Precious little is as critical to parents as the early education opportunities afforded their children. Thank goodness the Valley is teeming with options. Here’s a closer look at just 10 of the many.
The Children’s Farm
At The Children’s Farm, located just outside of Stillwater in West Lakeland, Minn., hands-on, experiential learning is a top priority, and there’s plenty for children to explore. The Children’s Farm isn’t just a cute name either—the preschool is really set on an actual farm with cows, pigs, chickens and the like.
Board director and founder Nancy Jones says that the outdoors provides a plethora of learning opportunities for little ones. “We try to use the farm setting as a very interesting and motivating place for children to learn and grow,” she says. “Right now we are learning to count, and we’re counting chickens, we’re counting kittens.” There’s an indoor classroom for the chillier months, but Jones says the staff tries to get children outside as often as possible. Classes are capped at 18 to allow for individualized attention, which is integral to children’s growth. Half-day programs run mornings 9 to 11:30 a.m. or afternoons 12:15 to 2:45 p.m. Costs vary depending on sessions; check online for more information.
Ark of Angels Preschool at St. Croix Catholic
The faith-based St. Croix Catholic preschool is unique in that it also incorporates many elements of Montessori learning. Full- and half-day programs are available for children 33 months and older. $175/month for one full day/week. $155 for two half-days/week. $220/month for three half-days/week.
Bethel Highlands Lutheran
Bethel Highlands is open to children ages 3 to 4. Its engaging curriculum nurtures all aspects of children’s development—physical, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual. 4K half-day classes are free for Hudson area residents. $158/month for two half-days/week, $210/month for three half-days/week, $290/month for two full days/week, $425/month for three full days/week.
The staff at Hudson KinderCare is passionate about making a learning environment full of joy and adventure for children. Open Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., this center serves kids as young as 6 weeks to as old as 12 years. Costs vary.
Little Minds Learning
In addition to flexible hours to accommodate moms’ and dads’ busy schedules, Little Minds Learning preschool offers a range of unique enrichment classes, such as yoga, sign language and Spanish. Costs vary.
New Horizon Academy
With locations across the Twin Cities metro, New Horizon has been serving local families and their little ones since 1971. Innovative technology allows for regular updates throughout the day via smartphone or tablet.
Salem Lutheran School
Salem Lutheran’s preschool offers programs focused on holistic development in a Christian-based environment for children 33 months to 5 years of age. Full-day programs run 9:15 a.m. to 3:40 p.m., and half-days 9:15 to 11:45 a.m. $15/day for half-days. $28/day for full days.
Sunny Hill Preschool
Sunny Hill has a long history in the St. Croix Valley. Since 1960, it’s provided little ones with a warm, encouraging environment in which to learn and grow. Half-day classes run 9 to 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 to 3 p.m. Full-day classes run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. $155 to $345/month for a half-day; $350 to $720/month for a full day.
St. Croix Kids
Small class sizes, flexible schedules and an expansive outdoor space set this early childhood center apart. Full-day classes at St. Croix Kids run 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours available. Costs vary.
Trinity Academy of Hudson
Trinity’s tight-knit community, with caring teachers and engaged families, offers the perfect atmosphere for an early childhood program serving children 6 months to 6 years. Costs vary.