- The Los Angeles preschool application process involves taking a tour before you can apply.
- Despite the high competition, kindergartens value humor, lack of excuses, and a civic mindset.
- A senior advisor shared the best programs in the area, with managers sharing how to get in.
Your child’s attendance at a respected preschool in Los Angeles begins when he’s nearly out of diapers, Cindy Channen, founder of Rainbow EDU Consulting and Tutoring And a former admissions representative at Ivy who is heavily involved with the most sought-after private schools in Los Angeles, told Insider. She also noted that the process, while very competitive, is unlike anywhere else in the United States.
“L.A. schools usually don’t encourage families to take themselves or the process seriously,” Chanin said. “Instead, they appreciate a sense of humor, a lack of pretension, and a civic mindset.”
Creativity, developing curiosity, and learning through play are essential to most kindergarten assignments and philosophies. Your student won’t stand out if he’s the kind who deals with kids and ‘keeps your head down,’ said Chanin. ‘Abundance is rewarded.’
The community also includes a deep thread of Reggio Emilia’s approach to education. “Reggio Emilia is a student-centered, self-directed, experiential educational philosophy that is promoted in relationship-driven environments,” Chanin said. “Community, the arts, and play are at the core of Reggio Emilia. Like the entertainment industry that drives Los Angeles culture, schools are inspired by fun and creative kids.”
“Many preschools in Los Angeles claim that they are less interested in your numbers or status than they are in whether you align with their philosophy and values,” Channen added. “They strive to know who you are as a parent personally, as well as to consider whether your child is a great fit.”
She said that each school has its own way of filling its classes, and many admissions directors strive for diversity and a set of personalities. In general, Chanin added, most schools typically use the same admissions process: Call them, schedule a tour, and then the application will be available to you.
At many top schools, open houses book up quickly. “Many schools are reporting an increase in applications,” Chanin said. “Admissions directors have indicated this year is crazy this year.” She added that in the years prior to the pandemic, while certain schools were not meeting their enrollment quotas — losing much-needed revenue and seeing wavering loyalty from some of their most dedicated families — they are now facing “excess demand” from families competing for the limited number of spots available.
“There are certain long-term factors that are re-emerging, as they did before the pandemic: the number of siblings applying, the number of families returning, and the need to balance the next chapter on gender or ethnicity,” Chanin said.
However, Shannen noted that parents and families have been “undoubtedly affected” by what the world has collectively gone through over the past few years. “There appears to be a renewed and more conscious commitment to the pursuit of high-quality, reliable education for their children,” she said.
To find the best option for your family, Chanin has selected 11 high-end nurseries across the Los Angeles area that, in her experience, offer the best programs available. Arranged by neighborhood, here’s the cost for the year and what the application process looks like, according to managers.