Welcome to the annual Champaign-Urbana Area Preschool Guide. It is our belief that there is no one best preschool in Champaign-Urbana — or anywhere for that matter. Not every school is right for every child. That is why it is important for parents to shop around, to find what works for your child — and what works for your family.
This guide features schools that:
- cater to children generally ages 2-5, although most are for 3-5. Many (but not all) require children to be potty-trained upon admission.
- are in session a few hours per day and operate on school-year calendars. There are some grey areas; some schools may offer optional extended care options and some offer extended calendar years.
What schools are NOT in this guide?
- Centers that *ONLY* offer year-round, full-time care are not on this list. If you are looking for full-time childcare, check out our Daycare Centers Kids Love Guide.
All listings are sponsors of chambanamoms.com
Preschool Curriculum: Our Preschool Curriculum has been developed to support the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: Our Preschool is located in our Kindergarten wing and viewed as part of our school not an extension.
What the Director Says: St. Matthew Preschool provides a well-balanced curriculum allowing our students to learn, play and build relationships.
Open House Date(s): January 31, 2018 from 9:00-11:00 or call the office for a tour
Location: St. Matthew School, 1307 Lincolnshire Dr., Champaign
Are you looking for an exciting way to help prepare your child for Kindergarten? I-Power School of Gymnastics is offering Gym N Learn, a fitness-based learning program.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: Gymnastics in addition to Preschool education. Our Gym N Learn is offered for boys and girls ages 3 to 5, and the class ratio is 1 instructor for every six children. Each week is themed with a letter of the alphabet and includes a fun warm-up, stretching, music, story time, learning centers, an educational craft, and gymnastics activities.
What the Director Says: Leah Harshbarger is our Gym N Learn director who has over 17 years of preschool education experience, along with 5 years of gymnastics coaching experience.
Open House Date(s): January 10-12
Preschool Curriculum: FBC Preschool uses a fun, hands-on school readiness program. Get Set for School, by Handwriting Without Tears, is an award-winning Pre-K curriculum that focuses on playful learning to develop coloring, drawing, counting, building and handwriting readiness skills. This easy-to-teach, easy-to-learn curriculum makes learning important pre-writing and letter recognition skills fun for the preschool students.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: The preschool teaching staff strives to teach the values of Christian faith to the preschool children through guided conversations, spontaneous teachable moments, Bible stories and songs. FBC preschool offers small classroom sizes of no more than 10 preschool students per class so that student/teacher ratio is at its best. Our 3 and 4/5-year-old classes have one teacher per classroom and our 2-year-old classes have two teachers per classroom.
What the Director Says: The preschool has been a part of the community for the past 35 years and has a caring, dedicated teaching staff is committed to helping each child grow and develop. The director’s name is Jaymie Shine and has been with the school since 1991.
Open House Date(s): Thursday, February 15 from 6–7 pm
Location: First Baptist Church Preschool, 1602 Prospect at Burwash, Savoy
Preschool Curriculum: My Morning Out offers a play-based curriculum with activities designed to foster enthusiasm and creativity, and to introduce academics through play. We help children become independent, self-confident, curious learners who can work well with others.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: Our Preschool program is open to children 2 1/2 to PreK. Our Drop-In program, for children from 6 weeks to PreK, is flexible and unique among childcare programs in the area. You use as much or as little as you want — and only pay for the hours you use. MMO also provides a weekly music class where children sing, dance and play instruments with our music teacher.
What the Director Says: At MMO, children PLAY, LEARN and GROW! Through our Preschool and our flexible Drop-In program, children have opportunities every day to make new friends, discover the world around us and develop skills they’ll use throughout their lives. We are proud to have been an important part of the Champaign-Urbana community for more than 50 years – providing high-quality childcare to generations of families.
Open House Date(s): February 6 from 5;30-6:30 p.m.
Location: MMO – Temple Baptist Church, 1100 Broadmoor Drive, Champaign
Preschool Curriculum: Coop uses the Creative Curriculum by Diane Trister Dodge when planning and implementing activities for our classrooms. For discipline Coop follows the steps of “Conscious Discipline” by Dr. Becky Bailey. We offer daily art, math, literacy, and science activities. One day each week we offer a music class and a circle time in Spanish for our students.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: Family involvement! Our families are able to fully participate in their child’s preschool experience. Parents have 3 levels of classroom participation to choose from. How much involvement is totally up to the parents. Each classroom has a certified Head teacher, an assistant teacher, and one parent present every day. We have smaller class sizes than most of the preschools in town, with a fabulous adult/child ratio. Children do not need to be potty trained to begin our program. We enjoy working with parents on this important milestone.
What the Director Says: Coop provides a safe, nurturing learning environment for every child that encourages self-confidence, independence, responsibility, and socialization. We are very fortunate to have a culturally diverse enrollment which enriches our classroom community. At Coop, children, families, and teachers play, learn, and work together! Anna Cech/Director
Open House Date(s): Thursday February 15, 2018, 5:30-6:30 p.m. and Friday February 23, 2018, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Location: First Presbyterian Church, entrance on Orchard St., 602 W. Green Street, Urbana
Preschool Curriculum: We use “Handwriting Without Tears” for our handwriting curriculum as well as Scripture Bites for our Biblical integration. We also use creative thematic units to reinforce what our academic and spiritual goals are for the week.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: Our school is so special because everything we do comes back to our relationship with Jesus Christ! We are an academic Preschool but with the foundational base of a Biblical worldview. We also have teachers who truly feel called to work with this special age of children. It is a feeling of family!
What the Director Says: My name is Becky Davis and I am the Preschool Director here at Judah Christian Preschool. Judah is an amazing place for your child to begin their formal educational walk. Our teachers are wonderful, loving ladies that connect well with this age of child and use each chance they have to create teachable moments. I would love to see more children have the chance to experience Judah!
Open House Date(s): Thursday, February 22nd 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: Judah Christian School, 908 N. Prospect Avenue, Champaign
Preschool Curriculum: At St. John Little Lamb Preschool, we encourage students to participate in a variety of learning experiences that enhance early learning. Activities at Little Lamb Preschool develop fine and gross motor skills, and students engage in developmentally appropriate, play-based learning about letters, numbers, language, science, art, and more!
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: St. John Little Lamb Preschool provides a caring place for students to engage in active learning which involves hands on exploration, observation, and problem solving. Our school provides an outdoor playground, garden, and an indoor gym for physical activity and discovery. Little Lamb students learn about God’s love and forgiveness through Bible stories, songs and role playing. Children’s devotions and prayers are integrated daily.
– Stephanie Middendorf, Lead Preschool Teacher
Open House Date(s): Community Open House on Tuesday, February 27th, 5-6:30pm. Personal tours are readily available by calling the school office.
Location: St. John Lutheran School, 509 S. Mattis Avenue, Champaign
Preschool Curriculum: At FFP we learn through purposeful play. In our classrooms, opportunities abound for hands-on experiences in literacy, math, science, process art and dramatic play. FFP provides a Christian environment that encourages learning, teaches to the developmental needs of children and respects the unique lifestyle of each child.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: We have mixed age classrooms where children drive the curriculum and are encouraged to let their true selves show. We meet all children where they are and guide them along their individual developmental path. At Faithful Friends, teachers facilitate the development of secure social-emotional skills and help to build genuine relationships between kids as well as between children and adults.
What the Director Says: Faithful Friends is a great place for children to spend their mornings filled with opportunities for authentic experiences. And while we know when the time comes, the children who attend FFP will transition right into kindergarten and future adventures; our primary focus is on the now–for every school day to be your child’s best day as a 2, 3, or 4 year old! Julie Healy, FFP Director
Location: Faith United Methodist Church, 1719 South Prospect Ave., Champaign
Preschool Curriculum: Carle Auditory Oral School (CAOS) is a private school program focused on listening and spoken language development. Originally founded as a school for children with hearing loss, it was quickly discovered that the hands-on, language-rich learning environment has tremendous benefits for children with normal hearing as well. Small class sizes, highly-skilled teachers, thematic lessons and environmental learning give students the edge they need to be successful both in and outside of school.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: At Carle Auditory Oral School, children with hearing loss learn alongside those with normal hearing, creating an ideal environment for developing communication and social skills.
What the Director Says: CAOS strives to provide children with a solid foundation of self-confidence, concern for others, academic readiness and enthusiasm for the learning process. –Danielle Chalfant, Carle Auditory Oral School
Open House Date(s): Please call to schedule a tour.
Location: Carle Auditory Oral School, 805 W. Park Street, Urbana
Preschool Curriculum: Wee Disciples Preschool encourages self-directed, play-based learning paired with direct instruction by an experienced teacher. Our study of the Bible, as well as the various units of study, guides our teaching and learning. The major areas of child growth and development are spiritual, social-emotional, cognitive, language, and physical. Our program provides a balance of large and small group activities and is organized with learning centers that promote concepts in the curriculum areas of Bible stories and worship, language arts and emergent literacy, mathematics, science and technology, social studies and Christian attitudes, music, art, fine and gross motor skills, and dramatic play. Assessment of student skills and interests assist teachers in adapting the curriculum to meet the individual needs of all students.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: Wee Disciples Preschool embraces Christian attitudes and teaches the love of Jesus throughout the preschool day. We strive to provide a quality, Christ-centered Early Childhood program that is developmentally appropriate and meets the various needs of all students in a multi-age group classroom. We support families in preparing their child for Kindergarten by providing comprehensive student progress reports and parent teacher conferences twice a year. We also offer many activities to bridge school and home such as weekly newsletters, weekly literacy bag check out, monthly student/parent homework, parent volunteer opportunities, and family activity nights.
What the Director Says: What a blessing it is to be a part of the Wee Disciples Preschool Program. We offer the community a quality, Christian Early Childhood program where all children grow both developmentally and spiritually. Our program provides families with the option of a 2, 3 or 5 day morning multi-age classroom. If you are interested in learning more about our unique preschool program, please contact me with any questions. Karen Rohrer, Director and Lead Teacher
Open House Date(s): Registration for the 2017-18 school year begins March 1st. To schedule a school tour email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: Wee Disciples Preschool, Trinity Lutheran Church, 701 E. Florida Ave, Urbana
Preschool Curriculum: Our program provides children with a warm, loving, and nurturing environment where they are valued and celebrated as individuals. Our teachers provide individualized learning opportunities for each student, always challenging them to extend their thinking while providing the loving support a child needs to feel in order to do so. In addition to math and language, our program also includes art, science, music, Spanish and literacy classes taught by specialists.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: The newly constructed preschool building supports our dedication to holistically educating each child. A science classroom, indoor gymnasium and reading room provide preschool students with unparalleled learning opportunities. Children enjoy a daily schedule that is balanced with plenty of time for play and fun, active-learning experiences.
What the Director Says: We value open communication with our families and view partnerships with them as a vital component in helping each child reach his or her fullest potential.
Location: Next Generation Preschool, 2508 Galen Drive, Champaign
Preschool Curriculum: The preschool program at Holy Cross School provides children with a loving and caring environment. We wish to inspire children to love learning. We do that by creating a fun and innovative environment, filled with research based teaching techniques and child led experiences. The fun of seeking creative solutions, questioning, and problem solving are encouraged. Games, music, field trips, language arts, math enrichment, science explorations, and art activities enhance the pleasure your child will have learning with peers.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique:
We offer extended care with flexible scheduling. We are open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. We offer a morning preschool program starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 11 a.m. Parents can pick up their child at 11:00am, or sign up for extended care which will include lunch, rest time, and continued enrichment. We follow Holy Cross School calendar.
What the Director Says: “Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” (Matthew 19:14) Our Catholic Preschool takes Jesus’ words to heart providing a safe, nurturing environment for your child- an environment where education and prayer go hand in hand.”
Open House Date(s): Please call or come by any time for a tour
Preschool Curriculum: We use our own Waldorf-based curriculum scaffolded around seasons, community, relationships, and celebrations to engage children in learning. Each child’s role as the director of their education is stimulated through immersion in nature, practical activities, imaginative play, and artistic works.
What Makes Your Preschool Unique: Sprouts is a small-scale preschool with a mixed-age group for children between 15 months and 5 years provided by two U of I graduates in Early Childhood Education.
What the Director Says: The combination of our roles as the owners, directors, and teachers at Sprouts allows us the freedom and flexibility to provide truly child-led experiences within our small community. -Caity & Ellen
Location: Private Residence, Champaign