Choosing a Preschool or Daycare Center in the Maplewood/South Orange AreaNow that you have found your perfect home in the Maplewood/South Orange area, it is time to find the perfect preschool or daycare center for your child. And there are an abundance of choices in the area!

The first thing you should do is identify your priorities. Where would you like the school to be? Near your home or workplace? What type of curriculum would you like for your child? Are you looking for a specific type of teaching environment? In what type of environment will your child thrive?

Once you have determined what you are looking for in a preschool or daycare center, you should then do your research. If possible, talk to your friends about the schools their children attend. Talk to experts. Nicole Van Giesen is an early childhood educational consultant at Your Personal Childhood Concierge based in South Orange. She recommends asking yourself a series of 12 questions to help you narrow down your choices. Each family’s situation is unique, and these questions will provide insight into your specific childcare needs. Contact Nicole for help in navigating the options. She can narrow down which programs would be the best fit for your family.

Once you have narrowed down your choices, visit each of your prospective schools and interview the staff. Ask the director about hours, fees, the daily schedule, the vacation schedule, and their philosophy on discipline and nutrition. Observe the environment, and ask about staff turnover. This should give you a good overall feel for the preschool or daycare center. And don’t forget to observe how the teachers interact with the children.

Make sure you check the references for each school you are considering. Ask the references what they like about the preschool and what they don’t like. And if their child no longer attends the school, find out why.

And finally, bring your child for a visit. You will see if your child is comfortable in the environment and how the staff interacts with your child.

Each family’s needs are unique, but there is something on this list for everyone. Trust your instincts when it comes to selecting a preschool or daycare center for your child. With the proper research, guidance, and patience, you can rest assured that your child will be well cared for in an environment that is best for their particular needs.



Kinder-Gan Preschool incorporates learning centers in the classroom, such as art, math, science, blocks, computers and writing, to provide an environment of choice that is designed to challenge the children.

Le Parc Place, in the heart of Maplewood village, nurtures and develops the unique talents and abilities of each child age 2.5 – 5 years through creative exploration and artistic self-expression, with lesson plans that are adapted to include various learning styles. A second location in Orange accepts infants through age 5.

Morrow Memorial Preschool is a co-op preschool in the heart of Maplewood village where parents and caretakers assist the teachers with day-to-day activities.

Prospect Co-Op Nursery School is designed for families that want to be involved in the early education of their children, through involvement with the preschool curriculum, administrative decisions and day-to-day activities.

South Mountain YMCA is one of the largest providers of childcare in the area, with programs designed to nurture the potential of children, promote healthy living and foster a sense of social responsibility.


Baird Center Preschool, available to Maplewood and South Orange children, combines educational and recreational activities while encouraging social interaction to provide a balanced preschool experience.

Bobbie’s Playhouse is an in-home daycare center in South Orange that provides a warm, loving and nurturing environment along with a structured social environment to foster academic and developmental growth.

Buzzing Bees In Home Childcare is a family owned and operated facility that focuses on helping a child develop cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically in a fun, nurturing environment.

Little Stages Child Day Care, offering services for infants through pre-kindergarten, is a family oriented environment that encourages a child’s development in fun and welcoming ways, and where all styles of learning are recognized.

Mickey Fried at Oheb Shalom offers a warm, creative environment where children can learn as they play while focusing on Jewish traditions and religion.

Montrose Early Childhood Center, a new school for special needs and general education children, offers both full and half day programs where the special education and general education students are mixed to promote self confidence and achievement for all students.

Our Lady of Sorrows Preschool offers services for pre-kindergarten children, teaching respect and responsibility through play-based programs founded on Christian love and community.

Our Lady of Sorrows Nursery provides care for children 6 weeks old through three years and teaches independence through developmentally appropriate activities.

South Orange Country Day School offers a progressive child-friendly environment that stimulates learning, promotes independence and encourages personal responsibility for all students.

Temple Sharey Tefilo Israel Iris Family Preschool offers a stimulating, stress-free environment that emphasizes individuality, creativity and communication and where children are encouraged to grow and develop confidence with a positive self image.

Thelma K. Reisman Preschool of Beth El provides a warm nurturing Jewish environment for young children to grow physically, academically and socially.

Totri Day Care focuses on the emotional, social, intellectual, and physical growth of a child through exciting, enriching activities in a fun, bilingual (English/Spanish) and developmentally appropriate environment.

Village Babies Development Center is an early childhood development facility in South Orange where children are offered a gentle, secure and unique development experience through play-based programs.

Weekday Cooperative Preschool is a multicultural cooperative program where teachers strive to form a solid foundation for future education through social interaction and a hands-on approach.

Work and Play provides the opportunity for the parent to work upstairs while the child learns downstairs. The curriculum is open ended and designed to meet each child’s individual needs using materials that emphasize self-discovery and independence.


JCC Metro West offers a nurturing friendly atmosphere in which to build self-awareness and self-esteem through a special ethics and values curriculum, and with an enriched program filled with language, reading, math, science, art, music, and fun.

Playhouse Cooperative Nursery School offers a play-based curriculum designed to help a child develop academic skills and knowledge as well as social skills with lessons tailored to the interests of the students in the classroom.

Tutor Time in West Orange offers The School Readiness Pathway which features developmentally appropriate programs with specialized curriculum and customized learning plans that are based on a child’s developmental needs and milestones.


Alpine Montessori offers a strong academic program in a warm, nurturing environment where each child’s unique abilities are supported and developed and where intellectual, social and physical skills are reinforced.

Hedwig Gruenwald Early Childhood Center at Congregation B’Nai Israel offers a nurturing environment where children learn and grow through hands-on experience, experimentation and play, and are exposed to Jewish customs, traditions and concepts on a daily basis.

Millburn Co-Op Nursery School offers a unique two-year program that draws on various teaching philosophies, where children challenge themselves based on their abilities, and where families are encouraged to participate in the school environment.

Neighborhood House Nursery School is operated by a non-profit, community based organization that provides a home-like setting where the children learn, participate in community activities and learn to respect other cultures.

Open Door Nursery School, located in Wyoming Presbyterian Church, focuses on the physical, intellectual, social and emotional development of children through interaction with their friends and teachers.

St. Stephen’s Preschool provides quality, affordable childcare in the community and offers a warm, loving, play-based educational environment, where no religion is taught, and where children learn to respect others and celebrate people’s differences.


Christ Church Nursery School uses play and hands-on experiences to make learning fun and meaningful while giving children the opportunity to develop self-confidence and independence through music, movement, art and science.

Far Brook School offers preschool care at the lower school, and children foster friendships, a sense of community and a love of learning through play-based experiences.

St. Rose of Lima Academy offers a faith-based program designed to nurture a child through all aspects of development, building skills, creativity and confidence.

The Montessori Children’s Academy uses traditional Montessori methods to provide a challenging, yet appropriate learning environment that engages a child’s curiosity and helps them develop a love of learning.

The Rabbi Barry H. Greene Early Childhood Center at Congregation B’Nai Jeshrun strives to instill a love of learning in each child through multi-sensory and thematically based lessons, to empower students to become independent thinkers, and to celebrate their Jewish heritage, customs and traditions.


Aquinas Academy offers a faith-based early childhood program within a spiritual environment and is a training site for education majors from Seton Hall University and Caldwell University.

Early Childhood Center at Temple Emanu-el of West Essex offers an introduction to Judaism while at the same time providing a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment to help each student become respectful, responsible, independent and creative individuals.

Iris Berman Nursery School strives to give its students the tools and the foundation to succeed in a Jewish day school as well as in their future lives through an integrated approach to learning.

Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy supports the emotional, social and spiritual development of a child through a stimulating learning environment where they can discover and explore new experiences.

Learning Experience has been built on the three key cognitive, physical and social principles of education and care, which have been renamed “learn, play and grow,” to enrich a child cognitively, physically and communally.

Little Angels Christian Montessori offers a traditional Montessori education within a Christian environment where each child can develop and discover the world around them.

Little Tots Academy is committed to the development of the whole child with “learning through fun” activities designed to develop and reinforce the child’s confidence at whatever skill level they achieve.

Peanut Shell Child Care Center – West Essex YMCA provides a safe place to develop skills, relationships and build self-reliance through the YMCA principles of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

The Early School of Temple B’nai Abraham strives to provide an educational and emotional foundation for success when a child enters kindergarten by combining enriched educational and relationship-building experiences.


Zadie’s of the Oranges is an independent family-owned early childhood learning center where age appropriate enrichment activities ensure that children receive a well-rounded learning experience both inside and outside of the classroom.