Looking to Enroll My Son in Preschool Next Fall...

Updated on October 08, 2007
N.J. asks from Minneapolis, MN
4 answers

I know it seems like a long way away, preschool in the fall of 2008...but honestly I do not know where to begin. I came from a small town so we didn't have the endless options there is here....basically there you had one maybe two option(s).

I live in Bloomington and work in Edina...so really any where in between would be alright with me...

What can I do next?

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answers from Minneapolis on


If you are looking for full day, 5 days a week, preschool Bloomington school district just started a new program this year called the Early Learners Academy. It's held in two of the elementary schools (Ridgeview and Poplar Bridge). I have my son enrolled at Ridgeview (his elementary school actually) and its been great. Also I highly recommend The Cradle Club in Edina if you're looking for only part-time (or full-time). It's a daycare center but have a preschool program. It's really a great program!! They have school programs and field trips. If you want any more info on either of let me know.




answers from Minneapolis on

Hi N.,
Your timing is good, since most preschools actually have open houses after the first of the year (January), and request registrations by early spring (Feb-March). Some fill-up fast, so taking the time now to see what is offered will help you to narrow your selection and re-visit those places you felt worth considering when the open registration begins.

Most charge a registration fee, so by the time you register, you will want to make sure it is a right fit, so that you are not registering to mulitple places and losing the money if you choose to cancel.

MN is very progressive with Early childhood education classes (ECFE) offering your child good transitional programs and loads of wonderful parenting discussions for mom and dad. Plus you get familiar with other parents in the community and can inquire about their preschool experiences as well. Take advantage of enrolling in some classes now to learn about their education programs (they have classes good for both ages of your kids). check out website:
or call ###-###-#### and request a catalog

A couple other things to consider:
1) Your child should be screened by age 3-1/2. This is a free service provided by ECFE (though there may be other places, but I am not familiar with them) and helps identify children who may benefit from early childhood services before they enter school and connects them with the appropriate resources and programs. It is a painless screen (they do sight and hearing, plus motor skill test, and cognitive things -- real basic and you stay in the room --just out of site while the professional does the screening. Contact ECFE at ###-###-#### to learn more about it.

2) The quality of a program may be important, but perhaps geographics may factor into your thought as well. Do you want something close to your house or work?

3) Do you want a more public experience? Or would you like to provide some spiritual values (in most cases very interdemoninational ideas) with your child?

4) Do you want your son to be involved with other kids that will attend his elementary? Most kids are resilient and make friends easily, so this is a minor factor. However, one reason we did make a switch was to give our daughter (and us as parents) connections with families that had kids attending her elementary, feeling this would be a good help when making that big jump. Our son did not have anyone from his preschool attending his Kindergarten class, and yes, he did fine, but it would have been more of a help for us as parents as we transitioned into the new experience of public school.

If looking in Bloomington, I did both the Kids+ preschool with ECFE and a program through St. Michaels Church.

ECFE was a 3-day/week program (M,W F) and Friday was a parent involvement day allowing for me to see my child's progress, meet the other kids and parents in the class, and still have some time to discuss parenting topics with a parent educator.

The St. Michael's program was also 3-day a week, (we were enrolled in the afternoon session [M,W,Th] because we waited too late and missed getting in the a.m., but it worked out fine for our daughter who didn't really need a nap in the afternoon anymore, which helped for kindergarten too. But no parent involvement, though parents could volunteer to help with various activities throughout the year.

Though the program was good and my daughter did enjoy it, I felt a bit disconnected, because I didn't get to really talk with the parents (didn't realize how much I enjoyed and then missed the structured parent involvement offered by ECFE). But was glad to know that some families were going to the same elementary so I did get to know them eventually.

5) What about the duration of the program -- is morning or afternoon sessions going to work best for your schedule? Will you son need to go back to a daycare after the class?

Bloomington is now offering an Early Learners Academy (both a 9 month and 12 month program) at two elementary school sites and is a full day. Since it is new, I cannot comment on the actually program, but I do know a couple people and they do seem happy with it -- feeling it perhaps is better than simply putting their child in a daycare or having to take them from the daycare to the preschool. The 9-month program is at our elementary school (Ridgeview) and the 12-month is at Poplar Bridge.


6) Another person mentioned the ECFE programs offered in Edina -- again check out what seems more convenient for you based on your work schedule too. If having him attend a school closer to works allows you to participate on occasion, that would be a plus. Children love seeing their parent come to school -- even if only a couple times.

7) St. Stephen's Preschool (on France & 84th) also seems to be a very popular program and we were planning on attending, but the afternoon times were in conflict with our ability to get home and meet our older son's school bus (thus the quick change to St. Michael's, which was closer to our home).

Good Luck

PS --I am also involved in the Bloomington Babysitting Co-op made up of 30 families that exchange periodic quality childcare. This group has been a tremendous resource not only for my childcare needs, but also for loads of other parenting topics. Let me know if you would like information on the group as we do have two vacancies right now.




answers from Minneapolis on

Check out the Edina Family Center, located on about 58th St and Highway 100. It's great! It's for birth to pre-k - they offer ECFE, Preschool, as well as childcare.




answers from Minneapolis on

Look in the phonebook or contact your local school district. Most school districts have some sort of preschool, church's have preschool's too.

Actually you are perfect timing for finding a preschool. Most preschool's require you to sign up in the spring for the following fall. And most fill up fast.

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