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Best Preschools and Daycares 2017

by Erica Bauwens-Young

Take it from us: We know just how hard it is to find the perfect care for your little ones. Balancing your budget, location, schedule and hopes for your growing child can often seem like a daunting task, especially when the end result is leaving a piece of your heart in the hands of someone else.

That’s why we take the facts and figures of our annual Best Preschools and Daycares report seriously. We comb the area to find the best preschool and daycare programs in South Jersey, resulting in a variety of options custom-built for your family. These top-notch teachers and caregivers will have your child learning and having fun, and leave you excited to watch them grow.

Baptist Regional Preschool
300 Station Ave. | Haddon Heights
(856) 547-2996 |
Hours: 8:15 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Programs: Full- and half-day programs five days a week
Fees: $4,500 for full-day, $3,500 for half-day
Ages: Age 4 by Oct. 1
Waitlist: no
Student to teacher ratio: 10:1
Fun fact: One of the creative ways Baptist Regional teaches their students about the alpha- bet is through their pajama and pancakes event.

The Beechwood School
41 Beechwood Ave. | Haddonfield
(856) 429-0303 |
Hours: 7:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Programs: Full- and half-day programs available
Fees: Cost varies by schedule
Ages: 2 1⁄2 to 6 years
Waitlist: Yes
Student to teacher ratio: Varies by age, activity and time of day, ranges from 5:1 to 9:1
Fun fact: Beechwood is the longest continuously running preschool in Haddonfield, operating since 1951.

Beginnings at MFS—The Moorestown Friends School Early Childhood Program
110 E. Main St. | Moorestown
(856) 235-2900 |
Hours: 8:05 a.m. to 3:10 p.m., extended day hours are 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Programs: Full- and half-day programs are offered for five, three or two days
Fees: $8,900 to $17,600
Ages: Age 3 (as of Sept. 30) through grade 12
Waitlist: Yes, the program fills in the spring for the following school year
Student to teacher ratio: No more than 7:1
Fun fact: All Beginnings students enjoy a cutting- edge coding program taught by a full-time cod- ing teacher, one of the few available programs in the country.

Bright Beginnings Academy
315 Fries Mill Road | Sewell | (856) 582-1144
1600 Chapel Ave. W. | Cherry Hill | (856) 438-5321
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Programs: Full- and half-day options
Fees: Costs vary depending on school/ program
Ages: 6 weeks through kindergarten
Waitlist: Yes
Student to teacher ratio: 4:1 infants; 6:1 todders; 10:1 preschool and kindergarten
What’s new? Due to a high demand at their Cherry Hill location, the Sewell location welcomed its new infant and toddler program. Both locations also added an age-based music program to their curriculum and joined the state’s Grow NJ Kids initiative, a program designed to develop standards across early education.

Discovery Corner Child Care & Enrichment Center
53 Haddonfield Road, Suite 322 | Cherry Hill
(856) 667-6333 |
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Programs: Infant, toddler, preschool and pre-K programs with full-day options
Fees: $225 full day; $170 half day per week
Ages: 6 weeks to 12 years
Waitlist: No
Student to teacher ratio: 4:1, infants; 6:1, toddlers; 10:1, juniors and preschool; 12:1, pre-K
Fun fact: Kids can find their favorite hobbies with the help of trained professionals in enrichment programs like American Sign Language, hands- on science class, yoga and gymnastics.

First Presbyterian Preschool
20 Kings Hwy. E | Haddonfield
(856) 429-0609 |
Hours: 9 to 11:30 a.m.; 12:20 to 2:50 p.m.; extended play from 8 to 9 a.m.
Programs: Half-day, toddler, preschool, pre-K and kindergarten enrichment programs
Fees: Tuition ranges from $700 to $2,100 for a September to May school year
Ages: 18 months to 6 years
Waitlist: Maintained as needed
Student to teacher ratio: 4:1 for Mother’s Morning Out, 6:1 for 3-year-olds; 9:1 for 4- and 5-year-olds
Fun fact: The preschool hosts family-friendly school events all year long, including a winter carnival and even aerobics classes for parents

Holding Hands Family Learning Center
138 Tomlin Station Road | Mullica Hill
(856) 467-6811 |
Hours: 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Programs: Full- and half-day programs offered with flexible schedules
Fees: Costs vary by age and number of days attending
Ages: 8 weeks through 12 years
Waitlist: Occasionally
Student to teacher ratio: Varies depending on age, but lower than state requirements
What’s new: This daycare’s specialty enrichment classes, which include everything from Spanish to more active classes like karate and dance lessons.

Lightbridge Academy
4581 Church Road | Mount Laurel
(856) 552-2808 |
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Programs: Infant, toddler, preschool, pre- kindergarten and summer camp
Fees: Costs vary per age and program Ages: 6 weeks to 6 years old
Waitlist: Not currently
Student to teacher ratio: 4:1 for 6 weeks to 18 months; 6:1 for 18 months to 3 years; 10:10 for 3 to 4 years; 12:1 for 4 to 5 years; 15:1 for campers older than 5
What’s new/fun fact: Lightbridge is just opening in Mount Laurel, but as a nationwide chain the academy has earned a reputation for excellence in education.

Sari Isdaner Early Childhood Center at the Katz JCC
1301 Springdale Road | Cherry Hill
(856) 424-4444 ext. 1242 |
Hours: 6:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 6:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays
Programs: Half, partial and full day
Fees: Costs vary per age and program
Ages: 6 weeks to 6 years with a pre-kindergarten and certified full-day kindergarten
Waitlist: Yes, for some age groups
Student to teacher ratio: 3:1 or 4:1 for under 18 months; 4:1 for 18 months to 2 years; 5:1 for 2 1/2 to 3 years; 6:1 for 4 and 5 years; 10:1 for kindergarten; 7:1 for 5to6years
What’s New? Along with a new, two-day a.m. flex program for 2-year-olds, the school now implements STEAM—or science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics—in their a.m. and p.m. curriculums, thanks to a collaborative program with Destination Imagination.

Shining Lights Early Childhood Center
1720 Springdale Road | Cherry Hill
(856) 424-4915 |
Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Programs: Full day kindergarten with half- day and full-day options available through pre-kindergarten
Fees: Costs vary per age and program
Ages: 6 weeks to 6 years
Waitlist: Yes, for some age groups
Student to Teacher Ratio: 4:1 to 10:1 from infants through preschool
Fun fact: Along with the classes offered in the program such as soccer and music, they also offer supplemental options like piano, tennis and computer that parents can add to customize their child’s experience.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 12 (February, 2017).
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