A Guide to Finding the Best South Tampa Preschool for Your Child

Sep 15, 2021
Apollo Way, Parenting, Resources

The first years of a child’s life are significant for emotional, social, and cognitive development, so choosing the right South Tampa preschool is a big decision. At Apollo Academy, we are here to help provide families with local resources to guide the first of many educational choices you will make for your child.

Important Questions to Consider 

Young minds are primed for learning. Preschool-aged children quickly form connections through their day-to-day experiences about the world around them and how they fit into their world. A stimulating preschool environment can enhance children’s opportunities to increase their sense of self, build independence, and nurture their natural curiosity. Consider these guiding questions as you seek the best-fit South Tampa preschool for your child:

What do I hope for my child to gain through attending preschool? 

Some parents want to see their child’s language skills get a boost from an enriching environment, while others value an environment with ample sensory and play experiences to shape their child’s development. Perhaps, you hope for an environment that offers you the opportunity to volunteer and take an active part in the preschool. The preschool you choose should align with your family’s priorities and values. As you tour schools, keep in mind what you most hope for your child to gain, and ask specific questions of each school’s director about their programs. Preschools love the opportunity to share the highlights and distinctions of their programs with parents. 

How does the general environment feel? How do the staff members communicate with the children? Would your child feel emotionally supported and happy to enter each day? 

Only you know what's best for your child, and the best school for your child may not be the best option for your neighbors, cousins or friends. It's ok to do something different. The most important thing is that your child can flourish where they are enrolled.

When should I apply, and is there a waitlist?

It is not uncommon for sought-after preschools to have a waitlist, which means that the sooner you begin your search, the better your chances are to enroll in your top-choice preschool.

How does the preschool measure a child’s progress?

Depending on guiding philosophies and education methods, schools may have different ways of sharing progress. For example, some share a skills progress report at various intervals throughout the year, while others create individual student portfolios to showcase the progression of early learning, motor, and creative skills.

Does the preschool follow the Hillsborough County school year calendar or have its own school calendar?

If you are a working parent or have other children at different schools, you will want to know what to expect during school breaks and holidays to plan accordingly. 

Is the preschool program full-time or part-time, or are there different options for enrollment?

Each school director will share their program options with you to select the best schedule for your child’s needs. 


Great South Tampa preschool options

South Tampa neighborhoods have many excellent and reputable preschools. Here are some schools Tampa families love (and we think are pretty amazing too!):

  1. Seaborn Day Schools- With three locations in Tampa (Hyde Park, Davis Island, and Beach Park), Seaborn Day Schools serves students from 18 months to 5 years old. Since 1981, they have provided Tampa preschoolers a sensitive and stimulating environment to meet their emotional and intellectual needs. They also offer a convenient option of healthy, catered lunches.
  2. Amy Gail Buchman Preschool- As an outreach of the Congregation Schaarai Zedek, the Amy Gail Buchman Preschool is a community school open to all faiths and backgrounds. They provide preschoolers a culturally rich environment to help them develop world knowledge through purposeful and creative play. They serve students from age 1 through pre-kindergarten.
  3. Montessori Academy of South Tampa- Based on the education principles first established by Maria Montessori years ago, Montessori Academy of South Tampa seeks to allow each child to untap their unique potential in an environment that fosters freedom and flexibility. Montessori Academy of South Tampa serves the educational needs of infants through age 6.
  4. Suncoast Academy South Tampa Preschool- For over 40 years, Suncoast Academy South Tampa Preschool has provided education to Tampa’s youngest residents. Serving infants through age 5, Suncoast Academy is dedicated to the health, happiness, and education of young children, emphasizing the development of problem-solving and reactive thinking skills. This preschool also offers a state-of-the-art indoor playground, so rainy days don’t dampen children’s need for movement and play.
  5. The Branch Academy of Early Learning- With a creative curriculum and beautiful outdoor gardens, The Branch Academy of Early Learning provides 3 to 5-year-olds with a nurturing “school family” environment. 
  6. Primrose School of South Tampa- Owned by a local mother/daughter team, Primrose School of South Tampa offers programs for infants to age 6. Their education approach inspires children to develop creativity, compassion, and resourcefulness. Primrose also prides itself in that each school is staffed with a chef to offer nutritious meals and snacks to feed young minds and bodies. 
  7. JCC Preschool, South Branch- The JCC Preschool, South Branch serves Tampa’s children aged 1 to 5. The school’s programs offer children a culturally rich community of learners where learning is promoted through inquiry and meaningful experiences. In addition, the JCC’s inclusive curriculum is enhanced with rich Judaic components.  

At Apollo Academy, we believe a child’s school journey should guide them towards becoming engaged, life-long learners. We would love the opportunity to share the exciting education option opening in South Tampa next fall for students ages 5-12. Contact us to learn more.