How do I find a preschool for a 3 year old? — The Bump

How do I find a preschool for a 3 year old?

I really want to put my 3 year old in preschool in the fall, but I don't know where to start even looking! I did call the 3 school in my area, but none of them take 3 year olds. And that's awesome for those of you who can afford 200 bucks a week for a montessori school, but I simply can't afford that. Help?!?

Re: How do I find a preschool for a 3 year old?

  • A lot of churches have preschools. You might start there. All the ones around here start at 3, but maybe it's different in your area.

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  • First--your children are beautiful!  So cute!

    I would start with a general "google search" of preschools in your area.  Once you get a list of the ones you're interested in you can make phone calls and ask some general questions and then maybe take a tour.  Like the previous poster mentioned, lots of churches have preschools and there are also early learning centers that take infants and go all the way up to kindergarten.  DD attended one of those (part time--3 days a week, all day) when we lived in California and I think it really helped get her ready for the school she attends currently.  If you're not wanting to spend alot of money, a part-time schedule may be good for you because your 3 year old can go to school but you won't have to pay alot of money since they won't be there every day.  GL! 

  • I started out with a preschool information fair at our local parks & rec; they have one every spring, and it's held right after my DD1's toddler activity class. I went and got a whole bunch of brochures, information folders, talked to school reps, etc. 

    Then I started googling things like "preschool mycity", and expanded to neighboring cities and/or county names. I had a general area that I wanted to look in (between our house and DH's job).

    I would go to the school's web site and jot down info in a notebook -- most of them had tuition/application fees, age restrictions, curriculum, etc. online. Then I started ruling them out, based on location, cost, age restrictions or whatever (I ruled out several that came off more like daycares). I also made note of the ones that seemed particularly appealing where I should think about calling for more information and/or scheduling a tour.  

    I think I also took a look at the local yellow pages just to make sure I wasn't missing anything obvious.  

    Eventually I was able to narrow it down to about five possibilities, and then I started doing drive-bys to see what the outside of the facility looked like and whether the drive was reasonable from our house. From there I ruled out a couple more, scheduled three tours, and picked one of the three.  


    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • Most preschools in our area are co-op only.  I couldn't do that with DS2 and when I happened to drive by DS1's current preschool I saw they staretd at 2yo.  I called and asked if they had scholarships available.  They didn't advertise it but scholarships cut our prek cost in HALF just because I asked.  I only knew to ask because our home church offers scholarships and I knew about that (but DS1 is not old enough for our church's preschool).  Check out your local churches, I think most offer scholarships even if they are not advertised!
    Caleb.02.01.08 | Asher.07.06.09 | Jude.01.19.12
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  • We checked at our local Catholic elementary schools and both local ones had pre-K3 and pre-K4.  Their program only runs during the school year so if you are working you would need to have something else for summer, but they were very affordable with half and full day options, and even extended day care that was super reasonable.  Plus the program seemed like a perfect blend of fun and learning.  You might try googling pre-K3 as your search term since that is specific to 3 year olds.
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