A nursery school, also known as a preschool or pre-kindergarten, is an educational institution that provides early childhood education to children typically between the ages of three and five. Nursery schools in the U.S. focus on preparing children for formal schooling and facilitating their overall development, including social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills.
Moreover, nursery schools generally offer a wide range of activities and experiences that promote language development, pre-math and pre-literacy skills, motor skills, social interaction, and problem-solving abilities. These activities may include storytelling, arts and crafts, music, outdoor play, games, and basic academic lessons.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of esteemed nursery schools from various regions across the U.S. These schools can serve as a valuable reference for individuals seeking information and insight into high-quality early childhood education options.
The 10 Best Nursery Schools in the U.S.
Here are some notable nursery schools in the U.S.:
1. Bank Street School for Children (New York, New York)
Bank Street School for Children is an exceptional independent school in New York City that offers education from preschool through eighth grade. It is highly regarded nationwide. In fact, the school values diversity, with 52% of its students representing various ethnic backgrounds.
Their comprehensive pre-kindergarten programs cover important subjects like literacy, math, science, technology, art, music, and physical education. To enroll, parents must complete an application and arrange a visit for their child, as well as participate in a parent interview.
2. Shady Hill School (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Shady Hill School is a highly regarded educational institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students. It prides itself on being inclusive and has a diverse student body, with 38% students representing different ethnic backgrounds.
Furthermore, the school has gained recognition and was named one of the Best Schools by Niche in 2023.
To begin the application process, interested families are required to fill out an inquiry form. Following that, a parent or guardian interview can be scheduled to discuss the student’s needs and the school’s educational approach.
3. Gardner School of Arts & Sciences (Vancouver, Washington)
The Gardner School of Arts & Sciences, established in 1995, is a school that caters to students from preschool through sixth grade. It boasts a sprawling five-acre campus, providing ample space for students to learn and explore. Preschoolers at the school have the opportunity to engage in enriching activities such as:
- Physical education
- Spanish classes
To begin the application process, interested families can complete an online inquiry form and schedule a tour to get acquainted with the school’s environment. Following that, an application can be submitted, and a student visit can be scheduled to assess the fit between the student and the school.
4. Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center (Boston, Massachusetts)
Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center (FJECC) is a nurturing and inclusive educational center that offers a robust Judaic program while honoring and respecting the cultural and religious diversity of every child and family.
The center provides a well-rounded education where language arts, STEM, music, movement, and arts are seamlessly integrated into the students’ daily experiences.
Families interested in admission can initiate the process by requesting an application. While the center is affiliated with a temple, non-temple members are strongly encouraged to apply. This demonstrates FJECC’s commitment to welcoming children from various backgrounds and fostering a diverse community.
5. Calhoun School (New York, New York)
Calhoun School, one of the notable nursery schools in the U.S., is a progressive and independent educational institution that caters to students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.
With a rich history dating back to 1896, Calhoun School has recently expanded its early-childhood program through a merger with the Metropolitan Montessori School (MMS), offering a new dual-track curriculum.
To apply, interested families can conveniently use the Calhoun application portal available online. Additionally, a parent or guardian questionnaire is required to gain insight into the applicants and their families, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of each student’s unique needs and background.
6. Phillips Brooks School (Menlo Park, California)
Phillips Brooks School is an independent and co-educational day school that provides education for preschool through fifth grade students. Established in 1978, the school offers an Early Learning Center (ELC) with a preschool, pre-kindergarten, and mixed-grade classes.
Students at Phillips Brooks School engage in a wide range of subjects including:
- Physical education
- Visual art
To begin the admission process, interested families can inquire about the school and schedule a virtual open house tour. Following that, they can proceed with the application and arrange a parent interview to discuss their child’s educational journey.
7. Sidwell Friends School (Washington, D.C.)
Sidwell Friends School is a renowned co-educational Quaker day school that caters to students from preschool to twelfth grade. With a rich history dating back to 1883, the lower school of Sidwell Friends is situated on a spacious five-acre campus in Bethesda, Maryland, just blocks away from the Metro.
The school values diversity, with 57% of students coming from various ethnic backgrounds. Students at Sidwell Friends engage in a comprehensive curriculum that includes:
- Language arts
- Social studies
To begin the admission process, families are required to submit a family information form and attend an in-person student group visit, fostering a sense of community and connection.
8. The Pike School (Andover, Massachusetts)
The Pike School is an independent school offering education from pre-kindergarten through ninth grade. Established 1926, the school provides a well-rounded curriculum that includes art, music, library, Spanish, math, social studies, and physical education classes for pre-kindergarten students.
To initiate the admission process, interested families can fill out an online inquiry form and tour the campus to get a sense of the school’s environment. Applicants can then proceed with the application for admission.
Virtual meetings with parents or guardians are scheduled to discuss the child’s needs, and grade-appropriate assessments and visits are conducted to ensure the best fit between the student and the school.
9. The Episcopal School of Dallas (Dallas, Texas)
The Episcopal School of Dallas is a co-educational private prep school that offers a college preparatory education for students from ages 3 to grade 12. Its lower school curriculum encompasses a wide range of subjects, including:
- Social studies
- Physical education
- Religious studies
To apply, interested families are required to complete a student profile and register for a group observation. Thus, the school can gain insight into the child’s abilities and potential fit within the educational community.
10. Trinity School (Atlanta, Georgia)
Lastly, Trinity School is an independent elementary-only school that has been serving children from ages three through sixth grade since 1951. In their pre-kindergarten program, classrooms have an average of 16 students, with one lead teacher and two associate teachers providing a supportive learning environment.
Furthermore, the curriculum at Trinity School includes a strong emphasis on arts, music, movement, literacy, numeracy, and foreign language instruction in Spanish or French.
The school aims to provide a well-rounded education that fosters intellectual, creative, and personal growth. Overall, Trinity School is dedicated to nurturing young learners and preparing them for success in their academic journey.
How to Find the Best Preschool for Your Child
Finding the best nursery school for your child involves considering their unique needs and finding a nurturing environment that supports their growth and development. Here are some tips on how to find the best preschool for your child:
- Research and gather information
- Consider your child’s needs
- Visit the preschools
- Ask questions
- Seek recommendations and reviews
- Consider location and convenience
- Trust your instincts
- Check accreditation and licensing
- Financial considerations
- Seek parent references
These carefully selected nursery schools in the U.S., representing some of the finest educational institutions throughout the country. With their exemplary programs and commitment to child development, they serve as a valuable reference for parents seeking high-quality early education options that prioritize a nurturing and enriching environment for their children’s learning and growth.