Austin Construction News, January 2002 | Rocking Horse Academy

A love of learning is the motto at the soon-to-be-built Rocking Horse Academy in Kyle.

Jane Terrel, owner of the academy, and her daughter, Rachel Wahlig, academy director, contracted MST Constructors, Inc. to build the facility. Both women want to impart an early desire of learning in children, in an atmosphere that feels like home.

"Honestly, what I want for the academy is the feeling of going to a grandmother's house, where children will be loved and taken care of, but also will learn," Terrel said.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the 16,000-sq.-ft academy was held Nov. 20th. Construction should be complete by April or May of this year.

Finding a facility, with both childcare and education services for Terrel's grandchildren spurred the idea to build the $2.4 million academy.

"My two daughters, Rachel and Rebecca, were looking to find suitable daycare and school facilities for their own children," Terrel said. "Rebecca lives in south Austin and Rachel lives in north. Neither area seemed to have the type of daycare facility either mother was looking for."

Terrel made calls to contractors to find someone interested in building the facility in south Austin. Buda-based MST Constructors, Inc. suggested the Kyle area was possibly a better place for the academy.

"There was such a need for the Kyle community to have a facility like this," Brie Carlson, director of sales and marketing for MST Constructors, Inc. said. "Kyle has seen sudden growth with young families and first-time homebuyers. The demand for quality childcare there is enormous, since there virtually is none with the kind of services Rocking Horse Academy will provide. Typically, the residents drive into Austin and other locations for childcare.

Terrel has recently returned from 28 years of teaching high school. Beforehand, she taught on the college level for 15 years.

"I know on the back-end what children come into high school not knowing," Terrel said. "I believe a lot of it has to do with a lack of preparation during early childhood development."

Wahlig has her degree in early childhood education and has worked at Buda Primary School and at a daycare in Buda for the last two years.

The academy, located in the new Plum Creek subdivision, constructed by Bench Mark Development, will serve the entire Kyle community.

"We welcome the Rocking Horse Academy to Kyle," Mayor James L. Adkinds said. "It is an extension of convenience for working families in Kyle, and will offer a safe place for parents to leave their children while working. We look forward to having Rocking Horse Academy as a member of our community."

The academy plans to enroll approximately 300 students. Daycare will be provided for children from six weeks to five years of age, and the after-school program will serve those children ages five through 11.

The facility will have 10 classrooms, a large room with a combined use for a gym, cafeteria, auditorium, three separate playgrounds, and a library. A computer lab will allow students, starting at age one, to become familiar with computer functions by the time they enter elementary school. As well, everyday teachers will give a lesson, teaching such things as numbers and colors in Spanish.

"I'm going to do what I can to provide the education for as many children as I can," Terrel said. "I want to reach back a little bit to the day when children were taught to respect education and teachers and love going to school. I think so much of that has been lost. I named the academy Rocking Horse because rocking horses remind me of that old-fashioned feeling back to that time."