Iowa City Area Preschool Guide

Welcome to the Iowa City Moms Blog Preschool Guide 2019! Searching for the right place for your child to learn and grow can be overwhelming, but we are here to help. There are an abundance of preschools, child care centers, and in-home programs to choose from in our area, and we hope this guide will provide you with the information you need to find the best fit for your family. 


iowa city preschool guide


Pre-Primary program: 2 years old
Primary program: ages 3-6

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday
Half-Day Primary and Pre-Primary Program (3-6 years of age) 8:30 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.
Full-Day Primary and Pre-Primary Program 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Before Program 7:30 – 8:15 a.m. After-school Program 3:15 – 6:00 p.m.

Enrollment Info:

A child can be registered to enroll in the Montessori School of Iowa City at any time before attending the school. The earlier a child is registered, the more likely he/she will secure a position. Registration requires a parent or guardian to complete a registration form and submit it with a non-refundable registration fee. Parents are encouraged to observe the school as part of the decision-making process. The registration procedure places the child in a waiting pool for enrollment.

Children entering the Primary program must be fully toilet trained. Discounts are available for multiple children from one family. Please ask for details. Class ratios are 10:1 for the Primary program and 6:1 for the Pre-Primary program.

The Montessori School of Iowa City’s mission is to provide authentic Montessori education that serves the child’s intrinsic motivation to learn and is inclusive, sustainable, and holistic. The Montessori School of Iowa City was founded in 1962 by a group of parents seeking a Montessori-based educational program for their children. The Montessori method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician. Fundamental to all of Dr. Montessori’s ideas is a deep respect for a child’s ability to learn. This innate potential to learn is dependent upon a loving environment that encourages the active pursuit of knowledge.

Classroom Lead teachers are certified by the American Montessori Society. Each classroom has a Lead teacher and an Assistant teacher. All staff members are required to pass background checks and are trained in CPR and First Aid as required by DHS. We value excellence in teaching the whole child customized to each student’s intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs and abilities. In addition to an authentic Montessori prepared environment in each classroom, we also offer specialized instruction in Spanish and Music.




Enrollment Info:

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center accepts registration for eLEAP at any time of the year until the class is full. Space is limited to allow for an individualized approach to meet each child’s needs.

Our Early Language Enrichment Academic Program (eLEAP) helps children prepare for classroom routines and expectations. Our small student to teacher ratio allows for individualized learning to help students find confidence with early literacy, math, and social skills. Using research-proven and play-based strategies, students will enjoy developing the skills they need for Kindergarten!



3-5 years of age. Students should be fully toilet-trained.

Hours of Operation:

Full-time Preschool M-F 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 
Part-time Preschool M-F 8:30 -11:30 a.m. 
Before School Program M-F 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. 
After School Program M-F 3:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Enrollment Info:

Willowwind accepts applications throughout the school year, enrolling students as space allows. Families may opt to be put on a waiting list if enrollment is full. Small class sizes are one of the many benefits at Willowwind. Preschool classrooms do not exceed 20 students, offering teacher ratios of 10:1.


The goal of Willowwind’s Montessori program is to teach the child as a whole, equally guiding the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth of each child. Through the prepared environment, calmness of the teacher, and attention to grace and courtesy, we strive to offer an educational experience based upon the teachings of Maria Montessori. The core Montessori curricular areas are Practical Life, Sensorial Development, Science, Language, Mathematics, Arts and Culture, and Grace and Courtesy.



6 weeks to 6 years

Hours of Operation:

7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Enrollment Info:

The Montessori Children’s Garden and Nursery accept registrations at any time of the year. Enrollment is offered in summer and fall for the preschool program and offered as openings become available for the nursery program. Our schools value small class sizes and follow Iowa DHS ratio guidelines.


The Montessori Children’s Garden is a Montessori preschool offering full and half day options for children ages 3-6. We offer activities in the areas of math, language, practical life, sensorial, science, geography, art, and weekly music and Spanish classes. Classes are led by fully certified and experienced Montessori teachers.

The Montessori Children’s Nursery is a school for infants and toddlers guided by the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori. Each child is encouraged to explore in a beautiful and orderly environment with materials carefully chosen for their educational purpose and sensory qualities. These values occur within a safe and supportive environment organized by experienced, Montessori trained teachers.


Garden: (319)665-9625

Nursery: (319)626-2608



Ages 3-5

Hours of Operation:

M-F 8:15-3:30

Classes: We offer 2-day (T/Th), 3-day (M/W/F), and 5-day (M-F) options.

We hold morning (9:00 – 1:00), afternoon (12:30  3:30), and full day (9:00 – -3:30). We have an early drop-off option.

Enrollment Info:

Children must be 3 years of age and toilet trained. Registration is ongoing and takes place year round. It is usually possible to make an offer to everyone on the list. It is beneficial to get your placement form/fee in early if you want a specific program (2-, 3- or 5-days). Placement for fall begins in January/February.

We are a play-based fine arts preschool, inspired by the Reggio approach and the Suzuki Method. We focus on creativity, imagination and exploration. Our goal is to help each child grow and learn in all areas of human experience as it fosters cooperation, caring, confidence, action, intellect, knowledge, beauty, and inherent motivation.

The Reggio Emilia schools were developed in Italy post WWII by parents and educator Loris Malaguzzi. The schools have become world renown for their innovative methods and were named by Newsweek as one of the ten best schools in the world. Preucil embraces this approach in our arts-rich and engaging environment.

Children learn best through play and hands-on activities in which they are active participants. We approach learning in a spontaneous, playful manner. Project based learning and emergent curriculum are interwoven to create a curriculum that values children’s ideas and promotes in-depth investigation of those ideas. Music and art are offered daily with trained teachers. In music, children work on basic musical skills and most importantly, experience the joy of music. Our art studio is available daily for children to explore—it is a haven for their creative risks and whimsy. Children explore the world and its natural phenomena in our spacious playground. Sand, mud, water, grass, logs and stones are just a few of the natural materials that are accessible. Developing friendships and the important social skills of negotiation and compassion happens as we learn and play together.

Class sizes number between 16 and 19. Each class has a lead teacher and one or two aides, an available full-time art teacher and a daily music class taught by a music teacher. Preucil Preschool has been celebrating children’s interests, ideas, and curiosities since 1976.



6 weeks-6 years

Hours of Operation:

6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Enrollment Info:

We are currently accepting enrollment reservations for June 2019. You are welcome to join our wait list. Wait list forms are accepted on an ongoing basis. If you are placed on our wait list, we will contact you if openings become available at any point throughout the year.

Call today to schedule your tour!

La Montessori Nurtury is excited to welcome your child to our beautiful new space, featuring a peaceful, no-clutter environment; experienced teachers; child-led learning; unique enrichment activities; and an incredible outdoor area for learning and play.

LMN offers an authentic Montessori experience that is also fresh and convenient for today’s busy families in an ever-changing world. The timeless Montessori method encourages the natural inclination of children to be independent and to learn. By allowing children to freely explore their carefully-prepared environment, teachers nurture their natural curiosities in each curricular area, while also encouraging meaningful participation in the life of their family, community, and school. At LMN, teachers create individualized learning plans for each student in the curricular areas of practical life, geography and cultural studies, sensorial, math, science, language, music, and art. There is emphasis on cultivating grace and courtesy, fostering a sense of community in the classroom, and preparing students for life beyond its walls.

In the Montessori philosophy, the classroom is viewed as a microcosm of society—that is, a little community itself—so LMN strives to bring the modern world in. Foreign language classes taught by a native Spanish teacher are part of our cultural curriculum component. Fun activities are planned to teach about age-appropriate current events, and families are encouraged to share about their cultural traditions and travel experiences.

To provide convenient extracurricular opportunities, on-site enrichment classes are offered for children ages 2-6 years old including soccer, gymnastics, cooking class, yoga, and dance. Even the schedule is designed to be convenient for busy families. LMN Day School offers fulltime and part-time program options (Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday) for children ages 6 weeks-6 years. All options are for an unlimited amount of hours every day of the week or on the specified part-time days.

Preschool teachers hold a high standard of qualifications including bachelors’ and masters’ degrees in early childhood education.

We are currently accepting enrollment reservations for June 2019. You are welcome to join our wait list. Wait list forms are accepted on an ongoing basis. If you are placed on our wait list, we will contact you if openings become available at any point throughout the year. We invite your child to join us at La Montessori Nurtury, where a life long love of learning is born!



3-5 years of age

Hours of Operation:

Tues/Thurs Preschool: 9:00-12:00
Mon/Wed/Fri Pre-K: 9:00-12:00
Mon-Fri: 9:00-12:00
MWF: Extended Day Learning Program 12:00-1:00 (for an extra fee)

Enrollment Info:

Children must be three (by the first day of preschool) to five years old, toilet trained, and not yet enrolled in kindergarten. Prior to your child’s first day of attendance, we must have a physical form, immunization record, financial agreement, and a completed registration form on file. A deposit of one month of tuition must accompany your registration in order to reserve a place for your child. This payment is non-refundable but covers your last tuition payment (in May). There is also a $25 non-refundable application fee due at the time of registration. Please call for a tour of our preschool.

A Christian preschool is a very effective agency for teaching Christian love through example and experience. It provides time for quality education and training in a warm and friendly atmosphere where preschool children can learn to play creatively with one another. Each child develops skills and self-reliance at his/her own rate of progress.

Parkview Christian Preschool is a play based program. Preschool children are guided to discover the world around them and learn through hands-on experiences. They are encouraged to follow directions, show consideration, and develop skills at their own rate in a developmentally appropriate way. Through play, each child will develop physically, socially, intellectually, and emotionally. Students are encouraged to solve problems, use their skills, and discover their place in the world as they begin to understand the role of others.



4 to 5-year-olds

Hours of Operation:

3 Day Option
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

5 Day Option
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

*Before and after school care available

Enrollment Info:

Enrollment for the 2019-2020 School year is now open. All students must turn four years old by the first day of school and be fully toilet trained and independent in the bathroom. Parents wishing to enroll their children at Heritage Christian School in Pre-Kindergarten must complete an Application for Admission with a nonrefundable application fee ($40) and set up a time to interview with the Head of School. Contact us today to learn more about our school and start the process!

Pre-Kindergarten at Heritage provides a jump-start to the Kindergarten environment. The four and five-year-olds in our pre-K program are given an introduction to the structured classroom with preschool-style fun and discovery. Our Before and After School Program offers flexible hours like a daycare. While comparable in hours to other Iowa City preschools or Iowa City daycares, Heritage stands unique in its low cost for a full, or partial, day of care and education for a child.

Our Goal: The goal of Heritage Pre-Kindergarten is to create a conducive environment for students to learn about God, themselves and their surroundings, while acquiring vital foundational skills and knowledge for a continual life of learning, exploration, investigation, experimentation and discovery. Our mission at Heritage is to lay a solid foundation for our students on which the rest of life is built. Time is a priceless commodity. It is our desire to assist parents in using this year to its greatest extent!



3-5 year olds

Hours of Operation:

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Enrollment Info:

Our preschool year begins in September and ends in May with registration for the fall beginning in February. We also accept applications throughout the school year as long as there are still openings. Students can be placed on a waiting list if the preschool classes are full. Families can choose 2, 3, or 5 mornings a week. Children must be toilet-trained. Low student-teacher ratios.


Christ the King Preschool strives to lay the foundation for skills that will last a lifetime. We provide a nurturing environment to further learning, social skills, and spiritual growth. Our program focuses not only on academic activities such as reading, science, arts, and music, but also places importance on teaching young children how to work well with others in their community. Christ the King Preschool is Christian-based, but is open and welcoming to all faiths.



Preschool: 3- and 4-year-olds
Bridge Year: 4- and 5-year-olds

Hours of Operation:

8:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Bussing is available. The bus leaves Iowa City/Coralville at 8:15 a.m. and returns at 3:30 p.m. Before and After School Programming is also available. 

Enrollment Info:

Our preschool program accepts children for 2-day, 3-day, or 5-day schedules. Students must be potty-trained before enrollment. 

Our Bridge Year program is a full-time program for 4- and 5-year-olds.

Email [email protected] for more information, or fill out an application for enrollment.


Prairie Green School is a unique non-profit school that provides the Iowa City area with a year-round holistic schooling option for children ages 3-14 years old.  At Prairie Green, students are encouraged to ask questions, follow passions, and solve problems. Almost every situation can be turned into a learning opportunity when students are encouraged to question the world around them.

As a nature-immersion school, students spend time outdoors in all seasons and all weather. We have a strong focus on sustainability, experiential learning, and connecting with our community and each other. 

Our preschool program accepts children ages 3 and 4 for 2-day, 3-day, or 5-day schedules. Students must be potty-trained before enrollment. 

Our Bridge Year program is a full-time program for 4- and 5-year-olds. This program is meant to serve as a bridge from early childhood into elementary school, offering students a healthy balance of play and challenge, joy and focus, freedom and responsibility.




3-5 years of age. Students should be toilet-trained.

Hours of Operation:

Labor Day-Memorial Day

5-Day Morning Preschool Pre-Kindergarten for 4-5 year olds: M-F 9 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

3-Day Morning Preschool for 4 year olds: MWF 9 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

2-Day Morning Preschool for 3 year olds: TTH 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Enrollment Info:

Performing Arts Preschool accepts applications through the school year, enrolling students as space allows. Placement for fall begins in February. Preschool classes are capped at 16 students, offering a 8:1 teacher ratio. Each preschool room has a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. There are also designated music and art instructors who teach small-group lessons each day.


As parents and educators, we’ve noticed the recent trend toward a focus on letters and numbers in preschool. This seems to come at the expense of vital social, physical and creative development during our children’s most crucial early learning window. The CREATE Curriculum, designed by the Performing Arts Preschool faculty, is finely tuned to the developmental stages of preschoolers, and nurtures analytical and creative learning. We seek to develop the whole child — mind, body and spirit — while fostering academic readiness and creative abilities through a deeply enriching fine arts curriculum.

Other Reader-Recommended Preschools

Iowa City

Apple Tree Children’s Center

Christ the King Christian Preschool

Discovery Cottage Preschool 

Good Shepherd Preschool 


Kirkwood School for Children

La Petite Academy

Lion Heart Early Learning Center

Mary Jo Small Child Care at Brookland Woods

Our Redeemer Preschool

Parkview Preschool 

Preucil School of Music

Regina Early Childhood Center

Stepping Stones Preschool

Sunshine Daycare & Preschool

Treebrook Preschool

University Preschool

Willowwind School


Academy of Early Learning

Creation Kids Preschool (Coralville Location)

Grace Garden Preschool and BASP

Handicare Inc. Daycare Center

Helping Hands Playschool

Love-A-Lot Early Childhood Center 

Montessori School

Nolte Performing Arts Preschool

Prince of Peace Christian Preschool

Simple Abundance

North Liberty

Corridor Christian Early Learning Center

Creation Kids Preschool (North Liberty location)

Heritage Christian School

Montessori Children’s Garden 

North Liberty Community Preschool

Purple Bloom Preschool


Graceland Preschool


Prairie Green School


All Aboard Daycare/Preschool 

Lakeview Preschool 

Play & Learn Preschool


All God’s Children Preschool

West Branch

Hoover Elementary Pre-K

West Branch Community Early Learning Center

Multiple Locations

ICCSD preschool programs 

Head Start through HACAP

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Lianna is a homesteading mama of three: a sparkly seven-year-old daughter, a joyful five-year-old boy, and a confident three-year-old boy. After graduating from the University of Iowa’s college of education, she started Wondergarten Early Enrichment Home, a multi-age, play-based early childhood program. A self-proclaimed Queen Dabbler, she has a long list of hobbies (from gardening and canning to sewing and painting), and doesn’t mind being only mediocre at all of them. She lives with her husband, mother, three kiddos, dog, cat, rabbits, dwarf goats, and chickens on an acreage in the country. The Cornally family spends their time talking about education, learning how to grow and preserve their own food, and romping around in their woods.


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