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Preschools in Boston Series: 5 Preschools in Cambridge

by Julie Marden

We continue our Preschools in Boston series with a glimpse at five Cambridge preschools, from one of the oldest parent cooperatives in the country to a Harvard affiliated non-profit childcare center. Granted, some of these have long wait lists, but there are a surprising handful of openings right now.

We’ve provided an overview of the school philosophies and basic requirements below, but a look at these schools’ websites – and, of course, a visit! – is highly recommended as you begin to clarify your hopes and requirements for your children and their educational paths.


Create Your Own Preschool Co-Op

I opted for a parent-founded preschool co-op for my 2-year-old and couldn't be happier. Our preschool co-op meets for two hours on Fridays at a local church's nursery space. This type of preschool alternative can be a great option for families overwhelmed by the preschool admissions process. However, a few weeks into the experiment, our small group of parents has already learned from our early mistakes in planning the co-op, or rather over-planning it! 

I'm happy to share some of what’s working and what hasn’t in case it might help other like-minded parents succeed in building their own preschool co-op. 

Preschool Co-Op: How to Start an At-Home, Parent-Led Program

One of the urban legends spread to NYC parents is that you have to sign your children up for preschool while they're still in the womb. This isn't true. In fact, preschool is optional and there are lots of options out there from full day preschools to half day, preschool alternatives and enriching and nurturing day cares.

Our family decided to do something completely different and join some friends as part of a parent-led preschool co-op with our 2-year-old. I recently met with other moms who've done it before to hear their experience and tips on making it a success. 

Will Nursery University Preschool Documentary Make "Park Bench Wisdom" Wiser?

Getting into a preschool in NYC is harder than getting into Harvard. That's the premise of a new documentary about the preschool admissions process in NYC. Nursery University follows six families from different walks of life as they navigate, ruminate and, ultimately, dominate the preschool process.

Nursery University starts by drawing you in to the all too familiar drama of NYC preschool admissions, beautifully capturing every piece of "park bench wisdom" that's ever passed the lips of a distraught NYC parent. Beware: this part of the film made me so sick I almost stopped watching it, about to shrug Nursery University off as yet another piece of media hype feeding the fire of parent's anxiety rather than portraying a real and balanced picture of preschool admissions.

It turns out the directors had me just where they wanted me.

How to Get a Spot in Pre-K for This Year!

The DOE has left 6000 Pre-K spots vacant this school year and is now scrambling to fill them. With a deadline of October 31st, the city is urging parents to apply for these free public Pre-K spots still available at some of NYC's top public schools. We've got the inside scoop on what's going on and how to get one of these free Pre-K spots.

Think Outside the Preschool Box with these Creativity-Based Preschool Alternatives

Picture 12.pngThis is traditionally the week that competitive preschools open their application process, but more and more parents, tired of vying for the same few spots, are opting out of the preschool rat race and looking to preschool alternatives. At the same time, some dedicated parents are creating their own alternatives by starting co-operative neighborhood preschools.

Preschool is a magical time and a lot of that magic comes from the warm, nurturing, creative environment of the school. Little neighborhood preschools and preschool alternatives, whether started by parents or well established can make the preschool years the most magical ones of all.

Blue Man Creativity Center, Reggio Emilia and Preschool Parenting Talk

You know the main thing I worry my kids are missing out on in their education in New York? It's not so much math, social studies or reading. It's Creativity. I don't mean art. I mean just random, wacky NYC Creativity. This post is about a really cool new preschool, a hot educational philosophy, and a preschool parenting talk that are all aimed at putting more of that big C type of creativity back into childhood.

153 preschools you don't have to call on Sept. 4

It's pretty much generally accepted knowledge that to get your toddler into preschool in NYC one has to sit on the phone with her fingers hovering over the redial button on the day after Labor Day in order to be one of the lucky few who will receive an application - forget about getting accepted.

While it's true that there are a handful of schools that really do seem to put their prospective parents through this absurd torture, for the most part this whole story is a big myth. I'm not saying that getting into preschool in NYC is easy (actually it can be), but there is absolutely no reason why schools should make parents do this and very few still do.


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