Rochester MN Guide to Early Education


This guide is sponsored by the businesses listed below.

early education and preschool

Preschool, Nursery School, Childcare Center, In-Home Daycare? What’s best for your family?

We’re pleased to offer the Rochester MN Guide to Early Education to help you in making your decision.  Picking a preschool, nursery school or childcare center that fits your child’s and your family’s needs can be an overwhelming task.  As parents, we are clearly aware of the importance of our decision.  The businesses below are eager to chat with you about how their program just might be the best fit for your child.  This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the options for early childhood care in Rochester MN.

So what is the difference between the four options? It is important to note that all options are focused on the educational and social development of your children, just in subtly different ways.

  • Preschool will most often provide care for shorter hours and are closed for holidays, breaks, and summer, though some may offer full-time programs, extended care, and summer options. Additionally, preschools tend to be for children age 3 – 5.
  • Childcare Centers may be a more convenient choice for working parents because they usually provide full-time care, even during school breaks. And they generally accept a wider age range: infants through pre-kindergarteners and even school-aged children.
  • Nursery School can offer both shorter hours and extended care options for children 2 -5 years old (in some cases younger!)  Nursery schools also tend to place emphasis and focus on experiential and social learning.
  • In-Home Daycare are private homes licensed by the state of Minnesota to care for a certain amount of children.  Often in smaller setting, this option provides care in a smaller setting.

Additionally, we’ve listed out helpful resources to you as you begin your search. Please be sure to visit the drop down menus below our featured listing for information on in-home daycare, sitters, county resources and more!

YMCA - Early Childhood Learning Center

Rochester YMCA Early Childhood Learning Center offers full-day care and education for infants, toddlers, preschool, and pre-kindergarten with full and part-week options for toddlers and preschool. On-site amenities include bright, colorful classrooms, interactive whiteboards, a library, an outdoor garden, separate playgrounds for toddlers and preschoolers, and more. To learn more, get pricing information or to request a tour please visit our website

Kingdom Kids

IT begins here. We seek to enrich our community by providing a quality education that Initiates a lifelong love for Jesus Christ and Teaches the foundational skills essential for academic success. Located in Rochester, MN, Kingdom Kids Christian Preschool is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and has a 4/4 Star Parent Aware rating. We partner with your family to educate, nurture, and encourage the development of the whole child. Every child is made in God’s image and has incredible intrinsic value. Our goal is to build a strong foundation in God’s word from which your child will benefit for life. Students are prepared for Kindergarten through our academic, developmentally appropriate curriculum.

Rochester Central Lutheran School (RCLS)

early education and preschool

In Stepping Stones, RCLS’s early childhood program, children will experience a safe, stimulating, and affirming environment where they can develop a set of skills needed to successfully enter kindergarten, eager and ready to learn. Early learning skills are taught within the context of a Christian environment that prioritizes an academic and spiritual foundation, ensuring that the whole child is educated. Distinctively, RCLS’s Preschool and Prekindergarten programs are taught by licensed educators in a larger school environment, which gives students access to the resources of the K-8 program. A secure, nurturing environment and flexible scheduling with before- and after-school care offer families the convenience they seek, while students receive the care and early education they deserve.

Primrose Schools

early education and preschool

Primrose Schools® is a national system of accredited private preschools that provides a premier early education and child care experience for children and families. Our Franchise Owners, Leadership Team and School Staff partner with parents to help build the right foundation for future learning and in life. With purposeful play and nurturing guidance from teachers, our Balanced Learning approach inspires children to think in more ways: with creativity, compassion and resourcefulness. This time-tested approach instills a love of learning and discovery that helps your child develop and excel for years. At Primrose, we nurture curiosity, creativity, confidence, and compassion and pay close attention to all aspects of your child’s development. It’s no surprise then that a high percentage of Primrose Pre-K students showed readiness for Kindergarten in all domains per the spring 2019 Teaching Strategies® GOLD® assessment.*

Rochester Catholic Schools Preschool

early education and preschool

Enroll Today for Preschool at The Nest!

The Nest at Rochester Catholic Schools is carefully designed to inspire creative play and age-appropriate learning opportunities for children ages 3-5.
Winner of the Post Bulletin’s 2020 Best of the Best awards among preschools, The Nest is offered at three convenient locations: Holy Spirit Catholic School, St. Francis of Assisi School, and St. Pius X School. Extended Care is also available for preschool-age children at two locations.

It all starts at The Nest: whole-child Excellence, faith-based Character, and a devoted Community. To register for the 2021-2022 school year, schedule a personal tour, or learn more, visit or contact or (507) 424-1817.

Eureka Kids

early education and preschool

Eureka Kids is a locally owned early childhood learning center that focuses on developing the whole child to prepare your child for a lifetime of learning. We use our S.M.A.R.T.E.R. learning philosophy to help children develop in Science, Math, Art, Reading, Technology, Engineering, and in their every day Relationships. We provide a safe, nurturing learning environment for children 6 weeks to Kindergarten. Eureka celebrates the uniqueness of each of the children and families in our care, creating a place of love, and acceptance in our nurturing and diverse environment.

Tierra Encantada

early education and preschool

Tierra Encantada is the leader in Spanish immersion early education, providing care for children 6 weeks to 6 years of age. We focus on the growth of the whole child and believe children learn best by doing. Our expert-curated, bilingual program fosters early cognitive development and teaches respect for diversity. With our cloth diapers and organic, fresh-cooked meals see why Tierra Encantada is a second home for the children in our care! We have multiple locations in the Twin Cities and are currently expanding nationwide. Visit our website to learn more about our new center coming to Northwest Rochester in January 2022!

EPIC Endeavors Preschool Academy

EPIC Endeavors Preschool Academy is a STEM learning environment located downtown Rochester geared for our youngest scholars beginning at age 2 3/4 year to age 5. EPIC preschool is where art, music, and a lot of movement and sports are woven into all our “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math” learning. Our niche in town is building early readers! At EPIC children become researchers as they learn to read and write daily and get a whole lot of indoor and outdoor purposeful play! Our goal is for EPIC kids to become readers, writers, and thinkers about our world. We invite you to come visit and see our little learning lab for kids. Text for a tour today 507-319-5709 to see our preschool options. 

Aldrich School

early education and preschool

Aldrich School is a local, non-profit, nationally accredited nursery school that holds a special place in the hearts of countless children and families. The Aldrich program provides a play-based learning environment with developmentally appropriate experiences in all areas of growth including cognitive, physical, social/emotional, and language development.

Aldrich has a rich history and quality reputation in the Rochester community. Pediatricians and child psychiatrists, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, were involved in a Mayo Clinic study of child development in the 1940s which eventually led to the inception of Aldrich.

Having served the children of Rochester for more than 75 years, Aldrich has touched tens of thousands of lives in Minnesota and beyond. Even two of our faculty members are Aldrich alumni! We love seeing former Aldrich students succeed, and really love when they bring their own children back to enroll.

Rochester Public Schools - Preschool

early education and preschool

Preschool is all about wonderful new learning experiences that build skills for a lifetime. It is about turning everyday experiences and interactions into powerful opportunities for learning. At Rochester Public Schools Preschool we understand that each child has unique educational needs and we emphasize learning through age-appropriate practice in a play-based environment. We use purposeful play because we know that our young students learn best in a playful, hands-on setting. We also believe that effective learning takes place when we build and sustain strong partnerships and relationships with our students and their families. To best meet the varied needs of the children and families we serve, we offer a variety of locations, times, and programming options.

New Horizons Academy

early education and preschool

New Horizon Academy provides exceptional early childhood education and care for children ages 6 weeks through 4th grade. We pride ourselves on having high-quality teachers who have an appreciation for children, a positive attitude, and a love of teaching. New Horizon Academy supports the development of important social and emotional skills while encouraging a healthy sense of self in every child. When your child graduates from the preschool program at New Horizon Academy they will have the skills they need for success in school and life! Schedule a tour at one of our two Rochester locations today.

K-12 Education Guide

rochester k-12 education

Below is a comprehensive list of educational school options available in Rochester MN. We suggest asking about the experiences of your local friends, families, and neighbors as you begin the decision of choosing the option that’s best for your family. We also recommend researching the schools that you are interested in. Talk with staff, attend an open house, arrange a tour, and talk with other families who attend.

Children's Place Nursery School

A caring, diverse, non-denominational preschool offering a balance between a social and academic environment for your child. 16 months-5 years old. No requirements for being potty trained. A 5-day PreK program geared for kindergarten prep. A fternoon enrichments are a fun additional option to extend out the day to 4:00 pm.

Rochester Montessori School

Located on a beautiful, fifteen-acre campus, RMS offers an authentic Montessori education for children 18-months through eighth grade. RMS combines mixed-age groups with three-year cycles in a prepared environment. Our experienced teachers have specialized training for the age groups they serve and are committed to following the child and providing individualized education. RMS is a culturally diverse community representing families from over 25 countries and has served the Rochester community for over 50 years. Our ultimate goal is to empower children in their educational journey to become confident, critical thinkers with a strong sense of purpose in the world.

Other Area Child Care Centers, Nursery Schools, Preschools, & Resources

Licensed In-Home Day Care

Rochester is fortunate to have many wonderful, loving in-home day care providers to meet your family’s needs. This sort of care is in very high demand in Rochester, so if you’d like to take this route for your child’s care, we suggest you start your search early. There are a few resources that can help you:

Families First of Minnesota

Olmsted County Child Care Association

Minnesota Licensing Information Look-Up

Parent Aware



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Other Resources

Au Pairs


Cultural Care Au Pair

School Readiness

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Provides one book per month for children ages birth through five in Olmsted County.

Early Childhood Screening

Early Childhood Screening is a free, comprehensive developmental screening for any child 3 years to 5 years living in the Rochester School District.


College Nannies, Sitters + Tutors

Special Needs

Olmsted County Child Personal Care Attendants (PCA)

The PCA program provides assistance to families with disabled children and children with special healthcare needs requiring assistance and currently enrolled in Medical Assistance.  The program provides help and assistance with activities of daily living.

Olmsted County Child and Youth Services

Support to help ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth in Olmsted County.

Rochester Public Schools Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

ECSE is early intervention services for children with developmental delays in a variety of areas such as cognition, motor, social, or speech development. ECSE provides children who are diagnosed under the ECSE criteria with appropriate educational programs that are designed to meet their particular needs, enabling them to more fully participate in their home, school, and community.


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