessment-driven studies are counter-intuitive to this aim.

An IB education seeks to offer a solution.

“The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.” [International Baccalaureate Organization, 2013].

It is a holistic and inquiry-based approach to learning, founded in a philosophy of creativity, imagination and independence. Through inquiry, action and reflection, the programme aims to develop students’ abilities to think, self-manage, research, communicate and collaborate effectively and efficiently. An IB education seeks to guide and nurture students towards being knowledgeable, conscientious, pro-active, and free-thinking citizens, who are globally-aware, and culturally tolerant.

Through ‘units of inquiry’, an IB student’s studies fall within 6 themes, which transcend the conventional boundaries of discrete, individually taught, subject areas. These themes; Who We Are, Where We Are In Place and Time, How We Organize Ourselves, How The World Works, How We Express Ourselves, and Sharing The Planet, encourage students to delve deeper and become immersed in their areas of focus, and make connections between their learning and the real world around them. Traditional subject areas are immersed within each of these themes, so that students can see the inter-connectivity of everything that they are learning.

In addition, a large focus is placed on the pastoral, social and emotional development of students, with the understanding that by acquiring and effectively applying the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, students will be able to set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

In a world of unknowns, an IB education creates students who are ready, confident and able. IB students are motivated, globally-minded and socially conscious citizens, primed and inspired to take thoughtful action for the betterment of the world around them. They are the leaders and learners of tomorrow, and I know that they will be the ones who will make a positive difference in the world in the years to come.

-Eleanor Mitchell, Deputy Head, International School of Texas

Take a look at International School of Texas, a non-profit, independent private school serving the areas of Bee Cave, Lakeway, Steiner Ranch, Four Points, River Place, Westlake and the surrounding communities. The school’s mission is to provide students with rigorous academics while growing global citizens and global leaders. Visit their website to learn more or call (512) 351-3403 to schedule a tour.

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10 Benefits of Learning Ballet

10 Benefits of Learning Ballet

If your child is mesmerized by beautiful dancing or loves to move to music, learning ballet could be a wonderful activity for them. Besides the pure joy many children get from dancing, there are countless benefits to studying ballet - physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual. Here are just some of them:

1. Regular exercise and fitness

2. Strong and toned muscles

3. Improved coordination, balance and agility

4. Creative expression promoting emotional health

5. Music appreciation and connecting movement and music

6. Discipline and focus

7. Increased self confidence through practice and progress

8. Release from daily worries and stress

9. Camaraderie with fellow classmates and performers

10. Useful skills for sports and other kinds of dance

At Slavin Nadal School of Ballet we strive to give each of our students the finest classical training in a nurturing and inclusive environment. We offer year round classes for ages 3 through adult and a free trial class.

This year we have "Movement & Make Believe" Summer Camps for ages 5-8 with weekly themes and no prior dance training needed! Registration is open! For more information give us a call at 512-371-1213 or visit

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The Annual Childcare and School Guide is Here!

The Annual Childcare and School Guide is Here!

One of the most important decisions parents have to make concerns the care and education of their children. The Austin Kid’s Directory helps parents find out what is available in the Austin area by publishing and distributing the annual Childcare & School Guide. The latest edition is now being distributed!

This guide is organized by area making it easy to find childcares, preschools and schools in your neighborhood or close to work. You will also find information about enrichment activities, after school care, drop in child care, tutoring and more.

Take a look at the new 2017-18 online edition of the Childcare and School Guide by visiting our website.

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The Basics of Filmmaking

The Basics of Filmmaking

Many successful filmmakers learn every aspect of the filmmaking process before landing on one they really love. Learning and trying these different jobs is a step toward becoming a better filmmaker and a great way for aspiring filmmakers to figure out which job they enjoy the most. Here is a list of the top five most important jobs on any set a future filmmaker will have:

Writer- Although not a highly visible position, the writer is one of the most important parts of the filmmaking aspects. They are the ones who conceive the story and are the ones who can make a film dramatic and compelling. The writer’s job doesn’t end once production starts, either. They are constantly rewriting the story to accommodate any new ideas or changes in circumstance.

Director- The script is only an intermediate art form. It is the director’s job to translate to the script into the visual art form of film. Directors often get the most recognition on a film for very good reason. They have a big job – they are often the creative force behind the acting, camera work, lighting, sound, and set design.

Cinematographer- Also known as Director of Photography. This person is responsible for composing the shots and crafting the over-all look of a film. Cinematographers have to think about what will be in the frame of the shot, how the camera is going to move in relation to the subjects, and how the lighting will come into play.

Sound Mixer – Often the most overlooked job in the filmmaking process, the sound mixer has the very important job of capturing clean sound from production. Sound refers to everything we hear in a movie – words, sound effects, and ambience. Sound is used in film to heighten a mood, provide us with information about the location of a scene, advance the plot, and tell us about the characters in the story. Many filmmakers consider sound to be more important that the visuals!

Editor- Editors are the people who put it all together. In a nutshell, it is the editor’s job to take all the raw footage from production and assemble it into a film. Much like the script development stage, the finished film often goes through multiple edits – each one more refined than the last – before the team lands on a ‘final cut.’

There are experts in all of these fields in Austin, and we’ve wrangled a few of them together to teach at Austin Film Festival’s Summer Film Camp. At Summer Film Camp, campers have the opportunity to try their hand in all of these roles and gain invaluable filmmaking experience.

For more information about Austin Film Festival Summer Film Camp or to register, visit

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