From experience, we know that there is a process by which we go about choosing the pre schools that our children attend. I knew that my husband and I had to find our daughter a great elementary, middle and high school. Then our search for a great college would begin. I never imagined that the search for great preschools in Queens would be as difficult as finding a great college. The pre-school hunt can be time consuming and daunting, at times, but there are a number of great schools in Queens that may fit your needs. Looking for more? check out 110 classes for kids in Queens.
First, let’s dispense with the basics. Preschool differs from daycare in that most preschools begin admitting students once they turn age two, while daycare centers run the gamut from three months in age and on. A reputable preschool will have a clear philosophy about learning and student engagement, and will have a curriculum that they share openly with prospective parents. Many pre-schools also run on a schedule similar to the school day and school year of the New York City Board of Education (therefore, finding alternate care for when they close may become a necessity). Daycare centers are hit or miss. Some are fantastic, and operate like pre-schools, while others simply babysit. To find a good pre-school in your area, you need to research, ask (or look) for parent reviews, and go for a visit. Go for a visit during school hours, not during a weekend open house, this way you get to see the kids and staff in action. We’ve compiled a list of pre-schools in various parts of Queens that are well regarded and reviewed. They all have varying admissions policies and costs. If you’re looking for a school for your child, be sure to check these out:
1. 82nd Street Academics in Jackson Heights
Yearly Tuition: $2690.00-$12,790 (depending on days and times of the program you choose)
82nd Street Academics provides a number of choices for parents, including morning and afternoon sessions of half-day programs, and three different full day programs. Their curriculum is essentially play-based, allowing children to interact with each other in small group settings or learn on their own. Admission is by registration and availability. The also offer free Universal Pre-K.
2. Learning Tree in Middle Village
Yearly Tuition: $3650-$8950 (depending on days and times of the program you choose)
They follow the New York State Learning Standards for what should be taught, but attempt to tailor instruction to fit the individual needs of their students. They also offer flexible schedules for their students and families. They also offer bus service at an additional cost. Applicants are encouraged to contact their director to schedule a tour before applying.
3. Jackson Heights Early Learning Center
The center is very relaxed and the instruction is play based. Admission is on a rolling basis, and depends on availability. For example, they only have space in the afternoon program at this point. However, if you are enrolling for September, as with most pre-schools, there is space. They offer two locations and encourage parents to come in for informal tours.
4. The Corner School Nursery and Kindergarten in Bayside
Yearly tuition: for five days a week $6870
Like other pre-schools, this school’s curriculum is play based. The children get to interact with each other or work individually. There are lots of options in terms of activities the kids engage in during the day to stimulate their learning and social development. Parents generally like the school and find the staff to be excellent. Admissions is on a rolling basis and based on availability of seats.
5. Les Enfants Montessori School in Long Island City
Yearly tuition: $9,350
This school follows the montessori method. Simply put, the montessori method of teaching is one that relies on self-directed learning. Students are allowed to progress at their own rates of learning. There are a number of different activities that allow students to express themselves and grow. They offer open houses, but you can also call and schedule a tour.
6. ABC Pre-School and Kindergarten in Woodside
The philosophy of ABC Pre-School and Kindergarten is to focus on the development of the whole child. Their program encourages traditional academic pursuits in a fun environment that allows students to progress with guidance. This school offers a beautiful facility, filled with caring staff and great kids. They also provide a big outdoor play area for their students.
7. The Church in the Gardens Community House in Forest Hills
Yearly Tuition: $10,200 for full day
This is a highly sought after Pre-school, and putting your child on the waiting list ASAP is highly advisable. They offer a program that allows kids to enjoy varied activities that promote social, emotional and academic growth. They also offer two playgrounds, so kids can really enjoy the outdoors. Students are admitted in September, and parents are asked to place their names on a list and tour the school before registering.
8. ICCD – Interdisciplinary Center for Child Development
Originally founded to cater to kids with disabilities, ICCD now offers a variety of programming for all kids. They offer nursery school classes, integrated classes that includes kids with special needs, and self-contained special education programs. Their class sizes are small and allow for great student-teacher interaction. Because of their unique set-up, they have therapists, psychologists, and social workers as part of their educational team. They also have a variety of locations throughout Queens.
9. The Crayon Box Preschool in Flushing
Yearly Tuition: $7,400 (More if you choose an extended day program.)
This school, like others, offers a play based curriculum that allows students to learn and progress in a nurturing environment. They also offer spacious indoor and outdoor play spaces for their students. The school has a cut-off age of 2 years 9 months before a child is eligible to enter, but admissions is on a rolling basis. They also offer flexible schedules, including different five days a week options. Unlike many places, The Crayon Box does offer an adjustment period. If you choose to withdraw your child during this time period, unused tuition will be refunded. Enrollment is on a space availability basis.
10. Little Meadows Early Childhood Center in Fresh Meadows
Little Meadows is an integrated setting where students with and without disabilities play and learn together. They also offer flexible school hours that include two, three and five they programs, and a UPK program. The center offers integrated programming at their main site in Fresh meadows, and in four other community nursery schools throughout Queens. They offer an number of services to their students, including speech and physical therapy, and they offer free evaluations for children with developmental needs. Little Meadows also offers early intervention services for children from birth to three years old. Admissions is on a rolling basis and you are encouraged to tour the facility.
Preschool Application Tips
- Start early- This is not Manhattan where very preschool has a wait list for 3 years but it is a good thing to start a year before you are looking to get your child into school. There are application processes and interviews that you will need to prepare for.
- Don’t stress- Be polite, clear and timely when contacting your potential school. This will show them that you are serious and committed to your child’s education. A mom who shows up late to a preschool interview or open house with half her paperwork filled out is not making the best first impression. Make no mistake, you are being interviewed as much as your child.
- Practice- This is your child’s first experience with school so make sure that you both are prepared for what is to come. Practice being on time, answering questions, and some basic handwriting. The more relaxed and comfortable your child is with this process, the more you can all chill out.
As with anything you do for your children, our advice to you is to research as much as possible, take as many tours (with your child preferably) as possible, and ask questions. Choose the school that fits your needs best, and go with you gut instinct about what school will be good for your child. Good luck in your search.