It is a very exciting milestone to send your child to preschool! This is especially true if this is your first child! I remember I was always so excited for the next milestone with my first child. I was excited to sign her up for baby gym classes, to sign her up for baby music classes, I was even excited to do the Greenwich Library baby lapsit programs! It’s just fun to experience these milestones with your child and to see him/her interact with other children and be happy with the new experiences. Fast forward 10 years, after two children and three preschool programs later, I consider myself an expert when it comes to choosing the right preschool. The good thing about Greenwich is that there are so many preschools to choose from. That is a good thing, but having too many choices can be a little confusing, especially for someone new to town or if you are looking into preschools for your first child. To make it easier for you, I categorized Greenwich preschools by types and answered some of the frequently asked questions about preschools in Greenwich. Here is my guide to preschools in Greenwich CT.
Private School Feeders
If you are looking to send your child to a private school, then it is helpful to know which preschools have a track record of children moving into private schools. Why is this helpful? I think it is helpful because you want to work with preschool directors who are familiar with the private school admissions process. Some private schools actually send admissions representatives to preschools to observe applicants in their preschool class and usually, this happens when there are enough children applying from that preschool. Plus as a parent, it’s great to have the support from other parents who are going through the same private school admissions process as you are. First Presbyterian Church Nursery School and Putnam Indian Field School are two schools that send a lot of their graduates to local private schools such as Brunswick, Greenwich Academy and Rye Country Day School.
Are you on the fence? Haven’t decided between private school or public school? We asked moms to weigh in on the private school versus public school debate. Click here to read about it.
Faith-Based Preschools in Greenwich, CT
If you are looking for a faith-based preschool, there are a few options. Christ Church Nursery School and Greenwich Catholic School are preschools you can look into. Chabad of Greenwich Preschool and Temple Sholom Selma Maisel Nursery School are options based on Judaism.
Greenwich Preschool with the Best Value
If you are looking at the preschool price tag and getting sticker shock (especially if you are sending twins or triplets), then the Greenwich preschool that will give you the best value is Greenwich Christian Preschool. Their tuition is almost half the price of most preschools in Greenwich CT. Another option is the Cos Cob Community Preschool offered by the Town of Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation. It is the least expensive preschool program in Greenwich.
If you are looking for a Montessori program for your child then you should look into Whitby School. Whitby School takes children as young 18 months. And you can actually keep your child there until 8th grade.
Language Immersion Preschools in Greenwich, CT
Greenwich is fortunate to have the only Chinese immersion preschool in Fairfield County. Mencius Mandarin Preschool is a preschool program that combines play-based and structured preschool curriculum all taught in Mandarin Chinese. The best part is there are no enrollment requirements, your child does not have to know any Chinese at all. Don’t be surprised when one day your child comes home from school singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in Mandarin Chinese.
Best Programs for Working Parents
The short preschool days are unrealistic if both you and your spouse work full-time. Fortunately, there are several Preschool/Daycare programs that allows you to pick up at 6pm or later. Little Friends Greenwich is a daycare program that has a built-in preschool curriculum and pickup time as late as 6:30pm. And they take infants as young as 6 weeks old. It’s important to note that there is usually a 12-18 months waitlist at Little Friends so add your name on the waitlist as soon as you can! YMCA of Greenwich and YWCA of Greenwich both have preschool/daycare programs that have early drop off times (7:30am drop off for YWCA and 7am drop off for YMCA) and 6pm pickup for both. Plus they take children as young as 15 months (YWCA) and 6 weeks old for YMCA. The good thing about the YMCA and YWCA programs is they both have amazing facilities and can include swimming, gymnastics for your child. Bridges School and Temple Sholom Selma Maisel Nursery School also have full day programs.
Back Country Greenwich Preschools
If you live in back country Greenwich, then it may take you 30 minutes just to drive to town and then another 30 minutes to drive back home. Since preschool days are short, it’s probably smart to find a preschool close to home. Round Hill Nursery School, Whitby and Sacred Heart Greenwich are preschools that may be closer to you.
Neighborhood Preschools in Greenwich, CT
Living in Old Greenwich or Riverside, it’s fairly common to see children walking, scootering or biking to and from school since most parts of Old Greenwich and Riverside are walkable neighborhoods. St. Saviour’s Church Nursery School is a neighborhood school in the Old Greenwich section of Greenwich. St. Paul’s Day School is a neighborhood preschool in the Riverside section of Greenwich.
Definitely check out our Preschool and Daycare Finder featuring smart, user-friendly filters.
Greenwich Preschools: Frequently Asked Questions
When to Apply to Preschools in Greenwich
If you are new to the preschool application process in Greenwich CT, it’s important to know that you need to start thinking about preschools at least a year in advance. If your child starts preschools next September, you need to start looking into it this Fall. Many preschools will start giving tours and making applications available in September. However, since there are some preschools that require you to submit your name or application early in the Fall, I actually recommend for you to start looking into preschools 1.5 years in advance. I’d start looking in the Spring, so by the time September rolls around, you are ready to submit applications and don’t waste precious time shopping around because you’d already have done your research and know where you are applying to. For example, Bridges School in Cos Cob, CT starts accepting applications on September 1 of every year. You have to call and add your name to the list. The list is created in the order they receive the calls, that means the earlier you call the higher your name is on the list. Another school that accepts applications on a first-come/first-served basis is St. Paul’s Day School in Riverside, CT. There are often limited spots for new families because priority enrollment is given to siblings and St. Paul’s Church parishioners. So even if you apply to preschools one year before your child starts school, my advice to you is to start looking into preschools 1.5 years before your child starts preschool. This is especially true if this is your first child and you are not familiar with preschools and the application process.
You just moved to Greenwich and did not apply to preschools in the Fall, is it too late to get into a preschool?
If you are late in the process, don’t worry! The good thing about preschools in Greenwich CT is that there are a lot of preschools to choose from. If you apply in the Spring or Summer before school starts, chances are you will still be able to find a preschool for your child. You may not be able to get into the preschools with limited space because those are likely to be full already, but you will still be able to find a few preschools with openings for your child. Even if you don’t get into your first choice preschool the first year, you can always move your child the following year. Especially if you are applying to a 2s program, those classes are usually smaller and fill up quickly but there may be openings in the 3s class the following year at your first-choice preschool.
What Age Do You Send Your Child to Preschool in Greenwich?
Most families in Greenwich start sending their children to preschools at 2 years old. You enroll your child in the 2s program. Most 2s programs are half-day programs without extended day options (most extended day start at 3 years old) and most 2s programs are 2-3 days per week (4-5 days per week usually start at 3 years old). Children usually attend preschools from age 2-4 years old with some children attending preschools at 5 years old (depends on birthdate and whether you are attending a public or private school for Kindergarten).
What’s Better: Afternoon or Morning Preschool Sessions
Most families prefer morning classes. This is due to afternoon nap schedules. You will find that morning sessions are usually more popular and will fill up more quickly then afternoon sessions. However, as a new family, you are usually last in the enrollment priority so you may not get a spot in the morning session. With my daughter, I did not get my first choice and was stuck with an afternoon session. I actually ended up liking the afternoon session and kept her in the afternoon the following year. I find it less hectic because you can leisurely take your time in the morning, have lunch then go to school. There is less of a rush in the morning to get out the door.
Does Greenwich Public School have a Preschool program?
Yes, Greenwich has public preschool programs. There are actually 2 types of preschool programs offered in Greenwich. There is the Greenwich Public School preschool program and there is the Cos Cob Community Preschool offered by the Town of Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation. The Greenwich Public School preschool program is a preschool program offered by the Greenwich school district and are held in 5 different schools (Hamilton Avenue School, New Lebanon School, North Street School, Parkway School and Old Greenwich School). Entry to the Greenwich Public School preschool program is by lottery and space is limited. While application to the Cos Cob Community Preschool is submitted online in the Town of Greenwich website similar to the way you’d apply for town youth programs and beach passes. Both preschool programs are for children 3 and 4 years old.
Click here to find out more about how to Apply to the Greenwich Public School Preschool Program.
Do I need to Potty-Train my Child to Start Preschool in Greenwich?
If you are enrolling your child to 2s programs, you don’t need to have your child potty-trained. The teachers will actually work with you in potty training your child. I remember my daughter was just starting to potty train when we enrolled her at her 2s program and the teachers really helped facilitate potty training. She went to school in pull-ups and since other children in her class are also potty training it made it an easier process to potty train my daughter because she saw the other children doing it too. However, if you decide to wait a year before sending your child to preschool. Many 3s programs do require your child to be potty trained (you should call the schools to check).
Definitely check out our Preschool and Daycare Finder featuring smart, user-friendly filters.
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