Evanston Preschool Guide

Preschools in Evanston

Given that many families rely on them, the fact that Evanston has a wealth of options when it comes to preschool and childcare providers can be a great comfort. Below are 17 options around E-town, and between instruction in Spanish or German, teaching through the arts, and STEM opportunities, there is something unique on offer for Evanston’s kids almost everywhere.


There are four Little Green House locations, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, West Loop, and Evanston. The Evanston location is located on Central Street (temptingly close to Hartigan’s Ice Scream Shoppe for the would-be weak-willed) and features natural light in every classroom.
And green isn’t just in the name, it’s a founding principle. Everything from the energy standards of the appliances used in the facilities to the interiors being finished using toxic-free paints. This care is also extended to locally sourced food, cloth diapering, and toy selection.
Programs are available for infants (six weeks to 15 months), toddlers (15 months to 24 months), advanced toddlers (24 months to 36 months), preschoolers (36 months to 48 months), and pre-k (48 months to kindergarten).


The local Evanston branch of KinderCare accepts children into infant programs starting at six weeks and pre-kindergarten programs run through 5-year-olds. Before- and After-School programs are available for children ages 5-12.
An accredited early learning program by NAEYC.
The curriculum focuses on language and literacy development, social and emotional development, physical wellness, cognitive development, and creative expression.


Cherry Preschool is a not-for-profit accredited by DCFS and NAEYC that describes itself as “a part-day, play-based, developmental early childhood program.”
Classes vary based on the age of the child, but they can include a Transitional Kindergarten program, STEM program, Music programs, and an English/Spanish program.
Children are accepted into programs starting at age 2, and scholarships are available for those that qualify for financial assistance.


Unity Preschool is a not-for-profit early childhood educator located near the corner of Foster and Sherman that was founded in 1963 and has been serving the Evanston area for more than 50 years.
Classes are split into a 2/3 Class, a 3/4 Class, and a 4/5 Class. The academic calendar follows that of District 65 and tuition assistance is available for families that qualify.
Unity Preschool describes itself as attempting to foster an environment that “encourages learning and experimentation in the context of play while providing a comfortable, fun, and safe transition from home to school.”


Childtime was originally founded as a division of baby food giant Gerber and today there are over 200 learning centers across the nation. Many branches are located conveniently inside workplaces such as hospitals, offices, and government buildings.
Childtime offers parents access to live video streaming of all of its classrooms and real-time updates via its proprietary smartphone app.
Childtime offers programs for infants, toddlers, early preschool, and pre-K. Electives such as yoga, Spanish, phonics, handwriting, and advanced math are available for an additional fee.


Toddler Town’s daycare center is NAEYC accredited and provides care and educational services for Evanston children aged 2-6.
Toddler Town’s curriculum focuses on helping young children develop everything from motor skills to self-expression and personal responsibility. Creative play such as block building, music, and aerobics are vital to the learning process.
The Toddler Town Evanston location is open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 6 pm.


Covenant Nursery School was founded in 1954 and moved to its current three classroom location on Golf Road in 2012.
Covenant places a special emphasis on the importance of nature play to its early childhood educational programs, ensuring all children have a chance to have regularly scheduled time outdoors. Programs are part-day and begin for 2-year-olds and include other options, such as a year-long pre-K enrichment program for 4-year-olds.
New families should note that registration for the 2021-22 school year will begin February 15th.


Total Child is a non-sectarian preschool that operates out of the second floor of Evanston’s First United Methodist Church on Church Street. Facilities include five classrooms, an indoor and outdoor playground, and a library, you can take a video tour of the preschool here.
Classes are offered as both full day and part day options for children aged two to four years old. There is a separate Summer Explorers program that is offered for children aged three to five. The curriculum is based on active learning through play and works to introduce children to numbers, literacy, and social interactions.
Total Child is licensed by DCFS and accredited by NAEYC. It recently received the Gold Circle of Quality from the ExceleRate Illinois Program (the program’s highest honor). Total Child offers financial aid for families from all communities.


Chiaravalle Montessori is a private school that has been serving the Evanston community for over 50 years and offers a variety of schooling options for children aged from infants and toddlers through 12-year-old middle schoolers.
The Infant/Toddler program starts at six months and goes through age three. Montessori believed that a young child’s work is play, so your child will be allowed to move from activity to activity as they choose and won’t be interrupted if they have found something they would like to focus on. You can find out more about the school here.
Extended day programing is available until 6:00 pm and financial aid is available to families with a demonstrated need.


The Reba Early Learning Center is an independent non-profit preschool that was founded in 1966 as the Reba Place Day Nursery and has provided early education for Evanston children ages two to five ever since its opening. The center operates from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Two classrooms offer preschool opportunities for two to three-year-old children and three to five-year-old children with a curriculum that centers on healthy social interactions and age-appropriate academic concepts.
Reba Early Learning Center is accredited by the NAEYC and has achieved the highest level of award that ExceleRate offers, the Gold Circle of Quality.


With programs inspired by the Reggio-Emilia approach, Barbereux School has been providing a preschool through first-grade level learning environment for children ages 3-6 for 90 years. The school is NAEYC accredited and fully licensed by DCFS.
The Preschool and Junior Kindergarten programs run five days a week from the hours of 7:15 am – 6:00 pm, half-day programs run from 7:15 am – 12:45 pm. Kindergarten and first-grade programs are rigorous full-day educational undertakings from 9:00 am – 3:15 pm, with extended hours available from 7:15 am – 6:00 pm. All programs include a healthy snack and lunch that is prepared on premises by the school’s own cook.
The curriculum is heavily arts-inspired with activities for each classroom representing a carefully balanced blend of math, art, music, science, and literature.


Located on Chicago Avenue between Lee and Main you’ll find Puerta Abierta, a non-profit preschool founded in 1997 that is unique on this list for its Spanish language immersion focus, the only preschool in Evanston to offer such a program.
Puerta Abierta’s program is a mix of children whose native language is Spanish and children for whom Spanish will be a second or third language. Half-day and full-day programs are available Monday through Friday and early care is also an option starting at 7:45 am. The preschool program requires that children be at least two years old on their first day of class. Reduced tuition may be available.
Puerta Abierta strives to provide all of its children with an opportunity to take pride in their cultural heritage while also gaining an understanding and acceptance of other’s cultures and at the same time developing language skills in both English and Spanish.


Northminster Nursery School is a nonsectarian preschool that is located inside its namesake Northminster Presbyterian Church and serves children ages 2 to 5.
Morning classes are from 9:15 am to 11:45 am and evening classes and 12:45 to 3:15 pm. There is also an extended day program to bridge the two options. The two-year-old program runs two days a week and all other programs run three to five days a week. Tuition assistance is available, the school doesn’t want any tuition to be a barrier to enrollment.
For over 50 years Northminster Nursery School has strived to make sure each child feels that school is a safe, accepting, and exciting place to learn outside of their immediate family. The school features bright and airy classrooms and both an indoor and outdoor play place.


Evanston Montessori Children’s House is located off of Ridge Avenue and offers early childhood programs for two- to six-year-olds.
Partial day options range from 8:30 am to 11:30 am or 11:30 am to 2:30 pm two to five days a week. There is an optional lunch program that extends the day by half an hour till 12:30 pm, but it doesn’t include food. Extended day options are available five days a week from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.
Using methods pioneered by Maria Montessori, namely educational freedom within limits, Children’s House aims to help use a child’s existing emotional intelligence to help them develop both socially and academically. You can watch a welcome video the school has produced here.


Located in downtown Evanston, Bright Horizons offers early education and preschool programs that are accredited by NAEYC. The Evanston outpost of the national provider uses a standardized curriculum that emphasizes caring for oneself and others, as well as respect for the environment that we all live in and age-appropriate math and reading skills.
Facilities include a state-of-the-art STEM lab, an art studio, a reading nook, and multiple areas dedicated to movement, aerobics, and play.
Bright Horizons offers programs for infants, toddlers, twos, preschoolers, kindergarten prep, and summer camps. Operating hours are from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday.


JCC Chicago offers a comprehensive early childhood program at Evanston’s own Beth Emet Synagogue, one of seven such programs in the Chicagoland area. Programs are available for children from six weeks to four years.
Daycare is available from 6 weeks to 23 months. Preschool programming runs from ages two through four. Both full and half-day programs are available, and there are also options that can help save on the cost of summer camp when you combine them with offers from Evanston’s local Apachi day camp. You can find a full brochure on all of the JCC’s offerings here.
The JCC programs hope to fill all children with love, hope, and care as well as inspire a lifelong love of learning and the Jewish faith. The curriculum is filled with music, art, outdoor exploration, play, and celebrations of faith and values.


Little Feet Child Care and Preschool provides compassionate and professional services for children as young as a few weeks to as old as five years. Offerings include providing USDA approved menu (with vegetarian options served with all meals), a bright and clean learning environment, field trips, and webcam access.
The Little Feet curriculum is taught in English and German, is age-appropriate, and can include any of the following: block play, sand and water play, aerobics, literature, math, science, music, outdoor exploration, and art. It borrows heavily from the Star-Brite Learning curriculum which emphasizes family involvement, readiness skills, social development, and creativity.
Full and part-time care options are available as is a three-day-a-week pre-school program.

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