DS Schools had just decided to stay remote for the first 6 weeks of the fall semester and there was a big battle between the parents on both sides of the aisle about how things in the public schools should be handled. Many, including myself, pulled their kids from public school and homeschooled for a season. There were so many of us swimming in curriculum research, buying math blocks, linking up in “pods” and reading books on different education ideologies.
It was an intense time to be a parent of school age kids!
Cassidy decided to open up a faith based pre-school during this time and it drew such a huge base of families into it that she now has a bigger building and is expanding the grades that she services! Read more about Cassidy Sullivan here…
Hey Cassidy..tell us about you and your family! How long have you lived in Dripping Springs?
My husband, Sean and I met in college in 2008 and got married in 2013. We have three kids. Clark is six, Faye is almost four, and Hugh just turned one. We moved to Texas from Southern California in 2017 to South Austin. We landed in our Headwaters home in 2019. We chose Dripping for the family-centered offerings and wonderful community. My husband works from home in the healthcare industry and I am a Speech Language Pathologist. We are foodies, love live music, family game nights, and a fun DIY home project.
What made you decide to start Edelwise?
It was June 2020. Sean and I, just like everyone at the time, had conversations about the coming school year and the work changes I would experience through COVID. We prayed for direction and I started talking about a possible solution to our concerns with friends. Our family priorities were that our kids got to be with their peers, that masks were optional, and that they could continue to grow their faith in their school environment. The kids and I would drive around scouting locations daily. I signed a one year lease and we made moves to open in September.
I taught the 2 and 3 year olds while pregnant with Hugh. I hired an awesome preschool teacher from my neighborhood to teach the 4 and 5 year olds. We had enough enrolled to pay rent and another teacher. There was so much unknown but I had such peace over what we were doing. Going into our third year, we’ve learned so much and I am undone by the community God has formed thus far.
Where did you come up with the name?
Edelwise! Yes, the name had to come quickly because as I shared my idea at the start, everyone had to know what we would call it.
The Sound of Music is dear to my family. Edelweiss is my baby lullaby and my kids sing the lyrics to all the songs loud and proud. I needed to change the spelling and it stuck.
Do you have a background in education?
Yes, I am a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist. I graduated with my Master’s from University of the Pacific in California in 2011. I have worked in many different settings from Head Start preschools to big school districts and private practices. My students have been anywhere from birth to 21 years of age with varying needs. My favorite aspects of my career have been working closely with parents, teachers, psychologists, and other physical/occupational therapists. I have been blessed to learn from incredible professionals. My husband jokes that I’m a lifer when it comes to continuing education. I love everything about child development.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Speaking of teaching…We have the BEST teachers. The families in our community and I are so thankful for the love and dedication they pour into our kids.
I would say our teaching philosophy is a mix of a few things. Being a speech language pathologist, I am passionate about PLAY for this age group. We also love partnering with parents in validating feelings, equipping with calming strategies, and guiding resolution with respect for themselves and their new-found friends at school.
We exist to meet children where they are at developmentally. Themes guide our monthly curriculum. We provide multisensory experiences for them to explore new concepts and practice new skills. We leave space and time for the kids to lead in their topics of interest. Our schedule honors the kids’ needs for movement, outside time, music, free play, and any support needed to build self-regulation and positive peer relationships.
Our oldest group, the 5-7 year olds, will be using a homeschool curriculum that combines Charlotte Mason ideas and classical education, with a biblical worldview. They will have Spanish/ASL and musical instrument instruction weekly.
What is your favorite part of the day for the kids who attend?
This is such a fun question! It must be when we gather as a big group for prayer, pledge, and worship. The kids are so committed to this time. They love the chance to share what’s on their hearts and can tell that their voice matters. Another favorite would be outside time, watching the kids initiate games together and problem solve as a group.
Do you plan to expand to higher grade levels?
This fall we have added a Kinder/1st combination class. We are so excited to be offering a Monday-Thursday 8:30-2pm schedule with ample outside time and free play for this age group. My short answer is yes. God has been so faithful every step of the way. When I’m filled with concern and fear, I’m quick to surrender this endeavor because it’s His will, not mine.
I am very transparent with families that are currently with us and interested in growth. We are always looking for teachers who share our educational philosophy and vision for these early elementary years. And it all comes down to funding of course.
What makes you excited to come to work everyday?
Being with my own children at school, watching their friendships bloom with others, and taking in the weight of the fact that other parents trust me and my staff to care for their most precious possessions. It’s the privilege and calling of a lifetime. I love being in the company of our staff. They are individually and collectively such hard-working, patient, and fun human beings.
What do you want the kids to remember after they graduate from your program?
From the wise words of Julie Richard, leader of the Fearless Mom ministry at Lake Hills Church, “You were created on purpose, with a purpose, and for a purpose.” I want them to know that God has big plans for their lives and they always have a home at Edelwise.
What do you love about running your business in Dripping Springs?
This is the best community. People are kind, quick to serve, and genuinely care about local businesses. I have seen countless instances of businesses supporting each other in different ways. I love being able to communicate positively with other school owner/directors as we continue to serve the children of our area!
Where do you recommend new moms connect with other moms when they first move into Dripping?
Uprooting your life and being new isn’t always easy. I don’t love social media but I will say Facebook can be your friend in this instance.
Connect with your neighborhood group and Dripping Springs Mamas.
While you’re at it, add yourself to the DS! Sitters page so you can do some exploring on your own as well.
Depending on the age of your children, get brave and chatty at a local park or brewery playground. We have some great local mom ministries through churches in the area (MOPS, MOMs). When I moved to Austin, I joined Fearless Mom at Lake Hills Church. It’s in Bee Cave, provides childcare, and starts back up in the fall. Mercer Street often hosts ticketed Girls Night Out events to come shop, receive discounts, take photos, and meet new friends. I believe the next one, “Flamingle” is Aug. 4th from 12-9pm.
If you could spend a day taking your pre-K kids on a local adventure, where would you take them?
An adventure, YAY! We would have to visit Ms. Tammy on the Hamilton Pool Vineyards Farm to see the animals, harvest some veggies, learn about the bees, and make some tea. From one school program to another, my kids have LOVED Friday Farm school. They started around the same time Edelwise did and our family was so thankful for the outdoor experiences they have provided.
How can we find you on social media?
We currently only use Facebook for a private parent group for teachers to send weekly updates and photos. You can visit our website to learn more about our program at www.edelwiseds.org
Are you interested in learning more about the local public or private school, homeschool and pre-ks in Dripping Springs? Just email or text me and I’ll be happy to tell you more about them!
Considering moving to Dripping Springs? I would love to help you buy or sell real estate in this area! Just reach out to me at 512-569-8480 or firstname.lastname@example.org