What the parents say:

We love Habibi’s and Andrew for so many reasons! Our children get to play freely, learn to express themselves, learn and talk about diversity, know it is o.k. to explore, to fall, to cry, and to try new things in a nurturing environment. These sound like ideas/concepts that should be in all curriculums in all schools at all levels. But, they are not, not even close. We looked at several other daycare’s and preschools before settling on Habibi’s. We had some really horrible experiences at one local school and some ok, but not great, experiences at other settings. Habibi’s children are (or at least are encouraged to be) open minded, able to communicate, know how to express their feelings, and ready to enter that next scary step of Kindergarten. How many times have we heard teachers say they love Habibi’s kids because they are ready for the next step and know how to function in the world. My kids have developed their self-esteem and are better people for having been exposed to Habibi’s Hutch. As a few others mentioned, the drive is insignificant compared to the value of the experience. As some of you know, I travel up to 41st street for Alex and back to Manchaca/Lamar for Zane, so distance is of little importance knowing that my children in in the best environments for them. We love Habibi’s, but mostly we love Andrew, Kim, and his whole family, an example of great family families played out! Zelda, Alex and Zane’s mom.

I used to work at McDonald’s. I do not eat at McDonald’s any longer. Once I saw the inner workings of the company [in terms of both food prep and labor] I stopped being interested in fast food hamburgers. I also used to work at Habibi’s Hutch. Now my daughter is a Hutch Kid. Once I became intimate with the inner workings of the Hutch [in terms of both curriculum and humanity] I can imagine sending my children nowhere else. I teach professional development courses for education majors at the University of Texas, where we talk extensively about the child-directed, open-ended, developmentally appropriate curriculum at Habibi’s. Most early childhood educational scholars use the three preceding terms to describe what they believe to be the “best” practices in teaching young children. I have the luxury of being able to tell my students the address of the place where it happens. My newest daughter will soon be a Hutch Kid also, and we, as a family, have decided to remain in Austin after the completion of my PhD in Curriculum Studies [with a focus on early childhood education]. Habibi’s role in our decision not to allow the academic winds blow us where they may cannot be understated. How could I study early childhood education and let early childhood education pull my family away from the best preschool I have ever seen or heard of? Tim, Byron,Stella Rae and Magnolia’s dad.

At Habibi’s our son is encouraged and able to live his life, not prepare for one. He is in a community and extended family of adults and children where he is supported, encouraged, hugged, wrestled with, painted on, danced with, read to, surrounded by art and patted to sleep. Maybe most importantly he has the gift of being with adults who are eager to share his journey, not mold him into a human who will then live life; they respect him as a human who is living life. The adults at Habibi’s are partners with our son in the process of living, rather than viewing him as an apprentice. I believe that our son, from the support he’s gotten at Habibi’s, may reply when asked what he’s going to be when he grows up: “I’m not going to be anything, I already am.” Paul & Leslee, Paul’s parents.

We love Habibi’s Hutch because when Sam gets bored with us in the morning he demands to go to “bibi’s”. He’ll yell jumping up and down ” I wanna go to bibis! I wanna go to bibis!”. I can’t think of a better endorsement than a 2 year old demanding to go to daycare, except it’s not daycare, it’s a natural Childlife preserve. No TV’s, no lines, just freedom and encouragement to be who they are and get along with everybody else. We were crestfallen when Habibi’s moved to their new location because it is so far from us. We originally went to part time thinking we would find someplace else. There is no place else like Habibi’s. We now drive across Austin twice each day just to keep our son in the magical environment that is Habibis Hutch. We live near 2222 and Mo-Pac it is quite a drive especially at rush hour. We’re thinking of moving to Barton Hills just to be closer to Habibi’s! Michael, Sam’s dad.

As an early childhood professional, I fully endorse Habibi’s Hutch. When Henry was attending Habibi’s and others would ask me why I sent him there I had a planned response: “Most parents send their children to preschool so that the children will learn to be bright. The parents at Habibi’s already know their children are bright and Habibi’s is a place that let’s them shine.” What’s even better about Habibi’s is that all the parents really seemed to enjoy and appreciate each other’s children. Debora, Henry’s mom.

The first time I walked through the door of the Hutch, I cried. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Children running and playing freely. Children working together to resolve conflicts. Children huddled around a teacher reading a book. At Habibi’s, there are no time-outs, no scolding, no shaming. Instead, teachers actually take the time to communicate with children about behavior, consequences, and solutions. It’s unheard of, and yet, it’s the only way to responsibly treat our children and the only way to raise responsible adults. My son attended Habibi’s for three-and-a-half wonderful years. When he started kindergarten, he continued going to Habibi’s after school. I know that every afternoon he is getting at Habibi’s what he is not getting at public school all day – freedom to make decisions, to experience consequences, and to discuss solutions, not to mention freedom to run and climb to his heart’s content. My son is now in first grade and just got his report card. He is excelling in every subject and is described as a “quiet leader” by his teacher. He would not be who he is today without Habibi’s Hutch. Cathy, Kenny’s mom.

HH makes you want to be a kid again. I know that my daughter has had a good day when I pick her up and she is in her underwear with a painted on bikini top, a temporary tattoo on her forearm, freshly painted fingernails and makeup done by one of her friends. The teachers at the Hutch have made me a better mom. I also LOVE that the Hutch has several male teachers – it is very rare and I think that it makes my daughter a better person to see and learn from men in addition to her father. Bianca, Ava and Beck’s mom.

One day my soft voiced 3 year old son slid across the floor on his knees and started singing guitar sounds. He stood up and said, “Those are my wicked rock and roll moves!” We asked where he learned his moves from and he said, “Mike!” Habibi’s will teach your kids wicked rock and roll moves. Sweet! Finnegan’s Dad

Habibi’s Hutch is the perfect antidote to most childcare facilities-the type that over emphasize the use of anti-bacterial spray and ultimately provide for young children a sterile holding pen instead of a dynamic learning environment. Kate,(Claire and Niamh’s mum)

Habibi’s is a sigh of relief where, finally, a kid can live. Any preschool can teach a kid about literacy, numbers and whats ‘important’; but Habibi’s is the only place where kids can learn to love who they are, and realize that’s important. Vincent.

When Margie got the opportunity to return to work, we thought it was also an opportunity to get Jeff into situations where he could socialize with other kids. Two pre-schools and one nanny later, we were in a difficult and depressing situation. So many people had already given up on our energetic son, and he wasn’t even four! But da Hutch didn’t give up on him and we will always be thankful for that. Jim, Margie and Jeff.