Parents in the Boston area who want to enrich their children’s pre-kindergarten years have a plethora of choices for private education, but many of the top schools have price tags that rival some colleges. Before you assume a really good preschool is out of reach, check out the best Boston-area options for parents with a budget. All of them have excellent reputations for nurturing children’s creativity, curiosity and love of learning in healthy learning environments, sending well-prepared graduates out into the world.

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The Preschool Experience
1091 Centre St.
Newton, MA 02459
(617) 964-6749

Click here for tuition and scheduling options

Nursery school classes at The Preschool Experience take place in a Victorian house with two classrooms, a kitchen for hands-on play and painting, and a block room for group play and music. Offering a low teacher-child ratio, the school’s focus is to enhance each child’s self-esteem and to help young individuals learn how to interact with others and with the world beyond. With an emphasis on helping children to develop their innate creativity, the curriculum includes opportunities for dramatic play, art expression, block building and tactile play. The Preschool Experience also offers a separate summer program that includes wading and water play, nature study, arts and crafts, music, dance and games for children from 3 to 5 years old.

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Eliot-Pearson Children’s School
105 College Ave.
Medford, MA 02155
(617) 627-3434

Hours: Mon to Fri – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Click here for tuition and scheduling options

Eliot-Pearson is a lab school that operates under the direction of the Child Development Department of Tufts University. It offers a variety of spontaneous and structured hands-on play activities designed to promote each child’s interaction with peers and teachers, and to promote his or her confidence, self-esteem, sense of wonder and passion for learning. Kids may engage in a variety of activities, including painting and drawing, legos, block building, music, woodworking, dramatic play, literature, writing, and sand, water and natural science exploration. The program encourages an appreciation for diversity, and actively seeks to include families from a variety of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds with children ages 2.9 to 4.8 years old.

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The Waldorf School
739 Massachusetts Ave.
Lexington, MA 02420
(781) 863-1062

Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Click here for tuition and fees

The emphasis at The Waldorf School’s preschool classes is on play, pure and simple, without academic pressure. With comfortable, home-like classrooms, and playthings made of natural materials, such as shells, crystals, cloth fabric, branches, and stones, the emphasis is on engaging children’s imaginations to allow the full expression of their individual creativity. Kids also participate in practical, hands-on activities such as bread-baking and gardening. Waldorf hosts seasonal festivals with lots of opportunities for exploration and outdoor play at the school’s 185-acre campus of meadows, forest and woodlands for children ages 3 to 4.5 years old.

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Beacon Hill Nursery School
74 Joy St.
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 227-0822

Hours: Mon to Fri – 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., by program
Click here for tuition

Serving children and their parents since 1955, Beacon Hill Nursery School is a nonprofit organization with a strong sense of service to the community. Its facilities include state-of-the-art classrooms, two recently renovated on-site playgrounds, including a natural playscape, a gym, lunchroom and kitchen. With an eclectic curriculum guided by the Reggio Emilia approach, Beacon Hill focuses on the needs of the whole child, which include an individual’s social-emotional development as well as cognitive, linguistic and physical needs for children 9 months to 5 years old. Children begin with a focus on tactile experiences, including molding dough, and as they progress, they learn to cooperate with others, use reason and logic, and enjoy participating in special projects.

Related: Tutoring Resources in Boston

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Nashoba Brooks School
200 Strawberry Hill Rd.
Concord, MA 01742
(978) 369-4591

Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Click here for tuition

Nashoba Brooks’ preschool program offers an interdisciplinary, hands-on curriculum with a focus on developing multiculturalism and creativity. Teachers nurture each child’s individuality and independence, while offering top-notch facilities such as technology labs, science centers, a dedicated arts building with a performance stage and visual arts studios. The guiding philosophy of Nashoba Brooks is one that embraces diversity, not only of race, but also of ethnic and religious heritage, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, family structure and geographic origin. There are ample opportunities for kids ages 3 to 5 years to romp and explore outdoors, in the school’s 30-acre campus of nature trails, playgrounds, athletic fields and ponds.

Maureen Harmonay wears many hats. She is a real estate agent who specializes in country estates, antique homes, and horse properties in the metrowest suburbs of Boston. With certifications in Feng Shui and as an Eco-Broker, she is keenly attuned to how energy affects the health of a home and its occupants, both humans and pets. Her work can be found at