Readers' Choice: Preschools in Northbrook

This week, we're asking you to tell us who you trust to care for something very precious: your littlest children.

Last week, we launched our Readers' Choice contest with a simple question: ?

This week, we're asking readers something more serious: which preschool do you think does the best job in Northbrook? 

We know parents prioritize different things when choosing a preschool, so we also want to know why you think the preschool you voted for is the best. Do they have the most caring instructors? The greatest communication with parents? The most creative activities for toddlers? Let us know in the comments -- and help your fellow parents out when it comes to choosing a preschool. 

Here are some of local contenders, but if we're leaving one off of the list, please let us know in the comments and we'll add it:


Voting has been closed. Ties will be broken by whichever business has the most positive comments in the section below. We will announce the winner at noon Friday.

Editor's Note: Because this poll is not scientific, it is not the sole consideration in choosing a winner. The winner will be determined by the Patch editor, based on poll results, comments on this article and reviews on Patch Places. Please vote only once per survey, per Patch.

Paul Hogan March 06, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Let's here it for all the preschool teachers at all the schools. My kids loved St Nobert.
Lynn Howard March 06, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Our son has attended the Northbrook Community Nursery School for the last two years and has loved every minute of it - and we have too! The teachers are patient and caring, and attentive to each child's individual needs and skills. Last year, our son's teachers pointed out that he had a minor speech problem, suggested speech therapy and pointed us in the direction of resources we didn't even know we had available to us. After 6 months of speech therapy, he is on track with his peers and ready to attend Kindergarten next year. NCNS focuses on play based learning, and the teachers are constantly adjusting their lesson plans based on where the interest of their children lies - keeping my active son quite enthralled! Not only has NCNS provided my son with a great preparation for elementary school, it has also provided us with a sense of community. We moved to Northbrook just a year and a half ago, and NCNS has allowed us to really get to know quite a few families. From attending events like the Halloween Hoopla or the Family Fall Fun Fest, to marching in Northbrook's Fourth of July parade, we have had plenty of opportunities to gather as a family with other NCNS families which adds to the fun! We have two other young ones that can't wait to attend NCNS!
Kelli Kushner March 06, 2012 at 03:13 AM
We have had two excellent experiences at St. Norbert pre school. They have built a wonderful community feeling including the parents in their child's day. The teachers are amazing. They treat each child as an individual and really talor to their needs. They teach the intangibles of life, along with what the children need for school. We love St. Norbert!
Melissa March 06, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Little Ones has been such a great experience for my son and I'm so glad I made that choice. Before Little Ones, my son went to a different preschool (won't mention which one) that came highly recommended. It was awful. He cried every day....in the car...in the parking lot... And wouldn't get out of the car to go in. He has made such good friends at Little Ones, loves his teachers and Sheree and can't get enough of school. He has grown so much in the last year and I know he is ready for kindergarten.
Amy Guest March 06, 2012 at 03:29 AM
We sent all three of our kids to NCNS and really loved the experience there. My children loved the school and were always enthusiastic about going. The environment and curriculum is enriching. The balance of play and more academic pursuits is perfect and the teachers and staff are excellent. They let the children's interests take the class in different directions, so every year is different. Gail Nemoy, the director, is a warm, caring and practical person who does a wonderful job overseeing the daily operations. The teachers there are experienced and enthusiastic. There are many good preschools in Northbrook. NCNS was a perfect fit for us.
Kim March 06, 2012 at 03:32 AM
JCC at Apachi...the teachers are wonderful and go above and beyond to make each child's experience a memorable one. I couldn't imagine a better pre-school to send my kids!
Vanessa Krall March 06, 2012 at 04:20 AM
I think it's pretty clear that some of the preschools here have solicited positive reviews and rankings from their parents and teachers. I am happy to see that my children's preschool is currently focussing on their education and not on making sure their school wins the popularity vote.
Cheri Baumgartner March 06, 2012 at 05:24 AM
I have experienced another preschool in this district and have to say that I wish I knew about Little Ones sooner. They have exceeded any expectation I've ever had for a preschool. They are extremely loving and highly qualified and we are truly blessed to live close to such an amazing preschool.
N Kutty March 06, 2012 at 05:24 AM
My son has benefitted tremendously from Little Ones Nursery. Everyone has been extremely accommodating and caring. The attention to his temperament and needs has helped him grow socially and emotionally. I could not have found a better team to care for my child!
Sharon Latek March 06, 2012 at 01:19 PM
My 3 children went to 3 different preschools, I was happy with all of them. However, Mustard Seed should win the prize for Northbrook's best preschool! The teachers there went above and beyond to make my daughter feel special! They encouraged her to make friends, and went above and beyond a teacher role! My only regret is I did not discover them until our last child!! If you are looking for kind, loving teachers and small classes where your child will not be LOST, you should definitely look at The Mustard Seef!
Dorie Gaty March 06, 2012 at 03:09 PM
My first impression when I walked into Mustard Seed Nursery School was 'cozy'. It's perfect for my children and we've loved being a Mustard Seed family. It's laid back and provides a good combination of focus on education and important social skills. The teachers provide a warm, loving environment for my children!
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) March 06, 2012 at 03:42 PM
We've just added the JCC's early childhood programs, so please cast your vote in our poll if you're a fan.
Lisa Raju March 06, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Jennifer, I am a loyal reader of the Patch, but this poll is ridiculous. There aren't hundreds of readers voting for these preschools, there are a few people voting many, many times. I wondered why I saw some of these schools getting hundreds of votes in just minutes last night. A quick call to a friend of mine who creates websites let me know that if you turn your cookies off, you can vote as many times as you want. There is no "best" preschool in Northbrook. These schools have been educating children in Northbrook for decades. If they didn't properly prepare children for Kindergarten in Districts 27, 28, 30 and 31, they would have been out of business years ago. I was paying close attention to this poll because I am the president of Northbrook Community's board next year, but this article and poll is just like asking which school district does a better job educating Northbrook's kids. They all do a wonderful job.
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) March 06, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Lisa, thanks for your comment and thanks for reading Patch. As you've pointed out, people can abuse the system, and that's why we're weighing comments and reviews, too. I assume these preschools teach fairness and honesty to their kids, so grownups, please remember those same ethics and vote only once.
Kim March 06, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I would agree that the poll is invalid at this point. Yesterday I saw the same thing happening to Little One's numbers going up by hundreds in a matter of minutes. I checked the polls 1 hour ago and just now and all of the preschools have had their poll numbers shoot up by the hundreds. I think we can all agree that we each choose our preschool for different reasons and that each school has their advantages and disadvantages. Each child is different and it is important to find the right match for your child. I would hope that no one would be swayed by all of the propaganda that has been put forth. Visit the schools, find out for yourself.
Kim March 06, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Yes just as Little Ones’ numbers shot up by the hundreds in a matter of minutes yesterday. I think much of the controversy started with the unusual numbers being put up by Little Ones, as well as the rumors that they were “stuffing the voting boxes” much of what has happened is in my opinion in response that that.
Kim March 06, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Very true they are amazing!
Lynn Howard March 06, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I am somewhat disappointed by the directions some of these comments are going on this site. As I posted earlier, we are new(er) to Northbrook. We chose this community because it boasted great schools and what I assumed were kind, compassionate and well-educated people - the kind of people I hope my children will aspire to be. I hope I am not proven wrong by this Patch poll. I think we can all speak volumes about the preschools we chose by pointing out the positive experiences we have had. I don't think we need to slam other preschools.
Paul Hogan March 06, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Fish, I agree with you. We are lucky to have so many choices. My kids went to St. Norbert and we thought it was great. I have heard nothing but good reviews about the other preschools. Teachers make the school.
Melissa Julayco Tsang March 06, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Just like Lynn, I am not from Northbrook and also not from this country. I chose to continue to live in Northbrook because of the great schools and of the great friends I have made . I feel sad that instead of bringing out the best of Northbrook, all this poll has done is expose the worst. I hope that something can be done so we can redirect this energy to something more positive. Our kids and the community deserve better.
Kati Byrne Spaniak March 06, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I guess that I am going to take a little bit different angle than the posters of the last couple of comments. We are in a town where there are SO many excellent choices of schools, and the people who have posted and voted here are genuinely proud of their schools. That is a good thing. What this has shown me is that we have many families who are proud to be associated with these preschools. I think that it is nothing more than that. I don't think anyone had any malicious intent. They are just proud of their schools. And, they should be. We all should be.
Melissa Julayco Tsang March 07, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I agree that Northbrook is lucky to have such wonderful schools and we all should feel proud to post what we genuinely love about our preschools. I believe this was the intent of the Patch. This does not need to be a forum for slandering other preschools and intimidating people from posting for fear of being bashed or insinuations that they were put up to it. I applaud the Patch for eliminating some of those posts from yesterday. I hope that going forward as people notice the inflated numbers that have gone up for ALL the schools in a short amount of time, people are smart enough to realize that these are the actions of some few overzealous individuals and not those condoned by their schools (directors, teachers and families). All of our schools have established reputations for providing excellent education and for their integrity. While this poll has gone on, our schools have continued to focus on our children. Our schools and our community do not need to deal with any negative propaganda or accusations brought on by these flagrantly questionable numbers.
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Melissa, thank you for your comments. You're right, the intent was simply to get readers talking about what, specifically, makes the preschool you chose good for you and your child or children. As it happens, the comments you're referring to were deleted by the person who posted them. I'd also like to reiterate what we've said in the story itself: Because this poll is not scientific, it is not the sole consideration in choosing a winner. The winner will be determined by the Patch editor, based on poll results, comments on this article and reviews on Patch Places. Please vote only once per survey, per Patch.
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 05:57 PM
OK, folks, we have closed voting in the poll early because it has gotten out of hand. It's not too late to weigh in, however: we'll decide a winner Friday based on comments on this story and reviews on Patch Places. You can review any preschool listed above by clicking on its name in the story, which will take you to its listing. Or simply comment below. We love the passion we've seen in this comment thread, but please, play nice when you're weighing in on the preschool you love.
Joan Rubert-Mahoney March 07, 2012 at 06:44 PM
We are so happy to have found Mustard Seed. The teachers are so nurturing --but also create a great learning environment. I think they don't toot their own horn enough-but that's kind of what is great about it too. A really great staff and beautiful little school!
Meg Meek March 07, 2012 at 06:51 PM
We have loved our experience with Northbrook Community Nursery School for our 2 children. With that being their first schooling experience, it has been a significantly positive one, spanning the nurturing relationships they formed with the teachers and director, the warm, inclusive environment which helped them form good friendships with their other classmates, the creative, fun and non-threatening classroom environment which encouraged them to explore new concepts and a nice complement of enrichment activities to delve further into areas of interest, whether that be Music or Theater. We couldn't be happier with the school.
Monica Melson March 07, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Monica Melson St. Norberts is the best preschool in Northbrook. The teachers are great with the kids. I know my children enjoyed St. Norberts. I still have one in 7th grade at St. Norberts and am glad that we have all been apart of a great school. I, along with my children have made lasting friendships and we have so much trust in the school and the families.
Kati Byrne Spaniak March 07, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I just want to give a 'YOU ROCK' to all the people who posted and used their full names. It takes a lot of courage to do that! AND... I would love to see this kind of passion for our preschools also used for our downtown development! Please keep your comments rolling on things that make a difference to the residents of Northbrook!
Jennifer Miles March 08, 2012 at 02:33 AM
My husband and I are both St. Norbert graduates and are sending both of our boys to St. Norbert preschool. We love St. Norbert and cannot say enough wonderful things about the school. Parents are welcome to visit and participate in the learning process. The teachers and faculty are incredible and my son exits school every day with a huge smile on his face.
Melissa Julayco Tsang March 09, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Choosing a preschool in Northbrook is a good dilemma to have since all of them offer quality education and warm nurturing environments for our children to learn. Ultimately I chose Northbrook Community Nursery School. I have no family in the area, so it was important for me to provide a sense of community for my children. The teachers are very knowledgeable and extremely caring. My children come home feeling accomplished and appreciated. The director, Gail Nemoy, is very involved in the classes and takes the time to get to know my family. The school’s family events and socials for parents have helped my family develop lasting friendships. My preschoolers and even my middle school daughter have looked forward to NCNS’ community activities such as marching in Northbrook’s 4th of July Parade and running the Goldfish Booth at Northbrook Days y. I guess, one would say my family has not only established a sense of community within the school, but also fond memories and appreciation for Northbrook as a great place to live in as well.


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