Preschools in Boston Series: 5 Preschools, 5 Philosophies

by Julie Marden

For any parent, choosing a preschool can feel overwhelming, especially in an educational center like Boston.  But even the best schools vary in tradition and curriculum; what may be right for one family may not be for another.  As many schools are already accepting applications for the 2012-13 school year (and most have an application deadline at the end of January 2012), now is the time to begin your search. To start you off, here’s a breakdown of five different but exciting nursery schools in Boston.  


The Advent School (15 Brimmer Street, Boston; 617.742.0520) is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Esplanade embankment of the Charles River, The Advent School  bases its preschool and kindergarten curriculum in the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Social justice is an important theme for the entire school, which runs through the 6th grade. The school is nonsectarian and enjoys a partnership with Lesley University. 

To enroll in the Early Childhood Center, children must be 4 years old by September 1.  Preschool classes are for children ages 4 and 5; there is also a kindergarten.

Application deadline for fall 2012: 1/16/2012. Tuition for Early Childhood Center and Kindergarten is  $20,400.  Financial aid is available for qualified families.

The Charlestown Cooperative Nursery School  (124 Main Street, Charlestown, MA 02129; 617.242.5159) offers Reggio Emilia programs for children ages 2 to 5. The toddler program ( 2 year olds) includes 9 children per class and both morning and afternoon toddler classes; the preschool is divided into mixed age groups of 3, 4, and 5 year olds. Each preschool class has 2 teachers and 1 parent aid. A training location for student teachers, the school enjoys partnerships with the BU Child Cognition Lab, Tufts, and Harvard’s Project Zero. Aftercare is offered. Tuition for preschool runs from $6800 to $8500 with lots of “a la carte” possibilities. 

Regular admissions deadline for fall 2012: 1/30/2012.  “Early admission” applications are accepted between 11/15/11 and 1/15/12. No financial aid at present.

The Frances Jacobsen Early Childhood Center at Temple Israel  (477 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA, 617.739.6455) offers preschool programs for children ages 2-5. The curriculum is steeped in Judaic tradition (including Hebrew) and incorporates a mixture of Montessori and Waldorf philosophy.   There is an early morning program (8am-9am) and an extended day program (1pm-3pm). The school program runs from 9am-12pm. Students need not be Jewish to attend; the school prides itself on its diversity. The school’s philosophy is “rooted in the need to foster respect for one another, individual dignity, and self worth.”

The school has rolling admissions and is currently registering students for fall 2012.  Preschool tuition is in the $17 -18,000 range, with a per hour after school program fee. Financial aid is available for qualified families.

The Kingsley Montessori School (30 Fairfield Street Boston, MA 02116-2592; 617.536.0510) offers a full Montessori curriculum that includes Spanish to children ages 3-6.  There is also a toddler program, and a kindergarten bridges the preschool program to the elementary school, which continues through Grade 6. Tuition for the toddler and preschool programs run from $16,300 (toddler morning)  to $20,900 (preschool with extended day). 

The school has rolling admissions and is currently accepting applications for fall 2012.  Financial aid is available to qualified families. 

The Torit Montessori School (41 Bromfield St. and 45 Province St. Boston 617-292-5181) supplements its Montessori pre-primary school for 3-6 year olds with an infant care program, which is located at the new Province Street location. Another unique aspect is the school’s foreign language program. Families choose either Spanish, Arabic, or Mandarin, starting even in the infant care program. Torit also offers the “Music Together” preschool program to its students.

Enrollment is ongoing and first-come, first serve. Preschool tuition ranges from $13,100 to $19,300, with additional charges for after care between 3 and 6 pm. Financial aid is available to qualified families.

 Of course, these five schools barely scratch the surface. There are many other fine schools to choose from, but hopefully this gives a sampling of the variety of preschools available in a city famous for education. Please add your favorite schools in the comment field below.