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Readers' Choice: Milford Preschools

Tell us why you love your preschool -- through a poll vote, rating and review -- and help spread awareness of all the great options in town in this week's Readers' Choice installment.

It's one of the early formal choices that parents make that involves education and separation from a child for regular, extended periods of time: Preschool.

We understand that practical considerations of availability, money and location figure largely into decisions about which preschool parents choose for their children.

Since so much careful research -- in person, online and through word of mouth -- goes into the preschool decision, we want to poll our Milford parents not just on what they feel is the best preschool for their child, but also why.

Below is a list of preschools we have registered in our continuously updated Milford Patch Places Directory. Click on any of them to get to a page dedicated to that preschool and to rate and review it.

Please also tell us in the comment thread which preschools are missing from the list and why they're the best -- we'll add them to the poll and create a new Patch Places listing for them. If you're a preschool operator who doesn't see your listing on Milford Patch, email me at gary.jeanfaivre@patch.com or if you want to .

Here's our starter list:

Voting in the poll below is open until 9 a.m. Friday. We will announce the winner at 12 p.m. Friday. 

The poll part isn't scientific so it's not the sole determinant of a Readers' Choice winner. We will determine the winner based on a point system in which poll results and ratings are considered equally. Only the top 3 finishers will receive points. In the event of a tie, we will determine the winner based on which business has the highest combined number of positive comments and positive reviews on its directory listings.

The complete contest rules are included in the attached PDF.

JE March 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM
And that is at a quick glance. There many many more preschool options for children in Milford than shown here. My wife and I visited so many when we were looking it was hard to decide. It's really unfair of Patch to mention in the poll only a small portion of them.
Audra Wilder March 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Sand Castle is a wonderful place! I too visited many when I was selecting a center for my child. My first child was there for 3 years and is now flourishing in kindergarten - I now have my 2 year old at Sand Castle as well - it is a wonderful safe environment with a strong focus on learning. The teachers and staff there are amazing!
Gary Jeanfaivre (Editor) March 19, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Thanks for letting us know about other preschools in Milford! We do our best to include all, but as always, look to you the community, to help make sure the list is complete. We'll add those others to our poll. Be sure to vote for your favorite and rate and review it on its Patch Places listing!
Jenn March 19, 2012 at 02:57 PM
My daughter goes to St. Mary's and it has been a great experience. We are so glad we picked this preschool. The teachers are wonderful and creative. I have used other preschools and was impressed with how much better St. Mary's is. It is a very motivational program and the kids are learning at an fast pace.
Gary Jeanfaivre (Editor) March 19, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Here's what people are saying on our Facebook page: Kim Henderson-Gravel -- My son went to the pre-school program the the Milford/Orange YMCA (Woodruff) back in 2002 for two years, I would highly recommend their preschool program! Deborah Dow Gilebbi -- My son went to The Milford Co-op. we loved it!!!!!!!! Julieta Smith -- NE School of Montessori without a doubt! Eugenia Geyfman -- My daughter is in Kiddie Korner. Mrs. Peggy Bruno is the best! Jennifer Hussey -- Green Beginnings is the best! Kelly Walsh Quesada -- St Mary's!!! http://www.facebook.com/MilfordCTPatch
Erika Higgins March 19, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Great Beginnings Pre-school is by far one of the best I have seen in the state. I was a pre-school teacher in my past life and I have VERY high standards. I interviewed 7 pre-schools in the area and GB was the best out there!! The things that my son has learned in 6 months from the wonderful teachers is amazing!! I am so proud to say that our family is part of Great Beginnings! Erika Higgins
Cara Ewen March 19, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Great Beginnings Preschool is true to its name! It has been an extremely positive beginning to my son's school career. He loves going there everyday, and has flourished both cognitively and socially. I am amazed at all he has learned during his time there this school year. The staff is nurturing and attentive, making every child (and parent) feel important. It will be hard to leave this family as we move on to kindergarten in the fall.
Donna Casiano March 20, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Both of my daughters and my niece attend SMS. My niece is currently enrolled in the Pre-K Program and my youngest daughter graduated from the program last year. The Pre-K Program at SMS is phenomenal. My children, as well as all of the children who attend this program, thrive because the teaching staff treat each of the students as if they were their own children by putting their welfare and learning above all else. The staff have an exceptional ability to connect with Pre-K aged children and seem to thoroughly enjoy the challenges and rewards of working with them. With a firm, but approachable demeanor, they keep control of the class while making sure that each student gets the time they need to learn the subject matter. All have a positive attitude as well as being organized and dependable. I recommend SMS Pre-K Program without reservation and believe that whomever makes the decision to send their child to SMS will be no less than impressed.
Ginna Paules March 20, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Another vote for Great Beginnings... the teachers are so wonderful and the atmosphere is so positive! Our son is so happy there compared to his previous experience with Good Shepherd in Milford, which for us was quite negative. We are so thankful we found Great Beginnings for him. They have a marvelous curriculum and an upbeat, fun staff to implement their program. Circle time, music, gym time, outside play time, on site special events and fun! We are so glad we found Great Beginnings!
Michael March 20, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Our daughter has been in St. Gabe's for two years now. I have observed many daycare centers and preschools in the region and I have not seen a team of teacher who are more creative, loving, and passionate about teaching kids than Mrs. Moe, Mrs. Shumaker, and Mrs. Mazer. These teachers have created a fun safe learning environment that our daughter cannot wait to get back to every other day.
Loni Kingston March 20, 2012 at 01:45 PM
My daughter is currently in preschool at St.Gabe's and loves it!! She is a very timid child that has been brought out of her shell this past year. The enviroment at St. Gabe's is truly unique, there academics are the best in the area. At 4 years old my daughter has music, art and Spanish class!! The school has the best special needs program in the area and one of the best in the state. I feel safe that my child is taken care of and I would not consider ever sending her elsewhere.
Genevieve March 20, 2012 at 02:09 PM
My grandson comes home from st gabe's each time with a sincere joy for learning. also his imagination is especially enhanced there. he plans to have two jobs in life--Spiderman work in the morning and firefighting in the afternoon!
Jason Casiano March 20, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I have had one daughter and a niece who have been a part of St. Mary Schools pre-K program. The staff there is phenomenal. My daughter was more than prepared to move into Kindergarten. As I believe my niece shall be as well. It's also not just the pre-K program. From pre-K to 8th grade, the education being given is top notch.
Steve Gourdier March 21, 2012 at 01:11 PM
My grand daughter goes to Great Beginnings and absolutely loves it! She can't wait to get there and sometimes we need to coax her to leave! The staff is caring and loving and they provide a wide variety of interesting and educational "speicals" every month. We are very pleased with Great Beginnings and highly recommend them.
Vincent J. Averaimo March 21, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Both of my daughters attend the Pre-K program at St. Gabriel School. This program follows a strong academic curriculum (my children take spanish, art and music at such a young age) while focusing on providing a loving, nurturing environment. My children have thrived in such a positive, compassionate academic focused environment. The teachers, Mrs. Moe, Mrs. Shumaker and Mrs. Mazer take an active role in each child's learning and well being and are always accessible to the parents. Finally, I am unbelievably impressed with St. Gabe's food allergy protocols. These protocols are strictly followed by all staff members. One of my daughters has a food allergy that will cause her to go into anaphylactic shock. Due to these protocols and the teachers vigilance, she is always fully protected in the St. Gabriel community. A great place, with great people and great teachers.
Nicole March 21, 2012 at 02:04 PM
My son attends Great Beginnings and loves it! The staff is very attentive and caring. He is doing very well socially and academically. The Curriculum is awesome, there is never a dull day! Melanie and her staff have created an environment that is nurturing, safe and conducive for learning.
April Bryant for St. Mary School March 21, 2012 at 04:09 PM
All 3 of my children attended the Preschool program at St. Mary School and they all loved it. That first step into school after always being home with me was a difficult one, and not without tears (both theirs and mine). Thankfully for me, St. Mary's was just the place for us. Mrs. Calendrillo is an angel and soon the tears ended and everyone looked forward to school. When my older ones went there, they only had part day options, but by the time my youngest attended, they were offering full day programs. I found it to have the perfect mix of structured learning and playtime. The school also has an after care program that many families use. We had a great experience and I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to send my children to St. Mary Preschool.
Terry March 21, 2012 at 04:51 PM
My daughter had a wonderful pre-school experience at St. Mary. Mrs. Calendrillo and her staff create a warm, nurturing environment for learning. The children thrive and are well prepared academically and socially for kindergarten and beyond.
Andrea Ramos March 21, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Where do I start! I can't begin to tell you how very much I "love" the St. Mary's Preschool. I have 3 grandchildren that attend St. Mary's. One that attended last year and my youngest that attends the preschool. It is headed by Mrs. Calendrillo, who is the director. What can I say about her -- she is superb!!! She is well prepared, makes the children comfortable, and the work that the children brings home and tell me about is extraordinary. I enjoy the conversations about their day. I am happy that my children choose the preschool for their children. It was one of the smartest moves they can make for the investment in their children's future. The preschool is spacious and well equipped. The teachers, helpers are also well prepared and they all work with the children wonderfully. I have a feeling of safety,contendment, that they attend the preschool. I would wholeheartedly recommend it as the best in Milford!!! Andrea Ramos
Kimberly Bowers Caprio March 21, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Great Beginnings! All the way!
Pamela Konareski March 21, 2012 at 07:55 PM
St. Gabriels preschool gets my vote! My daughter Chloe,4, attended daycare at my work from the time she was 4 months old to 4 years old and Mrs. Moe made the transition painless and pleasureable. Mrs. Moe, Mrs. Mazer and Mrs. Shumaker provide a fun, safe and nurturing teaching environment that encourages respect for each child's unique qualities. Chloe has learned so much and looks forward to sharing her acheivements. She shares stories, songs, and "adventures" with us every day with pride and excitement. Art, Music, Spanish and Gym are the highlights of her days so she can be just like her brother and sister !(in third grade) I cant say enough about this school,except for the fact that I wish I could go there! I would love to be a "fly on the wall" since Chloe looks forward to school everyday.
Donna Casiano March 22, 2012 at 04:35 AM
St. Mary's Pre-School is the best!
Bruce Calendrillo March 22, 2012 at 08:55 AM
Over the past 25 years I have witnessed the growth of the St Mary Preschool program under the direction of my wife, Joan. She and the dedicated preschool staff have always given their all for the children in their care. The proof of their love and dedication is the expansion of the program to include 2 half day and the recently added and demanded full day program. It seems like every day that we are out doing chores in town we run into current and former students and families. Each time that we do meet someone it is always the same, children and adults running up to Joan with huge smiles on their faces and obvious love and gratitude in their hearts for a job well done.
Amani Zabski March 22, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I have had 2 children complete the preschool program at Saint Marys. It is the perfect combination of structure, learning and play! The teachers are wonderful and really know and understand each child. This is an incredible place to send your children!
Elizabeth March 22, 2012 at 06:36 PM
St. Marys!
Lori March 22, 2012 at 06:46 PM
St. Gabriel Preschool is #1. Mrs. Moe, Mrs. Shumaker, and Mrs. Mazer are the BEST!!!
Tim March 23, 2012 at 12:59 AM
St. Gabriel School is by far the best preschool in Milford. Mrs. Moe, Mrs. Shumaker and Mrs. Mazer nurture my child and give her a loving, supportive environment in which to learn. My daughter always has a smile on her face and is always eager to go to school. They also have a well-rounded curriculum including, art, music, gym and spanish class. St. Gabe's is a peanut free school and takes all allegies seriously. They also cater to childen with special needs, creating individualized programs to suite the child's needs. St. Gabe's even won the Autism Advocacy Award this year for their work. I love this school and would recommend it to all parents thinking about sending their child to preschool.
Megan March 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM
The facility at St. Mary has been completely upgraded and remodeled. It is immaculate and well maintained. It is a comfortable and welcoming place for children.
Laura Cooley March 26, 2013 at 11:41 PM
We love the Milford Cooperative Preschool. Time and time again we hear from people: oh! My kids went there, we loved it! It has been a great learning and development environment for both our children. The teachers are really focused on the needs of each child. I appreciate the regular feedback and the community feeling of the school.
Addie Pietrosanti March 27, 2013 at 12:16 PM
I just enrolled my fourth child at The Milford Cooperative Preschool. The Co-op is a research driven, play based program that fosters an environment of exploration and learning. My oldest children still "wish they were back at the co-op!". I can not think of a better place to send my babies.

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