Iowa City Preschool Guide 2021

Iowa City Area Preschool Guide graphic

Welcome to the Iowa City Moms Preschool Guide 2021! 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, but we hope this guide will provide you with the information you need to find the best fit for your family.


Montessori School of Iowa City


2-10 years old

Hours of Operation:


  • Half-Day Schedule (pre-primary classes and primary classes)
    8:15 a.m.–11:15 a.m.
  • Full-Day Schedule (pre-primary classes and primary classes)
    8:15 a.m.–3:15 p.m.
  • Elementary Classes
    8 a.m. – 3 p.m. (before and after school available)
  • Before Program
    7:30 a.m. –8:15 a.m.
  • After-school Program
    3:15 p.m. –6 p.m.

COVID-19 Modifications:

We have a COVID-19 Prevention Plan and Policy. Our school also has a COVID-19 committee comprised of five board members that meets routinely.

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 they 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 schedule a tour prior to registering.
Children entering the Primary program must be fully toilet trained. Discounts are available for multiple children from one family.

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. 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 Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. 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. Schedule a tour here to learn more.


Montessori Children's Garden and Nurtury


6 weeks to 6 years

Hours of Operation:

7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

COVID-19 Modifications

All staff and children age 2-years-old and above are wearing masks.

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:

Monday – Friday

  • 8:15 a.m. -3:30 p.m.


  • 2-day (T/Th)
  • 3-day (M/W/F)
  • 5-day (M-F) options.

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

COVID-19 Modifications:

We are currently holding a virtual winter session (Jan 11-March 12) after which time we will re-assess. We are now taking placement forms for a fall 2021 in-person program, pending vaccinations and decreased COVID-19 positivity numbers. COVID-19 protocols taken at that time will be developed under guidance of CDC recommendations and local health authorities. Safety and health are priorities.

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.



3-5 year olds

Hours of Operation:


  • 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

COVID-19 Modifications

We take COVID-19 very seriously and follow recommended protocols. We maintain a high standard of cleaning, take temperatures, and students and teachers wear masks. For detailed information, please contact the preschool and we can share our written policy.

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. Registration forms can be found on our website, can be sent to prospective families, emailed to families, or picked up in person. We give tours with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Christ the King Christian Preschool is a well established preschool that has been providing a positive learning environment for preschoolers for over 30 years. We strive 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 play based 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. Christ the King Preschool is Christian-based, but is open and welcoming to all faiths. To learn more about our program, we highly encourage calling or emailing to set up a tour.


Purple Bloom School


Pre-K for ages 3-5

Overall school for ages 6 weeks to 6th grade

Hours of Operation:

Monday through Friday

  • 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

COVID-19 Modifications:

Modifications include using an outside door for each classroom for drop-off and pick up, daily temperature checks for staff and students, masks requirements for all staff, masks requirements for students that are able, separate gym and playground time for each class, parents do not enter the building, hand washing often, all DHS cleaning protocol, and use of Johnson County Nurse Consultant. Please email [email protected] for full COVID-19 Purple Bloom School policies.

Enrollment Info:

Contact [email protected] or visit our website for registration forms.

Purple Bloom offers social/emotional focused, child-directed, play-based learning Pre-K for ages 3-5. Sensory time, outdoor play, calming meditation techniques, and experiential art are just some of the teaching tools used by our trained Pre-K teachers. All levels of potty training accepted from diapers to potty experts for Pre-K. Not quite ready for kindergarten? Bridge year program for 5-year-olds also available!



3-5 years of age and fully potty trained at enrollment.

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. *

*ASP is not being offered this school year but we intend to offer full BASP for the 21-22 academic year.

COVID-19 Modifications:

All individuals are required to wear face masks and/or face shields as well as practice safe social distancing while on Willowwind’s campus. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors must complete a health screening and temp check upon arrival. While Willowwind is committed to the practices that make in-person learning possible, the school is prepared to shift to virtual learning should that be warranted. Our Return to Learn plan is available online.

Enrollment Info:

Willowwind uses a rolling admissions process, filling space as it is available. Families may opt to go on a waiting list when enrollment is full. Prospective families can expect to have a school tour and classroom visit as part of the enrollment process.

Willowwind’s Montessori Preschool offers an engaging educational experience based upon the teachings of Maria Montessori. The goal of Willowwind’s preschool program is to teach the whole child, equally guiding their physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth. Students learn through observation, hands-on exploration, and modeling of peers and teachers.

Lead teachers are Montessori certified with backgrounds in early childhood education. Children are guided through the core Montessori curricular areas and are also engaged in specials classes like physical education, art, and music.

Willowwind’s Montessori Preschool is committed to helping each child discover their unique strengths and talents in a learning environment that embraces exploration and questioning. Willowwind School develops passionate and confident individuals who value empathy, independence, community, and responsibility.

We encourage families to investigate, explore, and enjoy the spirit of learning that takes place at Willowwind’s Montessori Preschool! Contact us to schedule your tour today. See you soon!


La Montessori Nurtury


6 weeks-6 years

Hours of Operation:

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

Enrollment Info:

La Montessori Nurtury enrolls on an ongoing basis. Call or email to schedule a tour. We have full time and part-time (Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday) options. All options are inclusive of an unlimited amount of hours between 6:30 am and 5:30 pm and include breakfast, lunch and snack.

La Montessori Nurtury is excited to welcome your child to our unique preschool program, featuring experienced teachers; a peaceful, no-clutter environment; 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.

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.

A Pre-K Enrichment program is included for 4-5 year olds in our preschool classes. This is a small group that meets three times weekly to focus on kindergarten readiness. The focus is on challenging children in the areas of language, science, and mathematics. Monthly plans are provided for the Pre-K parents outlining concepts and methods used.


cadence academy preschoo logo


6 weeks – 5 years

Hours of Operation:

7  a.m. – 6 p.m.

COVID-19 Modifications:

Face masks are required for all students and staff. Face shields are allowed but must also wear a mask.

Enrollment Info:

Now enrolling all ages.
The preschool programs at Cadence Academy Preschool, Iowa City are designed to help young children reach important milestones at every stage of development. We take a skill-based approach to early education that balances intellectual, physical, and emotional development and our curriculum is designed to progressively build valuable skill sets each month! Our students graduate from our Pre-K program confident and ready for kindergarten!


Regina Catholic Education Center logo


Three year old Preschool: Age 3 by Sept. 15
Pre-Kindergarten Program: Ages 4 – 5 by Sept. 15

Hours of Operation:


  • Mon through Fri, 8:15 – 11:45 a.m.
  • Mon/Wed/Fri, 8:15 – 11:45 a.m.

Three year old Preschool

  • Mon/Wed/Fri, 8:15 – 11:40 a.m.
  • Tues/Thurs 8:15 – 11:40 a.m.

Daycare Option (Includes Preschool)

  • 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

COVID-19 Modifications:

We are limiting the number of families in our school. A daily health screening is conducted, and staff and children’s temperatures are taken before moving past the lobby upon arrival. Class size is limited to 10 children, and classrooms are arranged to encourage social distancing. Consistent groupings are used as often as possible and we are not serving meals family-style. Proper and frequent hand washing is practiced. Staff wear masks, gloves and other PPE as required. Equipment and materials are cleaned and sanitized throughout the day and at the end of the evening.

Enrollment Info:

Children must be 3-4 years old by Sept. 15 and must be fully toilet trained. Registration is year-round based on classroom availability. Students can be placed on a waiting list if the classrooms are full. Admission forms must be completed and are conveniently available online. Call Barbara Meyer at 319-337-6189 or email [email protected] to learn more or receive the link to the online admission forms.

Regina Catholic Education Center is proud to provide a safe and nurturing environment for your child’s early education programming. Enrollment for our program begins as early as age 3 and goes through age 5 for Pre-Kindergarten. We feel that growth takes love. Learning through love promotes loving to learn.

Schedule: We offer a convenient and flexible schedule so you can choose the weekly plan that works best for your family. Options include: 2 half days, 3 half days, 5 Pre-K half days, and/or extended Childcare in the afternoons until 5:30 pm. You create what your week looks like.

Academics: Our Early Childhood and Pre-K curriculum features a variety of engaging subjects including math, science, language, reading, singing, Spanish, sign language, creative arts, and dramatic play as well as a certified outdoor Nature Explore classroom. All of our students participate in hands-on, play-based learning in a stimulating and nurturing environment.

Community: Our preschool students participate in multiple service projects which help them learn how to contribute to and have empathy for their larger community. A partnership with Regina Elementary and Jr/Sr High School offers opportunities to interact with older student buddies which helps to build a sense of community and support within our education center.

Safety: All of our buildings and classrooms are safe and secure with keycard entry by authorized staff only.

Faith: All Christian faiths are welcome. Our students participate in prayer before snack and lunch. Children will have the opportunity to grow their appreciation of God’s love through engaging activities.

Other Reader-Recommended Preschools

Iowa City

Cadence Academy

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

UIHC Childcare

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 of Iowa City

Prince of Peace Christian Preschool

Purple Bloom School

Simple Abundance

North Liberty

Corridor Christian Early Learning Center

Creation Kids Preschool (North Liberty location)

Education Station

Frog Hollow Kids Campus

Heritage Christian School

Montessori Children’s Garden


Graceland Preschool


All Aboard Daycare/Preschool

Lakeview Preschool

Play & Learn Preschool


All God’s Children Preschool

The Good Earth

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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Katie is a spouse, mother, and professional communicator. She became acquainted with Iowa City as a student at the University of Iowa, earning degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and most recently her MA in Strategic Communication. Katie and her husband met and fell in love in Iowa City, deciding to never leave. Their family can often be found eating their way through downtown, walking their dog in City Park, or cheering on their beloved Hawkeyes at live sporting events.


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