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Apple Orchard School is widely know for its location on a working farm in an otherwise dense Boston/Brookline neighborhood. But this is not why it is held in such high esteem by parents. The staff of experienced teachers would do an exceptional job inspiring children if they were in a cinder-block box. The atmosphere is great – but its the teachers that make the difference.
Tuition is runs about $12,000 for the half day program (an afternoon program is available at additional cost).
Bay Farm Montessori Academy is one of the best preschools in the state for helping kids discover who they are through the arts. From our and dance to dramatic productions in their outdoor amphitheater, children have a unique experience in their first year of school. All of the teachers at Bay Farm specialize in the arts but this does not limit your child to the arts. The philosophy is the arts stimulate a child mind in such a way that it prepares it best for all sorts of future endeavors.
Tuition is about $12,000 but varies depending on the program.
Beacon Hill Nursery School can’t claim to have a beautiful campus or unique surroundings (although the heart of Beacon Hill is quite unique but from an adult point of view) but it does have a faculty that is second to none. One only need to meet the faculty to be won over by the Beacon Hill Nursery School. The administrators are great (Ms. Ross is fantastic) but meeting the teachers that will actually spend the day with your kids will fill you with confidence.
Tuition is around $10,000 dollars (a bargain in Boston).
Berkshire Country Day School can only be described as a community. The preschool kids, all the way through to the ninth graders are all part of a single student body. While this may not seem appropriate. He provides the preschool kids with some really great role models. It also stimulates the kids to want to constantly learn more so that they can become one of the big kids.
Tuition for the preschool is about $13,000.
BerryBrook School has been a part of the Duxbury community since 1954. A small school by design, its new building has managed to keep the charm and nuturing environment that has been the hallmark of this exceptional school. BerryBrook faculty are experienced, caring and most of all supportive of their students. One parent commented… “I went to BerryBrook and now that my daughter is attending I realize how much positive influence BerryBrook and its teachers have had in my life”.
Tuition at BerryBrook varies depending on the program but is approximately $11,000 per year.
“Preschool at Brookwood School is an experience that will change a child’s life.” is how is how one parent summed up her enduring commitment to Brookwood. Note: this parent made this statement eight years after her son graduated Brookwood! An independent day school, Brookwood is has a personalized feeling that is often lost in schools with 400 students. This is far from the case and the youngest of students are warmly welcomed into the community and embraced as the future of the school.
Tuition for the preschool is approximately $13,000.
Regardless of how you feel about the Montessori philosophy of early childhood education – Cambridge Montessori offers one of the very best preschool programs any where in the state. The School’s unique implementation of Montessori has resulted in a curriculum that inspires children and motivates them to keep learning.
Tuition ranges depending on the program from $14,700 to about $18,000.
The Cape Cod Conservatory is one of the most unconventional preschool programs we’ve seen. It however has the support of many families in a Falmouth and Barnstable areas of the Cape. The Conservatory offers programs for children and adults of all ages and has a particular focus on the arts, specifically the performing arts. Music Mary is a huge hit with the kids in the teaching staff is one of the best on the Cape.
Tuition wildly varies because of the diversity of the programs but a full-day program is around $9,000.
The Charles River School has struck a combination between creating a strong sense of family and still encouraging children to be themselves. The pre-K program is the entry point into Charles River School (students attend up to 8th grade) but the pre-K program, particularly the faculty are truly special. A great example is how the faculty teaches history. When dealing with the middle ages – they build a castle and the children each play roles – allowing them to “live history”. This active participation is a theme throughout the Charles River School experience and instills a unique sense of individuality and shared experience with the entire community.
Tuition is about $12,000 but varies depending on the program.
Newton Lower Falls, MA
Much like the North Shore Nursery School and Happy Hollow School in Metrowest, Echo Falls Preschool is one of those small, low profile preschools that offer one of the highest quality programs and biggest fan bases in the state. The preschool is focused on helping children build confidence and independence. The preschool program is uniquely intimate and personal due to remarkably small groups and fantastic teachers.
Tuition ranges, depending on the program around $11,000.
Happy Hollow School is one of the smallest preschools recommended and its small size, residential feel and experienced teachers (several approaching 20 or more years of teaching experience) have made it a quiet little successful community in MetroWest. The faculty focuses on helping the child discover that they can do anything (academic and social) that they decide to. This confidence, combined with academics, has been a winning combination for 50 years and has resulted in many graduates going on to excel in both elite private and public schools.
Tuition ranges, depending on the program from $2600 to about $9500 (making it one of the most affordable preschools in the area).
Inly School is also a Montessori school, but more flexible than most and thus more accommodating to a wider variety of children. The curriculum focuses on learning by doing and therefore children are constantly occupied exploring new activities and new ideas. Even the exploration of different cultures is handled with an activity-based method. Inly school is not the type of Montessori school where children work quietly on their own and therefore is much more supportive of their social development.
Tuition is about $17,000 for the full today program.
Lenox Children’s Center is a relative newcomer to the Massachusetts Preschools although it has been in operation for 28 years. Unlike its Stockbridge neighbor (and most of the schools we have reviewed), the Lenox Children’s Center provides programs for children as young as one month old. Typically this creates an environment in which the preschool doesn’t received the dedication required. This however is not the case with Lenox Children’s Center. The preschool program excels and the environment supports both academic and emotional growth.
Tuition widely varies depending on the programs but the average is around $10,000/year.
Lesley Ellis School is part of a progressive organization called Schools for Children with operates three schools in the Boston area all designed to optimize the learning environment to build (or rebuild for older children) the foundations for education. The building is fantastic but out shone by its young and energetic teachers. One great thing about Lesley Ellis – if applicants outnumber places in the class a lottery is used.
Tuition ranges from about $7,500 to $12,000 depending on the program.
North Falmouth, MA
Regardless of your opinion on the Montessori approach to early childhood education, the consensus on the Cape is that the Montessori Academy of Cape Cod is an exception preschool and kindergarten. While the MACC staff may credit Dr. Montessori, the community of MACC families credit the exceptional teachers with the schools success and steadfast following.
Tuition is approximately $11,000 per year.
Beverly Farms, MA
Of all the preschools in Massachusetts the school with the largest fan base is clearly the North Shore Nursery School. While it is known for its huge indoor sandbox, and this may be what your children tell you about every day, it is the experienced and enthusiastic teachers that make all of the difference. Spring time at the school is an exciting time for children as they get to dig in plant in the school’s garden dedicated solely to the kids.
Tuition is genuinely affordable at about $8,500.
"A good beginning never ends" – the unofficial motto of Pine Cobble School is perhaps the best way to sum up what parents think of Pine Cobble. The greatest testament to the strong community Pine Cobble creates and its enduring commitment to education is buried in its own history. Pine Cobble burned to the ground – literally to the ground – in 1970. Without any formal financial support or an endowment, the community rallied and rebuilt Pine Cobble in a single year. The School has flourished ever since and its excellence in preschool education continues to grow.
Tuition is approximately $13,000.
Tenacre Country Day is less of a preschool and more of and entire school experience. The children attending Tenacre (from pre-K to sixth grade) share a common experience of school ranging from lunch to assemblies in a quaint and charming auditorium. The pre-K teachers are unrivaled in terms of experience and skill in teaching. Perhaps more so than any other preschool, Tenacre focuses on academics and getting all of its student to the same level of proficiency. While this may seem unnecessary, it has the effect of eliminating any academic stress on the children in kindergarten and beyond and results in children that appreciate their own ability to achieve.
Tuition ranges from about $16,000 to $19,000 depending on the program.
The Advent School is the quintessential city school in the heart of Back Bay. Its proximity to museums, gardens and all that Boston has to offer makes the school an ideal place for children to explore. However, why parents love the Advent School has nothing to do with Boston. Parent exclaim, and it is obviously true, that Advent School students are some of the happiest children you will ever meet. Confident, fun and most of all happy, Advent School is an often overlooked asset to parent and children in Boston.
Tuition varies depending on the program but is around $12,000.
The Common School is best described as “uncommon”. The Common School does not focus on simply preparing students for kindergarten or first grade – the curriculum focus on teaching children how to learn and that learning is an exploration not just fact collecting. The environment at the Common School is exception and only matched by the experience and enthusiasm of the faculty.
Tuition ranges around $12,000/year.
The Park School is unlike any other preschool in the Boston area. Its huge campus and somewhat ostentatious environment is actually a distraction from the real value of the school. While one may initially think the Park School is a snooty prep school for young children – if you look past this exterior you will find a group of teachers and a curriculum that work together perfectly to teach children to play! That right, play. Play together, play alone, find new ways to play, its all about play. This approach instills a sense of community and fun in school that is often missed in other programs.
Tuition is about $15,000 for the full day program.
Some schools with grade all the way up to 8th loss focus on the preschool and kindergartens. This is not the case with Tower School. All children entering the preschool are inspired and challenged every day. Regardless of what the future holds, Tower School prepare children with a hunger for learning that is unmatched and suited for what ever environment they chose to finish their academic preparation.
Tuition is approximately $13,500.
The Waldorf approach to early childhood education is not for everyone and its apparent “misalignment” with the public school system is often cited as a disadvantage. (Given the state of many public school systems, “misalignment” is likely an advantage.) However, the evidence is irrefutable that graduates of the Waldorf School of Cape Cod shine academically, socially and emotionally. WSCC parents rave about the effect the school and its faculty have had on their children. The Waldorf approach creates an intimacy and mutual understanding between the teacher and student that allows the teacher to truly understand the best way to educate any given individual child.
Tuition for the 3-day early childhood program is $5,800 and for the 5-day program (including kindergarten) is $8,500. 5-Day students are eligible to apply for tuition assistance.
The Williamstown Community Preschool is a fixture and staple of the Williamstown community. The school is governed by a board of directors that doggedly protect and grow the preschools’ commitment to the education of young children. WCP focuses on age appropriate curriculum and is one of the rare schools that share weekly lesson plans.
Tuition ranges depending on program and scholarships are available.