Hmm, Nebraska? Where to start? I don’t know ANY one who has ever lived in Nebraska, let alone stationed there.
So I started with by checking for the closest Children’s Hospital to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha. My son has cerebral palsy and has many pediatric doctors so I figured this was a good start.
Success! I found one right in Omaha called Children’s Hospital and Medical Center that has been nationally ranked for their cardiology and orthopedics. Sounded good to me!
Next, I looked for a place to get outpatient Occupational and Physical Therapy. The hospital probably offers it, however, here in Rhode Island there is a clinic that is awesome. It is independent from the hospital network and just feels more fun and less clinical. My son sees enough doctors and the less he can be in the “doctor-ish” atmosphere the better. As he gets older I’m thinking therapy will tend to be something he might not want to do. So if I can help therapy be fun, perhaps I can delay this being an issue. With this in mind, I looked for a similar clinic in Nebraska. I found this really cool place called, Theraplayce. If you live in the Omaha school district, the school will actually bring you to therapy and then back to school. If you live outside of Omaha, you can have them pick up your child from school for a small fee. I think this is an excellent idea, especially for families where both parents work and have to juggle many things in their schedules. Theraplayce is also a licensed facility for childcare, so if you need respite care or just need to run errands during your child’s session, they encourage that. This is rare, as everywhere else we’ve been wasn’t licensed and for legal reasons required a parent to be present the entire time.
Next, I searched for schools. I was looking for a Montessori school because both of my boys currently attend one and I am happy with the method for different reasons. My older son has especially thrived in the Montessori atmosphere. Since this will be his fourth school in less than 3 years, I really wanted to make his transition as painless as possible. He already misses his friends from Virginia and I anticipate that he’ll be equally sad about leaving his new friends in Rhode Island. For my younger son, he started his first Montessori year last Fall in Virginia and then continued in Rhode Island and it has been remarkable for him. The lessons are “hands on” and many of them encourage bilateral activity. We have noticed an increased desire in him for wanting to use both hands and also a boost in his self esteem. We definitely want to continue with this. Since Montessori classrooms all have the same feel to them, hopefully it will be easier for both of them to adapt.
So I went to the American Montessori Society website to find a list of schools in the Omaha, Nebraska area. I found four. The first one was Montessori Educational Centers. They have a handful of campuses across the Omaha area. One problem I had was that the boys would be in separate schools (and I would have to drive to both). It was not a deal breaker though. I called and got their voice mail. I left a message and went on to call the 2nd school.
When I called I find out this school did not have an elementary class. However, the owner was very helpful. She told me that there are two public Montessori schools in the area and that they are free. Wonderful! Those public schools were actually number three on my list. I had never heard of this, but the owner said the Montessori method is implemented into the teachings. Awesome! However, upon further digging I found out her child attended one of these schools, but ended up withdrawing due to various issues. So then I asked her point blank, “where do you recommend?” For public schools she recommended the Milliard, 66, and Elkhorn public schools. For private school she recommended Montessori Children’s Room (number four on my list). She tells me parents travel long distances to get their children to this school so getting in might be difficult.
Which brings me to number four on my list. I called this school and find it was my lucky day. Just the day before, a child in elementary would be moving to Colorado which created an opening. Woohoo! The Children’s House classroom (3-6 year olds) for my youngest son also has a few openings. I told her we were extremely interested. So she put our name down and said she would mail me the appropriate forms. Great, I checked schools off the list.
Next, I had to research where to live. I found a few forums online and from them I came to the conclusion that Papillion, Ralston, and La Vista are all nice areas.
I also found out that in Bellevue, the area where the base is located, the streets of 25th to 36th street (East to West) and Capehart to Platteview Roads (North to South) are also nice.
I was also able to talk with a friend who has two friends that either live there now and or have lived there, so it will be great to be able to fine tune my research findings. So while I have no direct experience with any of these places, perhaps this post will help you if you end up getting orders to Omaha, Nebraska one day. If you are reading this and have been stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, please fill out a review.