“Where are you coming from?” Audrey Rowe asked one young mother attending the Preschool Open House at Columbia High School tonight.
“Brooklyn,” the mom responded.
It was a familiar refrain heard by Rowe, who is program director at the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race.
Dozens of young parents and families attended the Coalition’s 15th Annual Preschool Open House and many were new to town, often relocating from Brooklyn, NY.
“I think I’ve already met with everyone here!” said realtor Heather Gilheany, who sponsored the event along with partner Suki Marsh-Shikiar, as Suki&Heather.
The young families were clearly grateful for the fact that the Coalition had made their preschool search a lot easier by bringing more than 20 local providers into one room for a single evening. Around the room, parents asked providers about age cut-offs, registration deadlines, what it means to be a co-op, and more.
Nancy Gagnier, director of the Coalition, remembered making desperate calls when she moved to town with a toddler 20 years ago. Now, the Coalition has created a spreadsheet of providers that it hands out at the end of the evening (to be updated on the Coalition website shortly).
“This list is gold,” said Gagnier.
The participating providers were:
- Baird Preschool, South Orange
- Children’s Academy of Springfield (Montessori), Springfield
- Congregation Beth El Preschool, South Orange
- Doctor Nanny Referral Service (862-237-1527)
- Far Brook School, Short Hills
- Hedwig Gruenwald Early Childhood Center, Millburn
- Holiday Sitter (home business)
- Kinder-Gan Preschool Congregation Beth Ephraim, Maplewood
- Le Parc Place, Maplewood
- Learning Academy, Maplewood (973-275-0200)
- Mickey Fried Nursery School/Congregation Oheb Shalom, South Orange
- Millburn Co-operative Nursery School, Millburn
- Morrow Memorial Pre-School, Maplewood
- Neighborhood House Nursery School, Millburn
- Open Door Nursery School, Millburn
- The Nursery at Our Lady of Sorrows, South Orange
- Playhouse Co-Op Nursery School, West Orange
- Prospect Co-op Nursery School, Maplewood
- South Mountain YMCA ECLC, Maplewood
- Montrose Early Childhood Center, South Orange
- St. Rose of Lima Academy, Short Hills
- St. Stephen’s Preschool & Childcare, Millburn
- Temple Sharey Tefil0 Israel’s Iris Family Center, South Orange
- The Red Oaks School, Morristown
- Totri Child Care & Preschool, South Orange
- Tutor Time Childcare, West Orange
- Weekday Cooperative Preschool, South Orange
Click on photos to enlarge: