How To Find The Perfect Early Education Center For Your Child

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Sponsored by KinderCare.

When my older two were little, I felt overwhelmed. By the time Emmy came around, it felt so much easier. Like I had been there, done that, and had a path already paved to walk. I felt it the most when it came to her education. I always say that each child is completely different, even when raised in the same home by the same people, but one thing that didn’t change between all three girls was early education. We knew for sure how important it was even with our first, and then with Emmy, we had seen first hand how much it benefited Maddie and Ash.

Picture taken right after Ashley started preschool.

And really, as a working mom, I knew my girls would need care during the time I was working, it just came down to what kind of care. I wanted that time apart to matter, for them to be happy, have fun and to be mentally challenged in a safe environment.

I wanted pickup time to be filled with happiness to see each other, and also a time where we both looked at each other and said “today was a good day”. 

When the actual search for an early education center started, Pete and I considered the same things as the most important, and I think that was really important to our search.

At the top of our must-have was a high-quality program in an accredited center.  Early education has come a long way and we sought out a place for our kids to thrive! You can use these tools to make sure a center is accredited: National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Association for Early Learning Leaders.

The location was also really important. I can’t stress this one enough for when you start your search. There was a time when Emmy was in preschool, Ashley in elementary school and Maddie in middle school. No biggy right? Except they all got out at the same time. It was like a bad joke trying to decide which child I would pick up on time and which two had to wait for me. Thankfully, her preschool had an extended program that we used for less than an hour every day and Maddie studied with friends in the library for a few minutes after school. It all worked out, but I can only imagine if I didn’t work at home with a flexible schedule how crazy this could have gotten.

We wanted our girls to go somewhere we truly loved and didn’t feel like we were settling. I didn’t stop looking until I found a program with teachers that we loved. I would be entrusting the most important things in my life to these teachers so I had to get that “Yes!” feeling. Once we walked through the doors to their school and met the teachers, there was no going back. In fact, one of Emmy’s teachers is still a good friend!

I also knew that I wouldn’t be comfortable unless they had all the basics (beyond) covered. Living in Southern California we have earthquakes, but more often wildfires. I had an unfortunate day where all three girls were evacuated from all of their schools for different fires at the same time. I called Pete to come straight home to pick up Maddie and I went to get Ashley. Thankfully, due to Emmy’s school’s preparations, I already had picked her up. Knowing the schools own limitations as far as transportation goes, they were already on high alert with the weather and had called all the parents to get their children the second a fire had broken pretty far away. Luckily they did because that fire spread quickly towards the center. When we enrolled Emmy in the school I had already gone over their plan so this wasn’t a surprise at all to me… just the sign of a great school and staff. I always looked for how clean the school was and their understanding of nutritious food offerings. 

I also wanted their actual classroom to be a place that was created to foster the joy of learning. This was also high on my list. I wanted an accessible classroom made just for children her age. I imagined books to read and a stimulating environment. I didn’t stop until I found it!

After learning more about KinderCare, I’m so excited to share what I have learned to help you find the perfect early education center for your little one. They opened their first red-roofed center in 1969 for one powerful reason: mothers were entering the workforce. These pioneering families needed a place to care for their children while they pursued their careers – and their dreams. 

50 years later, today’s families are ultra-busy, tech-savvy multi-taskers navigating parenting in a constantly shifting world and they want the best for their children and KinderCare is still here making that happen!

Choosing a preschool, daycare and early education center does not have to be hard especially with over 1700 KinderCare locations nationwide. I love their whole-child approach to education that really works to prepare the child for elementary school. Another quality that is super important to me is the partnership mentality between the parents and the teachers. Strong families need equally strong teachers to continue the support beyond our homes. You can learn more about KinderCare and why they should be at the top of your list here.

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • Always good to find a path for learning. Doe get easier as it goes along for each child.

  • We were very lucky that there was a terrific place right in our neighborhood that came highly recommended. I was so happy with it that I send everyone I know to this same daycare/PreK. I needed to know my son was safe and learning!

  • It is always so hard to find the right preschool and early learning center which you can trust. I am glad I had some good experiences then but now I am looking for colleges for my daughter.

  • So much to think about when you become a parent! And I am going to be one in December!!! YIkes. I need to think one thing at a time, and right now, I don’t even know if I am going to breast feed, ha!

  • Yikes earthquakes and wildfires? I’d be making sure they got all that safety stuff covered too. Great advice! Thanks for sharing it.

  • My two kids are right back to back and could not be more different. It’s so true to figure out what works for each kid and to be sure that it is a joyful place full of learning. The NAEYC accreditation was important for us as well.

  • Choosing a preschool does involve a lot of research and decisions. Location is important, as are many other things including price, reputation and inclusion.

  • I’m glad it’s easier to pick out an early education center for kids! It took me a while until I found a spot that I liked enough for my kids.

  • These are such great tips. I was big on the early childhood education for my children and was very happy with the place we chose. It is a daunting task, but it’s definitely one of the most important decisions you can make for your children.

  • This sounds like some great information for people looking for the perfect centre for there kids. I can only imagine it is such a hard decision when it comes to your kids.

  • Selecting a preschool for your child is such a hard decision. Thankful that I’ve been able to find the perfect one for the kiddos. This is great information to keep on hand.

  • I moved our boys in a superior in-home situation early. However, I know the struggle (read: guilt) is real in many families. Best of luck to all!

  • My children needed two totally different early education experiences. My son went to a Montessori/Private School until he was 5 years old. My daughter has special needs so she needed different things and ended up at the PPCD program.

    This is a helpful piece

  • KinderCare sounds like a wonderful place for early education. If you can afford it, you should try to choose the best there is.

  • My younger son is starting Pre-K this fall so we just went through a search for the right fit for us! We almost had the same problem with the release times- all of the Pre-K programs get out at the same time as my older son’s elementary school. Luckily, the school we went with is right across the street from the elementary, so I can get from one to the other in just a minute.

  • This is really something I should start thinking about. Since the traffic situation is becoming worse every day, one of the most important things to consider is accessibility of the accredited center.

  • Choosing a pre-school is not easy. I wouldn’t worry it this time around. However, in the very near future (like 3 or 4 years from now), I’m definitely going to remember this post. In fact, I’m bookmarking it! Thank you for sharing!

  • We didn’t put our children to pre-k care, I taught them at home but this is a good source of information.

  • As my little one gets older, this is something I have to consider more and more. It’s so hard to wrap my brain around – I want to pick the right one for them!

  • I will be sharing these tips with my stepdaughter because it will not be long before she is looking for a Center for her son.

  • This is perfect for all the mom and expectant preparing for their kids future. I will sharing this article to my friends and family worth reading for.

  • This is a stuggle for me now. Private vc public, big school with more competition or snaller school…so many thoughts

  • This is really amazing information. This is a process my family will be going through shortly!

  • These are wonderful tips! Getting the best for the kids is what it is all about!

  • These suggestions are spot on. It’s a commitment that is so important for your child.

  • My top 2 considerations when choosing a school for my kids are the quality of education and the location. The other things you covered are pretty important, too. So, it’s not that easy to decide sometimes.

  • Kindercare is such a great resource when it comes to early education centers. I had a lot of friends whose kids were at Kindercares!

  • I was lucky that my child’s kinder was right around the corner and it turned out to be a great place for him. These are such good tips for anyone considering early education for their child.

  • This is such an important conversation. Early childhood education can make a huge difference in the overall success of a child for many years to come.

  • This is really informative and an important step. My granddaughter is at that age now, so thanks for sharing this.

  • KinderCare sounds amazing! It’s always good to invest your time looking for a great place.

  • These all sound like great tip to finding the perfect center for your child. My parents also thought about some of these tips when I was growing up!

  • Such an important issue nowadays. Your suggestions and ideas are very helpful. Thanks a lot . 🙂

  • I’ve never heard of that before but it sounds great. It’s good that you guys found a suitable place for your child.

  • I must confess this is my first time to learn about this. I am not yet a mom but I super agree that we should plan ahead and give the best and proper education we could give to our children.

  • First off.. you look amazing a thanks for sharing these tips, I’m not a mom yet but I would definitely save this advice for later.

  • It sounds like a great place when it comes to early childhood education. I hadn’t heard of Kindercare when my daughter was younger. But it’s great that they have so many great things for your children.

  • Really one of the biggest goals of parents is to ensure that their children receive quality education. This is such a great read. Thanks for sharing some very helpful tips.

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