Updated Readers Recommend: Preschools 2013-2014

Our old "Readers Recommend: Preschools" was getting old.  Some of the reviews were five years old, and places can certainly change quite a bit in that time!! If you'd like to submit a review for your preschool, email it to me!

The reviews we've received are from individual parents.  We don't recommend any particular preschool although now that all of my children have left, I will tell you that we were happy with Cloverdale School for all three of our children.  However, preschool should make you comfortable and fit your family and the experience type you want for your children.
In Alphabetical Order by School:

(**And, as always with our "Readers Recommend" posts, these do not necessarily reflect the views of PWC Moms.  They are voluntarily submitted by our readers and we do not edit them.  Please always visit a school.  None of the listed recommendations serve as an endorsement by PWC Moms.)

4R's Preschool (Haymarket)
I thought I would let you know about 4 Rs Preschool in Haymarket. My son is 4 yrs old and is in the 3 days a week program there. We LOVE 4 Rs so much. There are 3 teachers total and they are so nice, experienced, and easy to communicate with. They are a smaller preschool and that’s what we like about it. They do field trips and holiday programs too. My son always comes home having learned so much and having had so much fun. They have various programs/ times to accommodate ages 3-5. I highly recommend them and have nothing but good to say about them.

All Saints Catholic (Manassas)
We have nothing but wonderful things to say about All Saints Catholic School and their Pre-K program.  The programs is lead by Mrs. Caroline Kardaras, a veteran of the school for several years.  Mrs. Kardaras and her staff are exceptional teachers and care givers of our young children.  There are (3) classes.  Two classes in the morning and one class in the afternoon.  The morning session runs from 8am until 11am and the afternoon program runs from 12 noon until 3pm.  There are (18) children in a class with one teacher and one teaching assistant.  All Saints is accredited through the Virginia Catholic Education Association in coordination with the Virginia Council for Private Education.  Additionally, the Pre-Kindergarten Program is licensed through the Virginia Department of Social Services and complies with all state and diocesan policies regarding early childhood education. In 2009, All Saints Catholic School was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.  The school accepts all families, including non-Catholics.   We currently have a son going through the program and an older son who already went through the program and is currently enrolled in first grade at All Saints.  We have been very impressed with their spiritual, educational, and emotional developments throughout the year.

Alpha-Bet Cooperative Preschool (Manassas)
I am writing to let you know about Alpha-Bet Cooperative Preschool in Manassas, VA.   "A Cooperative preschool is owned and/or operated by a group of parents and staffed by professional teachers.  Parents help the teachers in the classroom and contribute some of the daily work necessary to operate a successful school.  We have highly dedicated and impeccably trained teaching staff to ensure your child's success"  It is a really unique experience in that they are the only co-op preschool in PWC, which I love because it allows me a chance to be involved in my son's preschool experiences.  Everyone there is so great with the kids and have made my family feel so welcome.  My son comes hoe every day telling me about what he did, and wakes up every morning asking if it's time to go to school. I would recommend this school to anyone that is interested in a co-op.  It doesn't take much time at all.  There are a few "clean-up" days and parents volunteer a few times each month and bring in snacks.  There are also fun field trips, activities, etc. It is really a great preschool to look into.

Chesterbrook Academy (Multiple Locations)
Our oldest daughter is attending The Chesterbrook Academy on Troupe St. She absolutely loves it. She is learning so much. She comes home speaking/singing in Spanish. The teachers are so nice. However, I don't think we will send our youngest there next year. Our oldest is so naturally smart that I believe the Chesterbrook curriculum is perfect for her. Our youngest not so much. The tuition is high but we were willing to pay it (we pay $196 a week for 3 days, I think it's $220 or $260 for five days). Our youngest will probably be doing a part time school with a much lower tuition. So I look forward to the other reviews.

Christ Chapel Preschool (Woodbridge)
Where do I begin, from the beginning we made the right choice by making an investment in Christian Education when we spoke with the Pre-K Director Mrs. Sheila Nelson.  The partnership begin. From early learning to us planting a Godly seed at home and the teachers and staff cultivating it while our daughter is in school is priceless. We have commented to attend again in the fall for her kindergarten year. As a father to see your daughter read, write and spell as she articulates her thoughts and express herself is amazing.  The moral and values of Godly principles are taught not only at home but here at CCA.  I work in the evenings so I spend a lot of time at school observing and listing and they truly are commented to our children academically but for me more importantly stressing biblical principles of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Their Reaching, Teaching and Unleashing our Future which is our children.  I recommend any parent who is willing to comment, invest and make a sacrifice in your child’s future you have to see what CCA can do for you.

Daytime Playtime (Gainesville)
Just wanted to let you know about Daytime Playtime in Gainesville/ haymarket area. It is a preschool for 2,3 and 4 year olds with mornings and afternoon preschool, a Jr kindergarten and mommy morning out program. The class sizes are small and staff are all great and helpful. They do family field trips, extra curricular activities for the whole family and summer camps.
My 2 year old loves it and is always bringing home art projects and doing many activities during her time there. They use a playground, nature classroom which is outside, music and movement room and a science and math room. A lot to offer and very affordable!!

Greenwich Presbyterian Preschool (Nokesville)
I just saw your post and wanted to add that Greenwich Presbyterian Preschool is awesome. It is small, cozy and the teachers are wonderful. Mrs. Rood is the director and also the 3 year old teacher and has been there for about 23 or 24 years. The kids love her. Both my sons went there and now my daughter. Mrs. Arbus, the 4 year old teacher is equally awesome! 
Just wanted to give them some props!  It is in Nokesville. I am not sure if it is in PWC or not or right on the border. We live in Bristow and it is just a few minutes away - on Vint Hill by Patriot High School (Sort of)

Holy Family Preschool (Dale City)
Holy Family Preschool is attached to Holy Family Catholic School. We are military and while looking for schools for my then 4 year old, they were recommended. He finished his preschool there last year(half day Tuesdays through Friday) and we could not have been happier.  It is a play based curriculum. They also learned the alphabet and numbers and performed weekly science experiments. 
The preschool has an outside playground for daily play. When the weather is bad, the preschool plays in the gym. This was another important part of our decision because we did not want our children stuck in a small classroom. 
The preschool director, Mrs Judi Peacott, is wonderful. The minute that my husband and I met her, we knew that this was the place for our sons. Now my 3 year old is attending the Tuesday and Thursday class and he loves it. We are so lucky to have found this wonderful, caring school for our boys!

Little Sprouts Preschool (Bristow)
This school has a wonderful, caring group of teachers and staff who are some of the warmest people we've met. The directors were formerly with Little Graces Preschool in The Plains and they have moved over to expand the preschool program at Linton Hall School. My children adore their teachers and we've been thrilled with the incredible nurturing environment and the family atmosphere within this school. The teachers recognize the fact that every child has their own set of talents and they appreciate each of these and are committed to helping to cultivate them. The school offers a wonderful, well-rounded preschool education that also incorporates important (and fun) elements such as Music & Movement, Art, Hands-on-Science, Spanish and Technology. I highly recommend this school to everyone in the area and hope that you will consider joining this wonderful "family" within Linton Hall School's Little Sprouts Preschool.

Manassas Presbyterian Early Learning Center (Manassas)
We LOVE Manassas Presbyterian Church Early Learning Center. My daughter went for 3 years and my son is in his second year. They have a Parent's Morning Out program for 2 year olds that doesn't have any sort of potty training requirements. Then they have classes for 3 year olds, 4 year olds, and a Pre-K program, all of which require bathroom independence. They have options for 1, 2, 3, and 5 day programs, depending on the age of the child. All of their programs are morning only. 
While they are a church-based preschool and they do celebrate and discuss traditional Christian holidays, they are open, inviting, and accepting of children and families of all faiths. Older classes do have Chapel Time once a month. 
Why do we love them so much? Where to even start? The teachers of course! The teachers truly care about your children! The teachers remember children from previous years and ask how they are doing when they move on to elementary school and beyond! They create a positive, happy place for learning. Most of the teachers have been there for several years. They work in teams - each room has a lead teacher and an assistant. They are creative and energetic, patient and nurturing, mature and professional. 
The classrooms are bright and filled with great toys and materials. They are organized and not cluttered. They have child sized tables for seat work, a rug for circle time, bookshelves filled with appropriate books, and centers for playing and learning. The hallway is lined with creative art projects. 
The children go outside to play on the playground (swings, wooden train, slides, etc.) every day unless it's actively raining. If the playground is too wet to play, they go for a walk. 
This is their 50th year - as a school they have developed traditions (like an annual art show) and have learned and grown wiser in their ways over the years. They have a board and Director and are supported by a PTO. They are a peanut free school.
One of their greatest strengths is the diversity of the students. Since they are located on Ashton Ave. in Manassas, they have students from Manassas, Bristow, Gainesville, and Woodbridge. The children are like different pieces of a patchwork quilt, representing different economic backgrounds, speaking different languages at home, coming from a variety of faiths, all working together to create an amazing little preschool. 

Old Bridge Preschool (Lake Ridge side of Woodbridge)
I have to recommend Old Bridge Preschool in Woodbridge. My daughter who had only been home with me, was very against going to school, but after the first day she was asking to go. The teachers and staff are very friendly. The class sizes are perfect and have more than one teacher per class. My daughter is never bored, which for 4 and 5 year olds is important. The tuition is reasonable, but I do believe that they also offer tuition assistance for those who may need it. I would recommend this school to anyone who asked.

St. Francis Preschool (Triangle)
The teachers, Mrs. Land and Mrs. Peitler, have been teaching together for quite some time and are passionate about it. Their goal is to help the children feel safe and have fun while learning social skills as they prepare academically for kindergarten. The teachers are grounded in the Christian faith, and it shines in all they do. Both teachers work closely with the parents to share joys, successes, and concerns about every student. Parents are invited to stay and watch and participate so you can be a part of this precious time of your children's lives. 
Class starts with prayer, praise, and saying the pledge. The regular routine provides such comfort for the children. Children take turns having special jobs each day, including holding the flag and being line leader. They learn responsibility for self and to others as they learn the proper way to share and play kindly.
I was astounded that, although the focus isn't primarily academic, how very well prepared both my children were for kindergarten. Each child in preschool is at a different level, so the teachers spend a lot of individual time with them. 
A young neighbor (4th grade) heard that my children were attending St. Francis and he said, "My all-time favorite teacher was my preschool teacher there. Her name is Mrs. Land." He had learning disabilities, and he remembered her patience and kindness towards him. I told Mrs. Land about this conversation, so she came and surprised him with a visit one afternoon. She just cares that much!

St. Matthew's Lutheran Day School (Lake Ridge)
I absolutely love St. Matthew's Lutheran Day School. Both of my children went to the three day program and really enjoyed it.  St. Matthew's is a play based preschool which means there is a lot of free choice center time.  Some of the centers include housekeeping, library, blocks, science, math, writing, and art.  During this time, teachers pull students aside to work with them individually and in small groups.  Some days they are working on forming letters with blocks and other days they are baking.  The kids go outside every day except in instances of severe weather.  The teachers take photos of the kids at work and email them to parents weekly.  I loved this because my son is the type of kid that will say he didn't do anything at school.  I was able to use the photos as conversation starters.  The preschool is also very family friendly.  They host a Mother's tea, Dad's night, and Grandparents sing along.  Parents are welcome to volunteer in the class in a variety of ways.  I can't say enough good things about St. Matthew's.

St. Thomas Aquinas Regional School (Woodbridge)
I have a four year old daughter.  She is an only child and in hopes of exposing her to other children we placed her in part-time daycare at the age of 2.  We took her to Kindercare on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.  We shopped a few options around town and chose this school because the director of the school genuinely seemed to care and there seemed to be structure in the curriculum even though it was just a daycare.  Within a month of enrollment, my daughter came home with a black eye and a scratched up face.  No one even bothered to call us to report the incident.  Needless to say we were very disappointed and after numerous mishaps and 3 months later we pulled her out of there.
We then shopped again, this time looking at big daycare/preschools and small non-chain ones as well.  We narrowed our list down to Minnieland Academy on Prince William Parkway and Prince William Academy in Lake Ridge.  We chose the latter simply because they offered foreign language classes.  Prince William Academy was okay.  We enjoyed the projects, communication from the teachers and shows/events.  I had gotten to know some of the parents.  I would hear mixed reviews about the teachers which I didn't really encounter.  The owner/director got sick during the school year and all of sudden everything just went into a downward spiral.  They kept switching teachers to the point where you didn't know who the person was at the head of the classroom.  It got to the point where my daughter would sometimes wake up and ask if she could just stay home.  She didn't enjoy school anymore.  For the money we were paying (about $7500 for 3 full days a week), we didn't have enough faith in the school that the $9000 for full time preschool would not be money well spent.  So, this lead us into another search...
Do we home-school for preschool or find a preschool program?  We discussed long a hard and decided to search again.
The search didn't take long.  I am an alumni of St. Thomas Aquinas Regional school in Woodbridge.  I attended school there in the 80s.  I made life long friendships, memories and learned valuable lessons that I still carry with me today.  My husband of years, remembers my happy stories of my childhood.  The elementary and middle school years were spent there.  So, we applied for our daughter to enter Pre-K for the 2013/2014 school year.  She is currently enrolled and loves it.  Her teacher, Mrs. Leckey actually taught both of my brothers in the late 80s/early 90s.  There are many teachers like her that have spent most of their careers in that school (like the librarian Mrs. Beda...she was there when I was there).  I even have a classmate from Aquinas now teaching there!  Mrs. Metzler is the assistant teacher and she is just as wonderful.  My daughter always raves about school.  She comes home with her completed worksheets and art projects.  There are also children in my daughter's class that were previously with her at Prince William Academy.  The parents of those students say that "this experience is so much better- in so many ways."  It is a half day, 5 day a week program in a Catholic school (being Catholic is NOT a requirement).  We love the fact that there is daily communication with the teachers, lots of fun activities for the kids which leads to volunteering for me and it's just a wonderful parent/student community to be part of.  I could go on and on about this wonderful school, but instead I'm happy to report that our search for the best school for our child is over....well, until 9th grade!

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