Guide to different preschools for toddlers

Choosing a preschool for your toddler can be a stressful and difficult time for many parents. For many parents, this is the first time their child will be away from home. Preschool is the first real introduction to structured routines in a school setting and is a foundation for what’s to come in Kindergarten. It’s important to understand what all of your options are in the different types of preschools available, as this will help you to make the right choice for you and your child.

Public schools

Public schools often include preschool programs in their elementary schools. However, because preschool is thought of as an optional regimen, it can sometimes be difficult to enroll toddlers in the Pre-K program, even though you reside within the corresponding neighborhood for the school. Many times, public schools have a waiting list for enrollment and often take 4-year-olds as a first priority. This is something that is important to know so that parents can put their children on waiting lists early on to ensure availability.

Park district

Many times, parents opt for preschool programs offered through their local park district. Park district programs offer a wider variety of times to choose from; there are extended preschool program hours for working parents, and there can sometimes be more leniency on whether or not the toddler is potty trained for enrollment. Although park district programs aren’t free like public school preschools, the price is usually quite affordable and can vary due to income and family size.


Private preschools vary in that they can be affiliated with a church or specific religion, or can be a combination daycare/preschool. Religion-based preschools are great for parents wanting to implement church services into a regimented preschool program, or for parents wanting their toddlers to continue on to their private elementary school. However, private preschools can be immensely expensive and the daycare affiliated preschools can sometimes have a less education-based curriculum than other preschools.

Crucial lessons are taught to toddlers in preschool like social skills, taking turns, staying seated and manipulation skills for hand strength development. The curriculum can vary with each preschool, but the key elements involve mastering colors, numbers, the alphabet and a number of other things that are great for preparing for future schooling. It’s important to know what preschool will be the best fit for your toddler to ensure a happy experience that will motivate your child’s love of learning.