23 Top Philadelphia Preschools for 2023

written by Brightwheel | December 21, 2022

Kickstart your search process with some of the top-rated preschools in Philadelphia, PA

When it comes to our kids, sometimes it takes a village -- and today, we hope to become a part of yours. Our team of parents read through 912 Philadelphia preschool reviews, so that you don’t have to. 

With over 110 early education providers in the Philadelphia area, it’s sometimes hard to figure out which one is the best preschool for your child. And, there’s no one-size-fits-all list that works for everyone. 

As we read through hundreds of reviews together, one core thing stood out: there are so many amazing preschools, teachers, and staff in Philadelphia that genuinely care about their children. They go above and beyond to provide kids with high-quality preparation for elementary school -- and life in general. So many of these reviews just melted our hearts. 

Consider this guide a starting point. We couldn’t feature every top preschool in and around Philadelphia, but below are some of the most highly-rated preschools based on parent reviews across the web. 

If you have any questions before you dive into specific schools, check out our Common Preschool Questions section below. 

Ok, let’s do this! 

2023 Most ‘Exciting’ badge for Busy Bee Learning Center in Philadelphia

Busy Bee Learning Center

Parent Reviews

If you’re looking for a hive of excitement buzzing with engaged children, parental reviews recommend the Busy Bees Learning Center. Students seem to go crazy for the school’s cute bee theme, the caring teachers, and tons of imaginative and interactive activities. Meanwhile, parents relish the small class sizes, the cleanliness of the school, and the school’s “Guardian Cam” that allows parents to live stream video of their kids at school at any time. While parents prize the sense of security this creates, let’s be honest — sometimes you just wanna see your son or daughter’s little grinning face.

Program Highlights

An independent, family-run preschool, the Busy Bee Learning Center has been in continuous operation for more than 15 years now. In addition to reading and writing, students will also take lessons in art, science, music, drama, Spanish, and yoga. A low student-to-teacher ratio ensures that each child will receive the individual attention that they need to understand each lesson and grasp the course material. Kids also learn additional life enrichment skills, including personal hygiene, preparing snacks, and housekeeping. 

2023 Most ‘Like Family’ badge for Chesterbrook Academy Preschool in Philadelphia

Chesterbrook Academy Preschool

Parent Reviews

Excited parents dig how Chesterbrook Academy works hard to make preschool feel like each student’s “second home.” They also mention the friendly staff who help each student not only in academics but in the development of social skills too. These developments are also shared with parents on a consistent basis and are often personalized for each kid. When enrolled at Chesterbrook, kids and parents say they feel like part of a family, mainly because teachers seem so committed to meeting each individual’s needs. The school also encourages all kids to participate in the frequent festivities and community events Chesterbrook hosts. 

Program Highlights

Chesterbrook offers flexible full-time and part-time preschool programs, teaching a curriculum that includes lessons in subjects such as language and literacy, math, science, social studies, physical education, and Spanish. The kids also learn computer skills and will be able to type their names. Flexible drop-off and pickup times are offered between 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM from Monday to Friday. A nutritious lunch and two snacks are also provided each day and are included in the cost of the tuition. Parents are updated both daily and weekly via the schools ‘Parent Boards’ program. 

2023 Most ‘Don't Want to Leave’ badge for Bala House Montessori in Philadelphia

Bala House Montessori School

Parent Reviews

Bala House Montessori School wins our Most “Don’t Want to Leave” award because the reviews are quite specific: both students AND teachers fall in love with Bala House and stick around for as long as they can. Parents frequently rave about the longevity and quality of Bala House’s staff, who seem genuinely committed to their educational calling. This commitment, reviews say, creates a welcoming, home-like sanctuary that kids and parents alike feel heartbroken to leave. In fact, some reviews mention that Bala House comes up often in families who’ve long since moved on to other regions or grades. 

Program Highlights

Founded in 1969, the Bala House Montessori School has provided early childhood education programs for more than half a century. Bala House differs from other preschools because the curriculum is prepared individually for each child to assist them with development in the areas they need help with the most. Of course, each student will still learn basic reading, writing, mathematics, and listening comprehension. Additional activities are constructed to help each child learn valuable emotional, social, and cognitive skills that will prepare them for kindergarten. All lessons are teacher-guided.

2023 Most ‘Loved’ badge for Kids’ Clubhouse in Philadelphia

Kids’ Clubhouse

Parent Reviews

Kids’ Clubhouse is definitely a club your family will want to join. Loved by parents and students alike, Kids’ Clubhouse has a reputation for providing great care to each child while also executing a creative, dynamic curriculum. The school has a unique system of standards they call “themes,” which reviewers seem to treasure. One parent loved their kid’s pre-kindergarten theme, “building skills,” where all lessons and activities were tied into the central core of “building.” Kids adore this focused, play-based learning, while parents frequently compliment the responsive, professional staff.

Program Highlights

The Kids' Clubhouse offers both full-time and part-time programs. The literacy-based program features the renowned “Handwriting Without Tears” curriculum. Small classes are guaranteed with a maximum ratio of 10 students per instructor. The core program includes lessons in literacy, math, science, art, fine and gross motor skills, and drama. Ample time is given for play and fun. Full-day students also benefit by having access to physical education classes that prepare them for sports and other fitness-related endeavors. The program runs from 8:00 AM to 3:15 PM, with extended daycare available until 6:00 PM.

2023 Most ‘Captivating’ badge for Amigos Spanish Immersion in Philadelphia

Amigos Spanish Immersion Preschool

Parent Reviews

According to parent reviews, the moment you walk into Amigos Preschool, you are captivated by the facility itself: clean, modern, and boasting plenty of natural sunlight. Parents love how the environment immediately makes children feel comfortable and eager to learn. This theme is carried through by a caring and exceptionally communicative staff. In addition to their English/Spanish immersion curriculum, Amigos Preschool also excels at keeping parents informed and updated throughout the day with user-friendly apps.

Program Highlights

Amigos is one of the only full Spanish-immersion preschools in Philadelphia. Full Immersion means that all lessons are taught in Spanish, which is one of the best ways for preschool-age children to absorb and learn a second language naturally. All of the teachers are certified and are native Spanish speakers. The program focuses on play-based learning, and the curriculum includes lessons in subjects such as reading, drama, music, art, and science. Classes run Monday to Friday from 9:15 AM to 3:00 PM, with extended days being offered from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

2023 Most ‘Accommodating’ badge for Little City Montessori in Philadelphia

Little City Montessori

Parent Reviews

Little City Montessori has created a unique, highly accommodating environment. In reviews, parents talk about how lucky their kids are to take part in their advanced curriculum, which includes topics such as sign language, Spanish, and geography, among others. Parents appreciated how this school feels like a team effort between them, their children, and the staff to achieve milestones. There appears to be a heavy focus on the kind of growth and behaviors that make students a part of both the Little City community and their larger community at home. 

Program Highlights

Little City is a child-led independent Montessori school, teaching a core curriculum that includes five main subjects: language, math, sensory studies, cultural studies, and practical life lessons. In addition to the core curriculum, kids will learn a number of different enrichment skills, including athletics, music, yoga, martial arts, and dance. The school also features a 4,000 square foot activity center to support kids’ physical education. Outdoor spaces are also available for lessons and playtimes. The extended school day runs from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

2023 Most ‘Engaging’ badge for Young Children’s Center in Philadelphia

Young Children’s Center for the Arts

Parent Reviews

The Young Children’s Center for the Arts is praised by parents as an engaging environment for any youngster. This school is repeatedly said to foster a love of learning through creativity and the arts. Children explore music, art, and movement to develop the skills for learning an academic curriculum. Parents heap praise on the school’s revolutionary 30-minute rotation program, which has their kids engaged and stimulated by a new topic, project, or activity every 30 minutes. This unique school structure is achieved by a caring, committed staff who is dedicated to each child embracing the learning process.

Program Highlights

Founded in 1987, the Young Children’s Center for the Arts has been educating preschool-age children for more than 34 years. The center is fully licensed and is a non-profit facility intended to serve the needs of the local community. Motor skills, reading, language, art, and emotional and cognitive development skills form the basis of the core curriculum. The school is also one of the only preschools in Philadelphia that accepts children with diagnosed learning disabilities. The center offers both full-day and afternoon-only programs. Daily snacks are included in the cost of tuition, and regular naps are part of the program.

2023 Most ‘Essential’ badge for St. Mary’s Nursery School in Philadelphia

St. Mary’s Nursery School

Parent Reviews

With a diverse staff, a beautiful setting, and many school and childcare options, St. Mary’s Nursery School feels essential to many parents, based on their reviews. From preschool to primary school, summer camp to after-school care, parents praise the flexibility of choices and schedules for their little ones. St. Mary’s staff are also frequently appreciated by parents for being particularly empathic and committed to the needs of each child. The school itself is often described as tranquil, unique, and a valuable part of the neighborhood that puts kids at the center of the community. 

Program Highlights

Since 1964, St. Mary’s has been a leader in early childhood education in Philadelphia. The core curriculum focuses on three pillars of primary education: academic readiness, the arts / self-expression, and citizenship. Kids will learn reading, writing, music, social skills, and critical thinking and reasoning skills. Emphasis is put on collaborating with the other children and working with partners to complete lessons and learning tasks. Although the preschool is located in the same building as St. Mary's Episcopal Church, the nursery school is completely independent and non-denominational.

2023 Most ‘Balanced’ badge for The Goddard School of Philadelphia

The Goddard School of Philadelphia

Parent Reviews

The Goddard School of Philadelphia is cheered by parents for its exceptional educational regimen and its great experience for families. Reviewers feel that Goddard achieves the elusive and tricky balance of maintaining a professional, courteous, and communicative staff while also maintaining that family feeling that many parents crave. This balance appears to extend to their curriculum, which is praised for giving equal emphasis to social development, play, and academics. Parents also found it handy that Goddard keeps them updated throughout their kid’s day. Overall, it seems that special care is given to make sure students benefit from a holistic philosophy.

Program Highlights

The full-day program offered at The Goddard School of Philadelphia runs from Monday to Friday from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM, with flexible drop-off and pickup times available to help assist busy parents. In addition to the core curriculum which includes, reading, writing, and literary comprehension, the school also boasts a number of different playgrounds, including outdoor spaces where the children learn valuable social skills, preparing them for kindergarten. Goddard prides itself on taking extra health and safety precautions, including increased sanitation and frequent deep cleaning of classrooms and playground areas.

2023 Most ‘Helpful’ badge for ABC Land in Philadelphia

ABC Land Preschool

Parent Reviews

Whether it’s guiding kids to meet their milestones or assisting families with transitions (back to work, moving, post-Covid regulations, etc.), ABC Land Preschool is praised by parents for being amazingly helpful. Parent reviewers credit the schools’ experienced staff for the noticeable leap in their kids’ academic and social skills. Moms and dads also observe that their children have become more kind and respectful because of the staff’s positive influence. ABC Land Preschool is also frequently praised for the yummy food made by an on-site chef — which is a huge relief for busy parents worrying about nutrition. 

Program Highlights

Established in 1948, the ABC Land Preschool runs classes from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM year-round. Courses taught include reading, writing, science, math, and music, along with computer skills, poetry, and dance. Social development is also a cornerstone of the curriculum, and children are encouraged to play and interact with each other, which prepares them for primary school and the years ahead. Outdoor play areas are provided to keep the kids engaged and interested throughout the day. Staff regularly updates parents on their kids’ progress and encourages drop-in visits at any time.

More top-rated preschools near you

Depending on where in the Philadelphia metro area you’re searching, here are some more of the highest-rated preschools by neighborhood:

Common preschool questions

The first time we had to find preschools for our kids, we had so many questions -- like so many. But don’t worry, we have your back. Here are the core questions that our team pulled together and researched. If there are any others, just reach out and we’ll be happy to help. You can shoot a message over to parents@mybrightwheel.com

When do kids start preschool in Philadelphia?

Most preschools start accepting kids around the age of 2.5 to 3 years old, but since every child is different, this isn’t a magic number. Preschool readiness really depends more on developmental factors than chronological age. Read more in our post here.

What's the difference between preschool and pre-kindergarten?

Preschool programs are generally for children between the ages of 3 to 5 years old. Pre-kindergarten is for the higher end of that range, usually for children 4 to 5 years old. Pre-kindergarten is generally timed for the school year directly prior to when the child would enroll in kindergarten. Many pre-kindergartens are also usually attached to elementary schools, so families have a smooth transition to enroll in kindergarten the next year.

Is pre-k mandatory in Philadelphia?

No. Preschool, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten are not mandatory in Pennsylvania. You can read more on the PA Department of Education website

What are my public school options for early education in Philadelphia?

The School District of Philadelphia offers free, full-day pre-kindergarten to eligible 3, 4, and 5 year olds who live in Philadelphia. Most pre-k programs operate following the school district’s schedule (September through June), and hours vary by location. There are three types of programs: Head Start, Bright Futures, and PHL PreK. Both Head Start and Bright Futures have income eligibility requirements, but PHL PreK is free to any child, regardless of income. You can learn more about your options here.

What sort of license should I look for at a preschool in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia preschools are required to hold a child care license and are regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, ensuring that they meet the required health and safety standards. To see if a child care center in Pennsylvania has any complaints or violations, you can search for them here.

How can I get my family financial assistance for child care in Philadelphia?

Paying for child care is expensive, and Philadelphia does provide options for families to receive financial assistance for care. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services offers a Subsidized child care program called Child Care Works, that helps lower income families to receive help with their child care payments. You can see the income eligibility requirements, as well as forms and instructions for applying here.