Cincinnati has over 2000 preschools. Cincinnati preschools rank well among the other major Ohio cities on state tracked criteria. When looking for a preschool program in Cincinnati it is important to know that the city boasts a diverse set of preschool curriculum and teaching philosophies. This variety is probably due to Greater Cincinnati being home several major universities with strong education programs.


Cincinnati Preschool Programs

Each program has important differences and parents searching for preschools should be sure to ask about the teaching philosophy and curriculum and understand what that means for their child.  

Preschool programs available in the city include:
- Traditional
- Montessori
- Waldorf
- Reggio Emilia

Like all education, there is no one size fits all solution for every child. It is important for parents to understand the type of environment in which their child flourishes and filter the programs, staff, and teaching philosophies against that.

Licensing and Accreditation

Cincinnati preschools are governed by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. The ODJFS is responsible for licensing, evaluating, and enforcing State regulations. As of 2010, a subset of Ohio preschools (those offered in Public schools, Educational Service Centers, Boards of Developmental Disabilities, and Chartered nonpublic schools with multiple grades above kindergarten) are also governed by the Ohio Department of Education.

There are three primary types of preschools in Cincinnati:
- Preschool only, center based preschools
- Preschool and childcare, center based preschools
- In-home based preschool programs

Each type preschool is subject to slightly different rules and regulations at both the State and County level. All center based programs must be licensed and are evaluated by the State semi annually. The State does primarily set capacity, ratios, and health standards in the licensing process. The curriculum and material covered is determined by the individual program and is not mandated or generally influenced by the State. Also it's important for parents to note that Ohio is one of the few states that does not require licensing for in-home providers. There are many in-home who are registered and licensed through their local county office, but it is not compulsory. Regardless of provider type, licensing does not imply quality and parents must be the final judge of quality for their child. Asking questions is not only okay, it is expected!

If you are searching for preschools in Cincinnati there are several options available that contain comprehensive lists or a subset.
- - search a comprehensive set of preschool profiles using map & criteria based search. The site includes parent reviews and links to the most recent state evaluations. Covers center based and in home preschools.
- The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services - search database of licensed preschool programs. Covers subset of center based preschools.
- The Ohio Department of Education - You can search the ODE for licensed cincinnati preschools that are in Public schools, Educational Service Centers, Boards of Developmental Disabilities, and Chartered nonpublic schools with multiple grades above kindergarten. Covers a subset of center based programs.
- Hamilton County Jobs & Family Services - the HCJFS holds the licensed/registered Cincinnati in homes. Their list unfortunately is only available in PDF. Covers in-home providers. Does not differentiate between child care providers and preschool providers.

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