Various studies have deemed Minnesota students among the most successful in the nation. Combine that with evidence of positive long term effects that preschool and early childhood education programs have on children and their future educational paths, and Minnesota's myriad preschools begins to make sense. In choosing the best and most inexpensive preschools in the area, consider cost as well as reviews and programs provided by the prospective preschools. While you're shopping around, check out this handful of the best and most affordable in the Twin Cities area.
Noah's Ark Pre-School
9185 Lexington Ave. North
Blaine, MN 55014
Price: from $115 for half-day programs for two days to $225 for five days/from $62 for full-day programs two days a week to $128 for five full days
Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Noah's Ark Pre-School provides preschool classes for children age 3, 4 and 5 with schedules that fit each child's needs. Choose from full-day preschool or half day, which is 2.5 hours, for 32 weeks. Extended care and before and after care is also available and calculated for each individual child. Classes are usually filled at a 10-student-to-one-teacher ratio and focus on providing an environment that assists development in children through learning and playing with other children.
413 S. Greeley
Stillwater, MN 55082
Click here for tuition and schedules
Hours: Mon to Fri – 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Valley Preschool has provided a learning center for preschool children ages 3 to 5 in Stillwater for more than 35 years. There are a number of programs available at Valley Preschool, including summer options, Spanish immersion and family fun days. From child-sized architecture to activity-based learning, Valley's approach to teaching children is based the success of pedagogy masterminded by John Dewey, Jean Piaget and Maria Montessori. Teachers here boast an average tenure of 15 years, and understand that a personal touch, including meeting kids at their parents' cars in the morning, means everything to growing families.
1910 3rd Ave. Northwest
Austin, MN 55912
Price: from $65 per month for two days a week/$25 nonrefundable registration fee/$20 supply fee
Contact for available program hours
Congregational Preschool was established in 1965 as the very first preschool in Austin. The curriculum includes activities focusing on social skills and handicraft projects to help prepare children for kindergarten. The preschool uses both educational and manipulative toys as well as musical instruments and science materials to help preschoolers in developing physical and intellectual skills. Of course, standard preschool activities such as learning colors and shapes, numbers and letters are included in the curriculum as well.
4101 Harriet Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55409
Price: $50 registration fee/$210 per month morning session/$190 per month afternoon session
Hours: morning Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.; afternoon Mon to Fri – 12:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Judson Preschool, has been teaching preschoolers for the past 36 years, focusing on all things play based in early childhood education. The curriculum is centered on playing, and activities include role playing, motor activities, cooking and music. Small group and large group activities as well as discovery time assist preschoolers in learning a number of skills that prepare them for successful social engagement and learning in their future educations.
20088 Kenwood Trail
Lakeville, Minnesota 55044
Price: $75 registration fee per family/$135 tuition per month for two days a week/$170 per month for three days a week
Click here for classes and hours
Kindernook Preschool's extensive curriculum provided includes everything from cognitive activities for pre-reading and math to activities that encourage development in social, emotional and spiritual areas as well. Non-denominational Bible lessons are included in the curriculum before snack as well. While practicing building physical, intellectual and emotional strengths, students here are still encouraged to act their age and embrace childhood fun.
Dodge Nature Center Preschool
1715 Charlton St.
Saint Paul, MN 55118
Price: $310 month for two days a week/$410 a month for three days a week/$595 a month for five days a week
Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Dodge Nature Center Preschool is a bit different from other preschools as its focus is on nature and natural resources. The center is located on 320 acres of forests and lakes with an orchard and bee apiary. Many of the classrooms are outdoors and may include hiking and oak savanna restoration projects. Besides the preschool, options are available for community education on weekends and evenings, day camp programs and trails that are open to the general public.
Related: A Guide to Yoga for Parents and Kids
Christina Majaski is a full-time legal assistant and freelance writer for online and print publications and has a growing fondness for all things related to social media. She currently resides with her daughter in central Minnesota. She writes a sometimes humorous blog at www.solitarymama.com and welcomes you to follow her on Twitter @cmajaski. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
for more features.