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Readers' Choice: Orange Preschools

Home based Watch Me Grow rates number one with parents in Orange.

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 Orange 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 Orange 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 Orange Patch, email me at terri.miles@patch.com or if you want to "claim" your free business listing, reaping a bunch of rewards for doing so.

Here's our starter list:

• Bright Horizons

• Holly Hill

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 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.

Lisa D March 22, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Definitey Goodard School in Orange. My daughter is a Goodard alumni and I can't say enough great things about the school. From the moment we walked in we were made to feel like family and my daughter so looked forward to the days she got to go. She is in Kindergarten now and is well advanced in math & reading skills. It's a fun, creative, caring and eductional environment that I would recommend to anyone.
Kara March 22, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Holly hill child care is superb the staff and programs offered are top notch this is truly a caring and nurturing environment that has the children's best interests as its primary goal the facility is immaculate and beautifully maintained I truly hate to have my child leave next year I would highly recommend to anyone seeking first class child care
Ankita March 22, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I like to recommend holly hills day care. My Son is there since they open newly in orange and he loves it. All the staff is highly qualified and helpful. They always go beyond and above when it comes to the kids safety. They have a great curriculum and activity for the kids. My son in KG now but he still goes after school there. He is well and ahead of reading and writing in his class. Holly hills daycare hours are great, place is very neat and clean. I would always recommend holly hills anybody who is looking for daycare or preschool.
Jen March 22, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Holly Hill has been fantastic. As a first time mom, I was nervous about daycares. They've put my mind at ease, and have watched her grow and thrive. The facility is immaculate and the teachers caring and professional. Highly recommended!
Stefanie March 22, 2012 at 09:12 PM
So let me get this straight. Because parents choose to send their children to The Goddard School, instead of a home pre-school, they should not be able to vote or praise their school? Goddard has every right to be in this poll and you should be ashamed of yourself for picking on them. For your information, it was not until this morning that I received an email from The Orange Patch announcing this poll (that’s right- this morning from the Orange Patch). I thought this little poll was really interesting. I liked reading other parents’ comments and praise of their respective schools. It’s good for the community to hear what’s going on in other pre-school systems. We should all be able to praise our school and the teachers who look over our most precious gifts, and no one should be able to attack another school. But alas, there always come the poor sports that have the most shameful way of turning something great into something ugly. Grow up and stop picking on other schools. You sound like a bully.
Kimberly Kick March 22, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Dave, I appreciate your opinion. We didn't know this was going on until this morning and quite frankly, we service over 150 children each day and year. We are not a corporate conglomorate, but rather a privately run facility with very loyal parents and families as I am sure all of these schools do. There is an owner on site daily as well as two directors and very dedicated teachers. There is plenty of room in Orange for all types of schools, both large and small, to suit the needs of every family. Just as we teach our children that everyone is different and has different needs, this is the same thing. If you would like to know how we teach our students, by all means, we welcome visitors. We appreciate every school and every educator. As for thanking those who have commented in a kind way, that is just who we are. I will always thank everyone personally for their feedback, no matter the outcome. I would not, however, post something negative about another place of business. To each his own. Thank you!
Kimberly Kick March 22, 2012 at 09:24 PM
THANK YOU!
Sara March 22, 2012 at 10:05 PM
We are so happy with Holly Hill. Both of our daughters attend, and we couldn't ask for more. It is an inviting environment, where the teachers and directors care for and about the children. They recognize each child as an individual. Looking for Preschools and daycares ican be so stressful, we felt at ease at Holly Hill and knew our children would be cared for and stimulated. It never ceases to amaze us what our preschool daughter shares that she learned that day.Furthermore, Holly Hill was able to provide the love and support our daughter needed during a difficult transition, that other centers couldn't provide. Thanks Debbie, Laura and the rest of the staff!
Jennifer Cifarelli March 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Hi Dave, My name is Jennifer and I am the owner of Watch Me Grow Daycare. Reading your post just got me so upset. I wish you didn't post something so negative. I am MUCH smaller then a center so of course Goddard that has way more children would be getting more votes. The most important job in my eyes is taking care of children. We keep them safe, teach them, and give them the love they need while their Parents are at work. I would hope that Parents are happy with the center that they leave their children with!! Sorry Goddard for something so great to turn out to be also so negative. Jennifer
Terri Miles March 22, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Two comments were deleted because of the negative intonations against one of Orange's schools. Both Goddard and Watch Me Grow care about their students and Jennifer requested that we remove the comments even though they were in support of her daycare, she felt there was no place for the derogatory remarks about Goddard. I was out around town today and wasn't aware of the comments until Jennifer contacted me. To Stefanie, the poll has been alive since Monday and was announced in the newsletters prior to this morning. You are correct though, we do not like bullying on our site.
Kristen Amato March 22, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Not only is Holly Hill an amazing place to work for....their pre school tops the charts! The BEST around! And as my husband and I think about our future and having children I wouldnt want to have them be anywhere else! Our directors are not only the BEST to work for...they're there to answer any questions you have or solve any problems you may have. The facility is beautiful and immaculate! Bottom line, the ONLY place to send your children, any age!!! Kristen Amato
Stefanie March 22, 2012 at 10:55 PM
To Terri - I was in no way disputing the poll's activation day. I apologize if you thought that was my intent. I was only explaining to Dave why I voted today and not earlier in the week. With two small children, I cannot read the newsletters every day, but the emailed headline this morning from the Orange Patch caught my interest. Thanks!
Jim F March 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Coming from California and conducting an exhaustive search/review of potential preschools in and around Milford/Orange my wife and I were beyond pleased with the faculty, resources, and attentive care at Holly Hill in Orange. While each school we visited while performing our due diligence had obvious relative merits in every appropriate dynamic immaginable it was only Holly Hill that demonstrated all the hallmarks we hoped to realize. You really have to put in the time and effort to not just identify all the positive attributes you seek but also any negative, known or as yet possibly unknown, which you require present or absent as is desired. Kudos to everyone utilizing the advantages of preschool, large or small, religious or not, costly or relatively inexpensive. Enabling and affording our children opportunity is something we should all be proud to provide our munchkins! If you have not visited Holly Hill then I suggest you do so should all your criteria for the welfare and benefit of your child(ren) have yet to be satisfied or surpassed. Win, lose or draw something as trivial as this contest it is imperative we all appreciate the advances in our children enabled by the attentive educators and care providers we have already selected and will continue to introduce.
Christina March 22, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Holly hill is amazing! My child started in the baby room and 2 months later I became a employee. My son is in a toddler room now but I look forward to him being in the preschool rooms. Our directors are wonderful and go above and beyond for our children and parents. I am always amazed by the preschool children and some of the things they do. The facility is beautiful. I have to agree with Kristen it is the only place to send your children
Rachael March 22, 2012 at 11:30 PM
My son goes to Watch Me Grow and we can't say enough about Jenny and her program. My son comes home with artwork, singing songs and sharing all sorts of new things he learned. Most importantly, he comes home felling safe, special, and loved. He looks forward to going to Jenny's in the mornings and my husband and I are so happy he is in Jenny's care.
Kimberly Kick March 22, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate you asking to have those nasty posts removed. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job at your school:)
Jennifer Cifarelli March 22, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Aww I love you guys soooo much : All my kids and family:) Thanks for letting me love and watch them grow:)))
Jennifer Cifarelli March 22, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Too,Kimberly Kick, Thanks Kim!!! Same to you:) There is no need for those comments!!! Good luck and I hope we get to meet one day:)))
Nicole classy-Wilhelm March 23, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I would highly suggest holly hill to anyone needing childcare! The entire staff is wonderful. The facility is immaculate! I was a first time mom when my daughter who was one started. I cried leaving her and the director Laura actually called me to make sure that I was ok. I don't think there are too many other centers where this kind of one on one parent relationship happen. I love picking up my daughter to find out what new things she learned that day! Nicole
Carrie March 23, 2012 at 12:17 AM
We LOVE Watch Me Grow! Jenny provides the children with a loving, fun, and educational environment. Our daugther loves going to school each day. We couldn't ask for a better place for our child to learn and play!
Delores March 23, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Dave's "contribution" was so rife with its own contradictions, too much room would be required to comment--rather, I wonder if Dave is demonstrating appropriate social skills when he indicts what he doesn't like with little or no real knowledge, and seems to be backing "his" school as if it were a soccer club. Small schools with small staffs have their attributes, but also their intrinsic issues. Larger schools can have better child/staff ratios, large, up to date and diverse facilities, and wider academic reach. From a personal standpoint, Goodard brings a high level of professionalism in all important areas, especially staff. Let's forget the votes, regardless of their motivations and urge would-be future students to select between two fine schools with different approaches.
Keri Diana March 23, 2012 at 12:53 AM
We've been at Holly Hill since our daughter was in infant. She is now 2 and 1/2 and runs to school every day into loving arms. We love the teachers we've had (To name a few - Miss Paula, Miss Anita, Miss Nicole, Miss Shirley - who are the most loving and caring individuals). Miss Debbie and Miss Laura go above and beyond - making Holly Hill an exceptional place for our children to grow and learn. It is not run like a business, but like a home. We love it and would recommend it to anyone!
Amanda Davis Skelton March 23, 2012 at 12:58 AM
My daughter attends Holly Hill. I can't say enough. It is an amazing place! The staff are kind, loving to the children, and very professional. The facility itself is something else! There is an amazing indoor ballroom to use on cold and rainy days - which is great for her to let out her energy! She loves the music room and reading corner. She adores her My Gym and music classes. The curriculum is great, jam packed, and I personally love the weekly themes. Most of all, she comes home and tells me she loves her teachers. Mrs Katie and Mrs Kristen have done an amazing job in shaping her life, educationally and socially. My husband and I trust the teachers and staff like they are our family. Hats off to Debbie and Laura for running a childcare that will put my daughter years ahead! We love it!!!!
Smith Mowry March 23, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Holly hill rocks!!
Kori March 23, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Hands down The Goddard School!!! The teachers and staff are amazing and truly care about the growth and development of each child as an individual. We started our oldest at 2-1/2 and could not believe the changes and how much she loved it. After having our second we knew we were missing out if we didn't start her sooner. Both girls love going to school and have learned more than we could have ever imagined (yoga, mandarin, spanish, etc). There is no place else I would want my children to be in the most impressionable years of life. Our home values and beliefs are professionally respected and coupled with the Goddard's philosophy of a positive, fun, and nurturing environment the teachers and school have helped us shape our daughters into amazing little ladies!! Thank you Goddard!
Terri Miles March 23, 2012 at 03:56 AM
No problem Stefanie. Thanks
Terri Miles March 23, 2012 at 04:09 AM
It sounds like we have a lot of really wonderful pre-schools in Orange and it is great to see so many parents getting involved and sharing their thoughts here. I've been to some of the schools when invited and enjoy seeing all the opportunities that children have these days. With a new grand daughter in my life, it is good to know that my daughter will have so many different places from which to choose when the time comes. All of the school administrators have been terrific throughout the polling period and Jennifer and Kim, I know both of you and I am so proud of the way you conducted yourselves when comments became a bit distasteful. Thank You! That's the way to set an example for the children.
Maria March 23, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Certainly the Goddard School! The facility is clean, welcoming and secure. The staff knows all the family members and are always smiling and friendly. My daughter has been there for over two years now and loves going to school each day. The educational she is receiving is amazing! She is motivated to learn! It's not just a 'daycare center' it is so much more! It has been the best decision we have made for our daughter by far! Thank you Goddard!!!!!!
Erica Stella Lauer March 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM
My daughter has been at Orange Community Nursery School for two years and it has been a wonderful experience! The teachers provide a fun, safe, nurturing environment where the children learn through play. They offer just the right balance of structure and freedom so that children develop the confidence, academic, and social skills they need. We also love that it is a co-op, offering plenty of opportunity for family involvement!
Lauren Davi March 23, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Holly Hill is an amazing place! I've been to more than one center, and this one carries out their promises! The curriculum, music class, and other offerings like ' my gym', martial arts and cooking classes provide the enrichment many kids need, but most importantly, the staff is incredible!! The are All nurturing and loving and at the end of the day, that is what every parent wants for their child.

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