ISO Preschool Options and Advice

Hi! We are moving to South Orange next month with our 18 month old son and I'm looking for some advice on preschool options in the area. He won't be 2 until November and since the cutoff for a lot of the 2s programs is October1, I'm running into some difficulty finding half day preschool programs that will work. We're moving from Brooklyn neighborhood that had a lot of parent organized preschool co-ops for the 2s and 3s age group. I'm wondering if this kind of thing exists here or if there is any interest in maybe starting one? Looking forward to getting to know the community!

So. Mtn YMCA in MW is a much-loved and uber-popular preschool option but open spots can be hard to come by, although not impossible. It's not a co-op though.

Welcome! I am also interested to hear what folks have to say about this. I have a 3 year old in preschool and a son who turns two in July. Most programs here are actually 2.5 year old programs and kids have to turn 2 by March. Where we used to live my daughter started preschool at 19 months and loved it and I think it's a shame my son can't start until he is three.

I'm not sure about age cut offs, but I'd recommend calling Carol at Sharey Tefilo--she runs a young 2s class as part in of the preschool. I only have great things to say about them. Other popular coop options are Playhouse in WO and Morrow Memorial Coop in mplwd, but as you've found, under 2.5 is tough to find. My daughter is at the Y and we love it, but I was on the wait list a year. Feel free to PM me if u have any questions- I've done this search too for both my kids.

You might try calling Weekday Nursery School. They have a twos program and I think they're pretty flexible about cutoffs.

Can't say enough great things about South Orange Country Day School - Annemarie Maini is the Director.

OLS is launching a 2.5 program this fall. Please give them a call. They are terrific.

My daughter is an October birthday and she went to B'nai Israel's transitional two's class when she was just about to turn two--it's a gradual transition for the kids to get used to the parents out of the classroom, which might not be great if you are working. They might have a more proper 2's program now, not sure. We were only there for that year (moved on to Morrow, which is a co-op, for the next year). Feel free to pm me if you have any questions. Good luck! The cutoff birthdays are tough. I seriously planned for my second kid to have a spring birthday to avoid the issues we're having with my older kid!

Several schools have a program for younger two year olds that starts in January - that includes Open Door Nursery School at Wyoming church, where my daughter goes. I have heard that Mickey Fried and Weekday have the same thing. If it makes you feel any better, several of the kids in my daughter's 2's class turned three during the fall, so you're not alone!

Mickey Fried Nursery School has a 2s program. The director has let kids a little shy of 2 join in previous years. Other times the children have joined after they turn 2- starting in November, for example. Call Iris, the director. She will be happy to answer your questions.

I believe that there are some local or state laws that make it prohibitive to offer preschool for children under age 2.5. (Stricter facility requirements, I believe.) For that reason, it seems that the preschool options for younger children are primarily offered by infant/toddler childcare providers (like the YMCA) rather than preschool-only facilities.

@sac is correct. There are different state regulations (teacher to child ratio etc.) for a daycare/preschool and a typical preschool like Open Door, Prospect, Morrow, Weekday etc. "Typical" preschools begin at 2 1/2 and most of them are willing to accept a student in the middle of the school year who has just turned 2 1/2 space permitting of course. Your best bet is to contact the schools you are interested in and find out their specific policy. I know that some schools have a wait list for those 2's who are too young in September to begin in January instead.

Weekday Nursery School is a great little gem of a Co-op preschool in South Orange, that my oldest graduated from and my second child will be graduating in June. They start accepting students at 2.5 yrs but have a Mommy & Me type Toddler class for the younger kids. Check out their website: for more info.

Thanks, everyone! These are some great options. @afa I'm thinking of doing the same thing with number 2!

I'm going to plug a friend here. She runs a consulting service for people looking for daycare and preschool options in the area:

The Baird Center has an wonderfull pre-school.
Both of my kids had(and are having) a great time there.

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