Popular Upper West Side Preschools (and How to Know Which One Is Best for You)

Students at the Montclare Children's School attend classes in a landmarked building and study a child-centered curriculum. Photo courtesy of the school
Students at the Montclare Children's School attend classes in a landmarked building and study a child-centered curriculum. Photo courtesy of the school

Navigating the great preschool hunt at this point in time might seem exceptionally daunting, and in neighborhoods like the family-packed Upper West Side, where preschool spots are in high demand, it can feel as if you're trying to get your toddler into college!

But, fear not: The Upper West Side is home to a lot of great preschools, and your odds of finding a comfortable fit for your family are excellent. We've compiled a helpful list of preschool admissions tips as well as 10 questions to ask during a preschool tour, to set you on a good path.

Below, find Upper West Side preschools, divided by type, to help you start your search, and don't forget our Preschool Directory is an excellent resource to find more programs as well.

A quick overview of some of the preschool categories below:

  • A traditional preschool follows the NYC public school calendar and runs from September to June, with a curriculum that reflects the school's unique educational mission.
  • A year-round school is similar but is in session over the summer months as well.
  • Co-op preschools require parents to commit some of their own time to school administration, management, and/or activities.
  • Reggio Emilia and Montessori preschools are both focused on child-directed learning, but you may find you prefer teachers who consider themselves "guides" en route to making the child independent (the Montessori approach), or you may be drawn to Reggio's emphasis on communication and documentation.
  • Home-based preschools are run out of a home-like environment, rather than a school, and tend to have small classes and an intimate approach.
  • If your family is interested in religious or dual language preschool instruction, we've also listed a selection of those.
  • Remember that some schools fit multiple categories (co-op and Reggio, for example, like Family Annex).

Places featured in this article:


New York Preschool Upper West Side 89th Street

Lightbridge Academy of Midtown Manhattan

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Early Childhood Center

ACT at the Cathedral Church of St. John The Divine

The Day School at Christ & Saint Stephen's
Extinct and Endangered: Opening Week
American Museum of Natural History - 10:00 AM Pick
Swedish Midsummer Festival
Robert F. Wagner Park - 5:00 PM Pick
Saint Joan
Castle Clinton - 6:30 PM Pick
Sunset on the Hudson
Pier 45/Hudson River Park - 7:00 PM Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides