Preschool Guide for Cincinnati and NKY Families


Preschool Guide for Cincinnati and NKY Families

When I was a new mom, I had no idea January was the month to start looking at and choosing preschools. No one tells you these things!

Luckily, I had a friend (Karen, now a fellow FFC writer) who did the legwork for me. I managed to get my daughter into a good preschool thanks to her.

Now, my son is 3 and I’m going about the search a lot differently. I’m better informed, so I know what to look for, which questions to ask, how to evaluate schools, etc. And I wanted to share what I’ve learned over the years to help all you prospective preschool parents out there in the tristate area.

Getting started:


I already imparted one very important piece of advice in this post, but it’s worth repeating: January is preschool shopping season. So get on it.

Many preschools will host open houses during the month of January (and sometimes February), so parents can bring in their children and get a chance to sample the goods. As you look at various schools, mark your calendar for the open houses you’d like to attend, and note when registration occurs or applications are due. The good schools usually fill up quickly, and if you wait too long, your child may end up at the bottom of a long waiting list.

Of course, preschools will let you come in at other times, too, so don’t sweat it if you miss an open house.

Pre-K: It’s kind of a big deal

Perhaps you grew up as a child of the 1970s or ’80s like me, going to “nursery school” or “playschool,” a place where you messed around with finger paints, sang silly songs and snacked on juice and crackers. Your parents might have sent you there for a year or two, hoping those few hours a week would socialize you enough so you wouldn’t freak out when the bus dropped you off the first day of kindergarten.

If you haven’t already heard, early childhood education has come a long way, baby. Those first few precious years (including preschool) form the foundation for the rest of a child’s life, both in and out of school. And research shows that for kids who miss out on a solid preschool experience, there’s no catching up. That’s serious pressure on us parents, right?!

Here’s what kids get out of preschool (just the highlights, mind you):

If you weren’t already convinced that preschool is paramount, I hope I’ve nudged you toward considering it.

Start your search

You could spend a bunch of time Googling preschools — or you could reap the rewards of my labor over the holidays. I put together a searchable directory of more than 300 preschools throughout Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana. I personally went to each school’s website and verified the information included in our directory, so you don’t go on any wild goose chases.

Feel free to search by ZIP code, educational philosophy (play-based/traditional, religious, Montessori, etc.) or keywords. We’re working on making this directory even easier to use and more robust — but the info is all there now and ready for you to dig in.

When not blogging for Family Friendly Cincinnati, you can find Susan writing at her personal blog,Working Moms Against Guilt.

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  1. says

    Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web site, for
    the reason that i wish for enjoyment, for the reason that this this website conations in fact pleasant funny data

  2. Stacey says

    This article no longer shows the 300+ schools. Was it modified or am I missing something? It used to show every school in the area and now it only lists a handful.

    • Shannanb says

      Hi Stacey – The link has been fixed. We were having issues with our database. Sorry about the delay.

  3. says

    Great article for people who are searching for preschools; however, gotta disagree on this… “Those first few precious years (including preschool) form the foundation for the rest of a child’s life, both in and out of school. And research shows that for kids who miss out on a solid preschool experience, there’s no catching up.” Yes, those first few years are important, but missing out on preschool is not going to hinder their education (if they have parents at home that are working with them on those developmental things you mentioned). Many children simply aren’t ready for the preschool environment and subjecting them to such creates nothing but anxiety, stress, and will make it more difficult for them to attend school in the future. Feels like you’re pressuring people to put their kids in preschool when they can thrive just as well (and maybe even more) at home. Don’t stress already worried mommas out and let them keep their babies in their arms for as long as they can!

    • Susan says

      Shelly, thanks for the heads up! We must have done some housekeeping that changed the directory links slightly. I just updated this post with the correct links.

      Thanks again–and hope you find the information helpful.

  4. says

    The search for quality early care is tough! Thanks for sharing your experience. For parents in the Greater Cincinnati area with questions about what quality early education looks like, eligibility for child care subsidy, free child care referrals, and more, check out 4C for Children:

    4C is the child care resource and referral agency for 40 counties in Ohio and Northern Kentucky. We’re here to help!

    • Susan says

      Yes, I should have included your agency in this post. Cincinnati is lucky to have 4C.

  5. Joie Linser says

    Your directory is a fantastic resource! Lots of great information. You left off an incredible school, though. The Growing Room in Madeira. My kids have been going through there for years and we could not be happier. The classroom is warm and inviting, the curriculum is varied and interesting, and of course the teachers are top notch.