From Preschool to Ivy League?

It’s Preschool Touring Season!


Do you have Ivy League dreams for your little one?  Or are you just looking for a safe and fun place for them to learn social skills (don’t touch my body/how much longer are you going to use that toy?).  Either way, preschool touring season is upon us.  Now is the time to go meet the people who will shape your little toddler into a kindergartner over the next 3 years.  My own search centered around proximity.  I refused to drive my child across town and back in LA traffic so, that limited us to about 5-6 schools. I toured them all starting when Ellery was 8 months old (yep!) because she’s an August baby and I knew the cutoff for many schools is July so I wanted to be prepared.  Most schools start with an adults-only tour and information session.  Some of them require a Parent + Me session of 6-8 weeks to even be considered (but no guarantee, obvs). There are fees to apply and just like college you should apply to a few because you never know if you will get in. I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s not that bad actually.

I couldn’t decide between a play based (sounds so fun) and a more academic school (want her to be smart).  So my own approach was why not do both?  I enrolled Ellery in a lovely play based school just 2 blocks away from my office when she was 2. It was small and not fancy but safe and clean and the teachers were so loving. She learned how to be away from mom and socialize with other kids.  At 3 I moved her to a Montessori school because I needed a bit longer school  day (working mom) and also because I like the Montessori philosophy (Joe and I are both Montessori vets). I felt that at 3 she was ‘ready’ for more structure and focus. And I was ready to have more time.


But back to Ivy League Dreams- Town and Country recently published this list of the most prestigious preschools in the country (read into that what you will).  I don’t know exactly what criteria they used to determine the schools but I can say that the ones included from LA are probably the most competitive to get into in the city.

LA private school guru (and my friend) is quoted in the article, “It’s not a straight line from the perfect preschool to Princeton,” says Christina Simon, author of preschool book Beyond the Brochure. “However, getting into the right preschool can definitely help get into the right private elementary school, and so on. Those feeder preschools are highly coveted, so there’s a frenzy around how to get in.”

My own experience getting into one of the cities ‘top’ pre-schools was not frenzied.  I toured 5-6 schools and decided on which one I wanted and then I stayed in touch and played by the rules.  I let the director know that it was our top choice and why, attended the parent and me and got my application in on time. No connections, no letters of reference, no stress.

Below is a list of highly sought after schools around the (east-ish)LA area:


Los Feliz


All Children Great and Small

Los Feliz Corners


Montessori Shir-Hashirim

Wagon Wheel

The Sunshine Shack

The Center for Early Education

Delaney Wright Fine Arts Preschool

Hollywood Presbyterian

Silver Lake

LA Family School

Camelot Kids

PLAY Silver Lake

Hilltop Preschool

Echo Park

Baxter Montessori

Cottage Enrichment

Atwater Village

Atwater Park Center

Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock Montessori

Downtown/Wilshire corridor

Pilgrim School

Montessori Shir Hashirim Berendo Campus

Studio City

Sunset Montessori

Studio City Co-op


Here’s hoping your search for the perfect school is as fun and easy as mine.  Happy Touring!