With the New Year upon us, many Pittsburgh parents begin agonizing about an important milestone in their child’s life–preschool! Many factors enter into the equation as we choose an appropriate early learning environment for our little ones. Location. Cost. Curriculum. Presence or lack of religious affiliations. Aftercare. Connection with a daycare. The list goes on and on.
To help answer some of these questions for us all, I’ve created this 2015 Preschools and Daycares in Pittsburgh Family Guide. I have organized these preschools by location–first those within the city and then those in the surrounding suburbs. Although I was originally intending just to list preschools, I found it necessary to include day cares since the distinction between the two blurs as children get older.
For this year, I have simply categorized the options by location. Next year, I would love to add more depth to these entries and parent perspectives. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to share your thoughts on any of these childcare facilities or add any to the list!
Pittsburgh Public Schools Early Childhood Education Program
The Pittsburgh Public School system hosts preschool programs for children ages 3-5 years old at 27 different locations throughout the city. For a comprehensive listing of these locations, please click here. These programs run M-F for six hours per day from September to June. Families residing within the city may apply to attend preschool at any of these locations. A lottery will be held for schools that have too many applications. Breakfast and lunch is served to all children at these programs. Head Start, Pre-K Counts and state-funded scholarships are available to help eligible families. Applications will be available at the end of January, beginning of February. An especially popular programs within the Pittsburgh Public School Early Childhood Education Program is the Children’s Museum Preschool.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools also have several magnet pre-K programs worth looking into, including the Montessori in Friendship.
There are also a number of large regional or national chains that run daycares/preschools in the Pittsburgh region. Many parents choose to send their children to these centers because of their national reputations, their extended hours and locations. Also, many working parents use the daycares for their young children who then transition seamlessly into their preschool programs. Here’s info on some of the them:
Brightside Academy has locations throughout Pittsburgh including Downtown, the East End and several suburbs. Brightside Academy offers care for children as young as 6 weeks up to preschool with before and after care available for school age children. Brightside Academies generally open before 7am and close at 6-6:30pm; however, two locations (Smithfield Street Downtown and East Liberty) are open until 10pm for families with nontraditional schedules.
KinderCare has a location in Downtown Pittsburgh as well as suburban locations in all four directions outside of Pittsburgh. The Downtown Pittsburgh location is within the US Steel Tower and is open from 6:30am-6:30pm five days per week. Kindercare offers care for children as young as 6 weeks up to pre-k and even private kindergarten classes. Also offers summer camps for preschool-school age.
Bright Horizons Early Education & Preschools
Bright Horizons offers several day cares/preschools throughout the city:
- Small Wonders at UPMC: located in Oakland
- Allegheny General Hospital Center for Children: located on the North Side with options for part time, as well as emergency and drop-in child care (based on availability) and summer camps.
- Bright Horizons at Southside Works: located on the South Side, this center also offers part-time preschool, drop-in and emergency child care.
- Bright Horizons at UPMC Passavent: located at UPMC Passavent, this center also offers part-time preschool as well as summer camps.
Tender Care Learning Centers
Tender Care Learning Centers are offered in Shadyside/Oakland as well as a variety of suburban locations for children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K from 6:15am-6:30pm.
The Goddard School
The Goddard School has several locations in the Pittsburgh region including Wexford, Murrysville, Moon and Cranberry. Also, the Goddard School will be opening new Downtown and Upper St. Clair locations in the next year.
Many Pittsburgh families choose a preschool based on location. For that reason, I have organized the remainder of the preschools by neighborhood or suburb.
Rodef Shalom Preschool
This preschool offers full day and half day programs for children ages 18 months to 5 years from September to June and summer camps. Rodef Shalom welcomes children of all faith backgrounds, but does incorporate Jewish traditions into the classroom. Some unusual features of the program: has a parent lounge with free wifi during preschool hours and also offers hands-on nutrition and health education in its Edible Garden.
The Children’s Center of Pittsburgh
Affiliated with Magee Women’s Hospital and managed by the Carriage House, the Children’s Center of Pittsburgh offers care/preschool for children ages six weeks to five years old from 6:45 a.m.-6 p.m. for $13,000/year for full-time hours. The Children’s Center of Pittsburgh also houses a “Get Well Room” for mildly ill children with a registered nurse at a cost of $75 for children <3 and $55 for older kids.
Cyert Center for Early Education at Carnegie Mellon University
Located on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University, the Cyert Center offers care for children ages 3 months to kindergarten five days per week from 7:15 am-6pm year round. Preference is given to Carnegie Mellon employees and I’m told the waitlist is pretty long.
The Children’s School at Carnegie Mellon University
Also located on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University, the Children’s School is a laboratory school for the psychology department at CMU involved in research in early learning and child development. The Children’s School offers half day preschool and a full day kindergarten with extended mornings and afternoons available for a limited number of students. Program runs from September-May with an optional half-day summer camp in June. Pricing can be found here.
University Child Development Center
Located on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, the University Child Development Center offers care for children ages 6 weeks to kindergarten from 7-6pm. You have to be an affiliate of the University to use this facility and they currently have a 2 year waitlist. Fees are determined on a sliding scale.
Mathilda Theiss Child Development Center
Located in the Hill District, the Mathilda Theiss Child Development Center is a WPIC-affiliated nursery and preschool for high risk children, many with behavioral issues. This 12-month early childhood education program incorporates behavioral health therapy directly into the classroom environment. The program runs 8:30-2:30pm five days per week and costs are generally covered by health insurance when children have concomitant behavioral health diagnoses. Infants as young as six weeks are accepted. There is generally a waitlist.
The Campus School of Carlow University
The Campus School of Carlow University is a Catholic program offering a number of learning programs for Pittsburgh kids. An Early Childhood Center provides full day care for infants and toddlers. Kids can then transition into the Montessori preschool, pre-k, kindergarten and then on through middle school.
Other Oakland daycares/preschools:
Kentucky Avenue Children’s Center-Shadyside
Kentucky Avenue Children’s Center is located in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The program runs from September-May with a 2 Day AM class for two year olds, a 3 Day AM class for three year olds and a half day/full day Pre-K program for 4-5 year olds. It also offers 4-week summer programs.
Ellis School -Shadyside
The Ellis School offers a mixed age Pre-K class for 3 and 4 year old girls. Pre K costs range from $9100 for 5 half days to $13,900 for five full days with financial aid available for eligible families.
Shadyside Presbyterian Church Nursery School-Shadyside
The Shadyside Presbyterian Church Nursery School offers a half-day preschool program for children starting at age 2 with the option of extending the day through “Lunch Bunch” or other extracurriculars.
Beginnings Preschool at Calvary Episcopal Church-Shadyside
The Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside offers a half day preschool for children starting at 18 months with options to slightly extend earlier or later in the day.
Sacred Heart Elementary School-Shadyside
The Catholic Sacred Heart Elementary School offers both half day and full day preschool for potty-trained children ages 3-4.
Winchester Thurston Pre-K Program-Shadyside
Winchester Thurston offers a Pre-K program for 4 year olds at both its City Campus (on Morewood) and its North Campus in Hampton. Options include full or half days with extended days available with the ability to add more hours at any time.
Arsenal Family and Children’s Center-Friendship
Located in the Friendship neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Arsenal Family and Children’s Center was originally founded by the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock as a training facility for pediatric students to learn about normal early childhood development. Over 60 years later, it is now a nonprofit developmental preschool. Funded partially by foundations and social service agencies, Arsenal’s costs are comparatively low, ranging from $175/month for a two-half day per week toddler program to $850/month for a five full-day per week preschool program. Program options include:
- 2-day/week toddler program for 18mo-3 year old
- Half or full day preschool options for children ages 3-5
- Arsenal also offers infant/toddler and parent playgroups to help ease the transition into preschool.
Also, Head Start spots are available at Arsenal.
Kidsville Day Care and Learning Center-Friendship
Kidsville Day Care and Learning Center offers care to children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K with a school age after-school program plus summer programs.
St. Raphael’s Parish School is located in nearby Morningside and has an affordable preschool. Also, the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Liberty has a preschool, although their website is being updated currently.
Early Childhood Programs at Waldorf School of Pittsburgh-Garfield
The Waldorf School in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh offers early childhood programs for children starting at 18 months-kindergarten. Little Friends Childcare is a half-day or full-day childcare program for children ages 18 months to 3 1/2 years. The Nursery program is a 3 or 5 day program with half/full day options for children ages 3-4. Finally a Kindergarten program is a 5 day program with half/full day options for children ages 4-6. The Waldorf School also offers a Morning Garden program for children with caregivers from infancy through 4 years old. There are extended day options available as well. Tuition rates are complicated, however some examples: a half-day Nursery slot for 3 days per week costs $5313/year and a five day per week full day Kindergarten slot is $10,234/year.
Little Tots Academy-Bloomfield/Friendship area
Little Tots Academy offers care for potty-trained children over age 2 1/2 from 6:30-6pm five days per week with full and part time positions available.
Child’s Way Special Needs Day Care-Bloomfield/Friendship area
Child’s Way is a day care for special needs children affiliated with The Children’s Home. Offers care for children ages birth-21 years old and open 6:30-6pm five days per week. Program incorporates medical care (covered by health insurance generally) with educational components ($32 per day). Also a Head Start program.
It’s a Small World Educational Child Care Center-Bloomfield
Located in the School of Nursing at West Penn Hospital, It’s a Small World Educational Child Care Center offers care for children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K from 6:30am-6pm with school age after-school programs and summer camps. Discounts available for West Penn employees.
Also in Bloomfield: Saint Maria Goretti Catholic School and its PreK program. And in Lawrenceville, the Catholic Youth Association runs a daycare/preschool at the Stephen Foster Center.
Shady Lane Preschool-Point Breeze
Shady Lane Preschool offers a 5 day/week program for children ages 2-4 including a mixed age class with half day, full day and extended day options. Prices range from approximately $7000 for the half day option to $10,400 for the full day option.
Shady Side Academy Pre Kindergarten-Point Breeze
Shady Side Academy’s Pre K program is located in a separate building on the grounds of the Junior School in Point Breeze. The program is open to 3-4 year olds and offers full day, half day or mixed schedules depending on a family’s need. Also has extended day option available. Costs range from $8650 for 5 half days to $12450 for 5 full days.
St. Bede School-Point Breeze
Affiliated with the St. Bede Parish, the St. Bede School offers a Catholic preschool for 3-4 years old. The curriculum incorporates religious education with traditional subjects.
Also in Point Breeze, Pre K at the Pittsburgh New Church School near Frick Park.
Carriage House Children’s Center-Squirrel Hill
Located in the Wightman School Community Building in Squirrel Hill, the Carriage House Children’s Center offers early childhood education programs for children aged 6 weeks to school age. Open from 7:30-6pm, the school has many different options including a 12-month 2-5 day/week full-day infant/toddler program (prices ranging from $8500-$14,000) and a 9-month full, half and extended day preschool options for 2-5 year olds (prices ranging from $3500-$9600).
La Escuelita Arcoiris-Squirrel Hill
La Escuelita Arcoiris is a Spanish language immersion preschool and kindergarten located in Squirrel Hill offering programs for children ages 18 months to five years old with half day, full day and extended day options and a summer program. Tuition ranges from $6130/year to $8670/year.
The Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Education Center at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh-Squirrel Hill
The Early Childhood Education Center at the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh offers care for children starting at 6 weeks of age to kindergarten from 7-6pm on Monday-Thursday and 7-3:30pm on Fridays. Part time options are available. The curriculum incorporates music, library time, science, math, Hebrew and Jewish traditions.
Beth Shalom Early Learning Center-Squirrel Hill
The Beth Shalom Early Learning Center is Squirrel Hill offers care for children starting at six weeks to Pre-K. Open from 7 am to 6pm with flexible scheduling available and summer care. Jewish education is integrated into the curriculum although 50% of enrollees are non-Jewish.
Early Childhood Development Center at the Jewish Community Center-Squirrel Hill
The JCC offers care for children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K from 7-6pm five days per week plus summer camps. Features access to the JCC’s swimming pool and gymnasium. Also, check out the South Hills JCC for another option.
St. Edmunds Academy Early Childhood Education-Squirrel Hill
St. Edmunds Academy in Squirrel Hill offers an early childhood education program for children ages 3-5 with full day/half day/and combination schedules available. Costs range from $7600 for five half days to $11,500 for five full days. There are also extended day options and summer camps available.
Community Day School Pre K Program-Squirrel Hill
Community Day School in Squirrel Hill offers a Pre-K program for students who turn 4 no later than September 30. Core hours are 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for $9,000 in the 2015-16 academic year, with extended hours available. Tuition assistance is available for eligible families. A daily kosher hot lunch and morning and afternoon snacks are included. The Pre-K curriculum at CDS is inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy and infuses Hebrew language and Jewish learning throughout the day.
Also, in nearby Regent Square is the Second University Presbyterian Church Preschool.
Other East End child care facilities:
Milestones Child Care Center
Rainbows End Child Academy
I’ve also heard good things about Great Beginnings Child Care & Preschool in Edgewood/Swissvale, but couldn’t find a website for it.
Small World Early Learning Center
Small World Early Learning Center offers two locations on Penn Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh for children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K from either 6:30 am or 7:30 am to 6:15pm. Also, participates in Pre K Counts program.
Also, see Downtown KinderCare and Brightside Academy section above for more Downtown daycares and the Collegiate YMCA Child Development Center at Duquesne University.
Providence Connections, Inc
Located on the North Side, Providence Connections, Inc. Early Childhood Program offers care for children ages six weeks to Pre K from 6:30-6pm. Participates in Head Start and Pre K Counts program.
Also, see the Bright Horizons Center for Children at Allegheny General Hospital described above and Training Wheels Childcare Center.
Also, in nearby Brighton Heights is the Northside Catholic School preschool and Teenie Tots Child Care Center.
The Learning Tree School
Located in the Southside and Monroeville, the Learning Tree School offers care for children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K with school age before and after school programs plus summer camps from 6:30am-6pm. Part time and full time options for preschool.
Grandview Montessori is located on Mt. Washington and offers a Montessori learning environment for children ages 3-6 years old in its 3 day, 5 day, pre-K and kindergarten classes.
Also located on Mt. Washington:
Mt. Washington Children’s Center
Finally, in the West End, I’ve had numerous recommendations for the West End Children’s Center. Although the facility does not have a website at this time, here’s the phone number if you want to give them a call: (412) 922-0109
Next, we move north of the city:
In the Sharpsburg/Etna/Millvale/Aspinwall area along the Allegheny, we have:
In the Fox Chapel/O’Hara/Blawnox/Cheswick area there are several options:
Also, the Fox Chapel Area High School offers a preschool class with very limited hours, although I couldn’t find information on the web about it.
Further along the Allegheny and Route 28:
Natrona Heights/Tarentum/New Kensington
Moving further north of the city along Rt. 8, there are many options including several Montessori preschools and both Christian and Jewish preschools:
Finally, up 279/79N and Route 19:
And also Little House Learning Center in Mars was recommended to me.
Moving west, we find many river communities along the Ohio.
Further west is Coraopolis/Moon/Robinson area:
Finally, we come to Sewickley:
Next, we move further south toward Green Tree, Bridgeville, Carnegie, Crafton and Scott Township:
Then, to Dormont/Mt. Lebanon/Upper St. Clair/Bethel Park and other townships of the South Hills:
Then further east to Mt. Oliver, Brookline, Brentwood and Baldwin:
Finally, we move into the Mon Valley and Homestead/Braddock/West Mifflin/McKeesport
And then Edgewood/Swissvale/Wilkinsburg/Churchill/Monroeville/Murrysville
And finally, we finish up along the other side of the Allegheny:
Trying to track down all these preschools/daycares was quite a project! I hope it is useful to those Pittsburgh families about to embark on the newest adventure in their children’s lives. By including a preschool or daycare on this list, I am not saying anything about its quality. I simply am trying to create an organized starting point for your further research. If you are looking for more information on this topic, please check out this site by the NAEYC which can help families find accredited preschools and child care. And please let me know the schools I’ve missed at email@example.com!