Preschools

The good news about living in the Greater Boston Area is that there is a preschool for every child. In fact, there are over 300 public and private prekindergarten programs, nursery schools and day care centers in the metropolitan area--all with different personalities.  Preschools differ by cost, ranging from free to over $20,000 per year. Although most parents send their children to preschool from ages 2 to 4 years old, some preschools accept 6 week old babies. Many day care centers offer services from 8 AM through 6 PM, 52 weeks per year. In addition, there about 2,000 seats in public preschools for 3- and 4-year-olds in Boston. This section will help you:

  • Understand the preschool application process
  • Identify your child's educational profile as well as your family's academic goals and practical concerns
  • Select the school with the characteristics that best suit your child's and family's needs
  • Learn about the services that Eduprofile offers.

The Admissions Process

In general, students are sent to preschool between the ages of 2 and 4; however, some day care centers have programs that serve children as young as 6 weeks old. Most nursery schools begin accepting applications in September, the year before your child will enroll. In addition, many schools require you to apply before they allow you to tour the school. Since many good nursery schools fill up quickly, it is wise to select a few schools in which you are interested during the summer and call them right after Labor Day to request an application. After the schools receive your applications, they will contact you to schedule a tour as well as student and parent interviews.

To obtain more detailed information about applying to private preschools, please click on the Private Preschool Admissions Process link.

To obtain more detailed information about applying to Boston public preschools, please click on the Boston Public Preschool Admissions Process link.

To learn more about the registration rules and requirements of the Cambridge public school system, please click on the Cambridge Public School Education Process link.

Please see the handout section near the bottom of the parent guide for tips regarding the school tours, student and parent interviews, admissions officers' pet peeves, admissions decisions and financial aid.

Your Child's and Family's Educational Profile

Before searching for preschools, you need to understand your child’s educational profile as well as clarify your family's academic goals and practical concerns. What skills do you want the preschool to emphasize? What teaching approach is best suited for your child? How much are you willing to pay for preschool? This section will help you ask the right questions to identify the characteristics of preschools that will best suit your child's and family's needs.

To identify which schools meet your needs, you will first have to consider your child’s educational profile as well as your family’s educational goals and practical concerns.

Child's Educational Profile

Your child's educational profile consists of the following characteristics:

Please click here to learn more about these aspects of your child's educational profile.

Your Family's Educational Goals And Practical Considerations

Regardless of your child’s skill development and interests, parents may also have academic goals and/or practical considerations that are important. Some educational issues that you may want to consider are:

Moreover, there could be some practical considerations that may be important, including:

  • School schedule
  • Transportation
  • Location
  • Cost

Please click here to learn more about your family's educational goals and practical concerns.

Selecting Preschools

There are over 150 public pre-kindergarten programs as well as more than 150 private preschools and day care centers in the Greater Boston Area. They vary by cost, educational approach, size, religious affiliation and the number of hours and days they offer preschool programs. To identify which schools meet your needs, you will have to consider your child’s academic and social profile as well as your family’s academic goals and practical needs.This section explains the various educational philosophies to which the preschools adhere and the differences between public and private preschools.

Educational Philosophies

Although there are three main approaches to preschool education—MontessoriDevelopmental, and Traditional—there are many preschools that follow different educational philosophies. Eclectic preschools choose not to ascribe to any one of the three aforementioned approaches but combine at least two of the three. Moreover, there are play-basedReggio EmiliaWaldorf and cooperative preschools. There are also hundreds of day care centers around the city that are less structured than nursery schools but offer longer hours in an intellectually and socially stimulating environment.

Please click on preschool educational philosophies to learn more about the different approaches to early childhood education.

Public vs. Private Schools

There are many good pre-kindergarten opportunities that are free. Unfortunately, there are not enough seats to accommodate all of the 3- or 4-year-olds in Boston; however, the City is planning on increasing the capacity.

There are also more than 150 of private nursery schools and day care centers that provide an excellent education. They tend to serve younger children, hold longer hours, have smaller class sizes and provide more resources. Unfortunately, they are not free.

Resources and Our Services

To help parents navigate the preschool admissions process, we offer several services including:

  • A preschool finder and comparison tool
  • Handouts to prepare for school tours and interviews
  • Eduprofile
  • Workshops
  • Individual consulting

School Finder and Comparison Tool

To help parents navigate the preschool admissions process, this website has a preschool finder as well as a comparison tool that will allow parents to identify a set of preschools that meet their child's and family's needs as well as compare these schools' characteristics (e.g., educational philosophy, cost, hours and days of service provided). Please click on the School Finder tab to learn more about this service.

Handouts

Moreover, the website has handouts that help parents prepare for the school tour, child and parent interviews, reference letters, admissions officers' pet peeves and admissions decisions.

Please click on the following links to download the handouts:

    We also provide more personal services to help parents navigate the preschool admissions process, including Eduprofile, workshops and individual consulting. The remaining section describes these services in greater detail. To learn how to purchase these services, please click on the Our Services tab.

    Eduprofile

    We have created a survey that will help us determine your child’s educational profile as well as your family’s educational goals and practical concerns. More specifically, the questionnaire asks you about your child’s basic learning capacity, skill development, learning styles, motivation to learn, social temperament and disabilities. In addition, the survey asks parents questions regarding the importance of various educational characteristics (e.g., what content is emphasized, teaching methods, classroom behavior management approach, school community and feeder schools) as well as any practical considerations that are important, including the school’s type, location, educational approach, schedule, transportation, and cost. Once we have reviewed the survey, we will send you information about your child’s educational profile as well as a list of school that we think will meet your needs.

    Workshops

    We offer two 2-hour preschool workshops to provide assistance with:

    1. Navigating the preschool admissions process
    2. Preparing children for the kindergarten standardized tests

    The preschool admissions process workshop provides parents with tips regarding the following:

    1. How to identify the preschools that meet your family’s needs,
    2. The logistics of the admissions process,
    3. Touring schools,
    4. Parent interviews,
    5. Preparing your child for interviews,
    6. Writing a compelling essay, and
    7. Juggling acceptances and wait-list offers. 

    Most parents do not understand why your four-year-old child has to take standardized tests to enroll in kindergarten. The second workshop, preparing students for standardized tests, explains the rational behind the admissions tests required by many kindergarten programs. Attendees will also receive material with a list of activities that have helped other parents nurture their children’s intellectual skills in a natural, playful setting. Parents will also learn how to help their child be as comfortable as possible on the date of the test.

    Individual Consulting Services

    We provide individual consulting services to parents who would like help navigating the public and private preschool admissions process. More specifically, we can assist parents with any one or more of the following steps:

    1. Develop your child's and family's educational profile
    2. Identify the preschools that meet your child’s and family’s needs
    3. Understand the logistics of the admissions process
    4. Prepare for the school tours as well as the parent and student interviews
    5. Complete the application and write a compelling essay
    6. Select the best school for your child and family