Before I was known as “Mr. Tom”, I was just like you, a parent wanting the best for my preschool-aged children. After 3 children and 7 ½ years of drop-offs and pickups, tears and laughs, field trips and splash days, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the things I learned along the way. You may think that some of these tips are silly or obvious, but some times it’s the most obvious things that escape us. In this series, I hope to choose a single topic and share with you the things it took me years to figure out.


It doesn’t matter who you are or how you get here, the parking lot is your initial experience of the school. These simple tips will make it safer for the entire CMP family and make the experience a little less stressful.

tom with his children at the beach
  1. SLOW it down on the way in! – No matter how late you may be running, you won’t save any time by rushing into the parking lot. Drop off and pick up times are hectic. People are walking in every direction, cars are waiting for parking spots, others are pulling out. Take your time coming into the parking
  2. 3 places to park – There are 3 lots here at CMP. We have the bottom lot, closest to the entrance. Our middle lot is between the 4-year-old playground and Tinkering Hollow. Finally, our “top” lot can be found just past the soccer field. While it may take a few more minutes to walk your child in or pick them up, taking advantage of other lots may speed up your time here and will reduce the likelihood of cars backing up into Carmel Mountain Road (which is a super busy street, especially when the high school next door is in session).
  3. Park in between lines – Sounds simple, but one car parked incorrectly can screw up an already tight lot. Don’t let the parking block fool you, please pay attention to the lines!
  4. Hold your child’s hand when walking in the lots – Another simple sounding concept, but one that people surprisingly ignore at times. Children can be unpredictable in their paths from A to B and usually don’t pay attention to potential dangers. Play it safe and hold their hands until you are past the entrance gates.
  5. SLOW it down on the way out! – Just like on the way in, keep it safe on your way home!
  6. Stop signs and Lines – There are several stop signs and lines in the parking lot. The one most often ignored is the stop line at the exit. Lots of folks are so busy looking up the street to see if there is any traffic coming that they ignore the line and, potentially, any travelers coming eastbound on the side walk. We have walkers, the high school running teams and even a bicycle or two coming up in that direction! Again, obey the stop signs and lines and come to complete stops!

None of these points are revolutionary or outrageous. But, with our fast-moving world only getting faster, we really do need to focus on the little things. Following these tips will make drop-off and pick-up safer and less stressful.