Old South Preschool Reviews
“Both of our children were at Old South Preschool, and were in Blue, Green, and the Red room. Above anything, Old South Preschool to us was, and still is a family. We met many of our friends that we as a family and our children are still close with. Throughout their years at the preschool, our children were lucky to experience the love and devotion of teachers that more than anything instilled in them the love of school, and learning. I count this experience as one of the key experiences that helped both of them, especially Lazar, in developing such a strong love of school. The love and warmth that the Blue room teachers have for our children is amazing. Jennifer, Leslie and Vicky are all devoted to each child, and the size of their heart is hard to measure. The move to the Green room was an exciting one for both of our children, as so many new projects and games are introduced by the teachers, each day is more rewarding than the next. The Red room is one of the best spaces to prepare a child for Kindergarten. Sharon is one of the most exceptional teachers I have ever met, and her ability to understand and explore the challenges that each child is experiencing speaks volumes of her devotion, and expertise as a teacher.”
— Milicia G.
“Where to begin!? So many fond memories, experiences, friendships from a collective 5 years at Old South. A warm, nurturing environment for our kids to dip their toes into learning while playing. Located in the heart of Boston, and taking advantage of all that is around it. Our kids explored the city, the parks, the playgrounds, searched for shapes, visited pizza makers and veterinarian clinics. We are sad to leave, but thankful and grateful to Old South for giving our kids a great springboard into (elementary) school and learning.”
— Natalie C.
“How incredibly lucky we were to have found this special place nestled peacefully alongside the excitement of Copley Square. At this point, we don’t remember who it was who told us about Old South but we are very grateful and have recommended the school to countless others. All four of our children attended, each with varying degrees of comfort levels to start. Our oldest was what Carolyn referred to as a “sofa sitter” for the first many weeks of her school career – after tearful goodbyes, she quietly observed the Green Room from a corner. It was tough for us as parents to walk away, but Carolyn and all the teachers reassured us and patiently encouraged her to find her place when she was ready. She finally came off the sofa and joined in on the fun and now as a sixth grader, she still fondly recalls her days of exploration at Old South. Our fourth child, on the other hand, was ready for the Blue Room from the minute he could climb out of our stroller. All four cherished their time in those classrooms and so did we.
From the interesting activities they engaged in to the thoughtfulness and compassion demonstrated by all the teachers – this little oasis in the city simply gets it right. And the school reports they compose when children apply to schools after Old South – it is just incredible how accurately they described each child. We saved each report, among other mementos, and we feel very fortunate to have been a part of the Old South community. We can’t think of a better place for our children to have started their educational paths, nor could we imagine a kinder, more down-to-earth group of people to entrust them to than Carolyn and all the teachers. Thank you for many wonderful years, Old South!!!”
— Megan S.
“My daughter is completing her third year at Old South Preschool after attending since the Blue Room (starting when she was 2.5 years old). Old South was our number one choice for preschools for three main reasons. One reason was the neighborhood feel. Old South is a school that is attended by mainly local families within Back Bay, the South End, Bay Village and Beacon Hill. As a result, the same children you see at school are the same children that you will see at neighborhood events, local playgrounds, etc. The families at Old South are all kind, casual, and relaxed in their interactions. And while I am describing the families, the focus of the school is primarily the children. Which is reason number 2 for choosing this school.
When we gained admission to Old South, it wasn’t a matter of what we as a family could contribute, but if our child would be happy there. Extra family participation is minimal and targeted at participation in the classroom once a year, as well as a couple family outings with the school during the day. Of course you can do more, but there is no expectation to do so. Old South does not put pressure on families for anything other than making sure their child has what they need to have a great day at school. I really appreciate that. Some families may look to a school to expand their own network, and while you may be able to do that, you must reach out to families without school involvement to make those connections. And I believe that is how it should be.
Finally, the third reason for choosing Old South, was their caring and kind teachers. As my daughter is completing her time at Old South, she still has a fond attachment to her teachers from the previous two years. The other day when chatting with my daughter, she said, “I am glad I went to Old South because I got to know Ms. Jennifer.” She will only go to summer camp that is led by Ms. Summer and Ms. Saba because she knows them and loves them. The teachers really got to know my child and could speak to her interests and work with her personality so that she got the most out of every class day. There was a strong trust between teachers and students that allowed children to be open with their teachers and learn how to communicate their thoughts and feelings in constructive ways. The school really is like a private world for the children. The children exhibit age appropriate interactions, and any behaviors that are not acceptable are handled kindly by the teachers and these communications stay between the children and the teachers. Parents are involved when behavior crosses a line. Students therefore have trust in their teachers and learn to handle their own positive and negative interpersonal interactions. The teachers make a point to communicate in person with parents and caregivers, so there is little ambiguity in what they are communicating. In addition, so the parents can see highlights of the children’s days, the classrooms have pictures that show the special moments of the class activities, which are so sweet and show the amount of fun the children have.
While my last point is not a reason I chose Old South, it turned out to be something I value very much, which is the exploration of the city. It is truly amazing how the teachers incorporate lessons in the surrounding areas. They take advantage of the resources available to a city school, and children get ample opportunity to get fresh air and movement. There have been many times that I have encountered the children on one of their journeys, and it was amazing to see children captivated by whatever the teacher was showing (while being extremely well behaved).
I will miss Old South, and I am sure my daughter will too.”
— Kiran So
“Our two daughters attended Old South Preschool and thrived under the guidance of the amazing staff. The nurturing environment provided a perfect backdrop for the creative, child-driven curriculum. Where else would kids build a life-sized cardboard structure or open an ice cream shop?! We also appreciated that the teachers made the children comfortable with the city by taking them outside every day to explore different areas of Boston, even in inclement weather. These day-to-day city experiences, under the watchful eyes of their teachers, allowed the children to learn the “rules of the city” and become more interconnected with their diverse hometown, the City of Boston.
Each classroom at Old South provided a unique, age-appropriate learning experience. The teachers encouraged the children to be self-reliant and provided just the correct amount of assistance. Our girls especially loved being able to “get messy” during arts and crafts time and we still cherish the books gifted to the students at year-end containing much of that year’s art work.
Carolyn Davis, the Director of Old South Preschool, is an exceptional educator with decades of experience. As parents, we appreciated her insights about raising a child in the city and her relaxed attitude helped decrease stress levels around school application time.
As you can see I am not at a loss for words. We continue to sing the praises of Old South to anyone who will listen. I’m sorry that our schedules do not provide any overlap with Old South as we would love to return to say hello in person. I do occasionally run into the teachers on the streets when they are out and about with the kids and it is always the highlight of my day. We couldn’t have been any happier with our five years at Old South. Thank you!! Please send our best to everyone!!”
— Kate Shepherd
“Old South was a wonderful ‘first school’ experience for our two daughters. Its gentle approach, combined with its philosophy of meeting children where they are developmentally, makes for a rich learning environment. Though many years have passed since my kids were preschoolers, they still talk lovingly about their Old South days.”
— Rebecca Knight
“We have been lucky enough to have had both our son and daughter start and finish their pre-school experience at Old South.
Five years ago we were relatively new parents and the specter of miscalculating our preschool choice was harrowing. Having toured and interviewed countless preschool institutions with varying degrees of satisfaction, we were referred by a friend to investigate Old South. We’re very happy we did.
From our first meeting five years ago with Carolyn Davis, Old South’s Director, we felt immediately at ease. During an unscripted orientation during regular operating hours the classrooms were organized, immaculate and engaging. Every child was actively participating in the day’s activities with the teachers highly attentive to their needs. The children that caught our presence warmly greeted Miss Davis. In turn she responded to each by name and it was clear she was more than an administrator to them. Like her teaching team, she had an intimate familiarity with each child’s background, development and personality.
Having moved from Boston to the suburbs we had the option of placing our daughter in the local pre-school program. Despite the strong reputation and economic advantages of doing so, we couldn’t justify pulling our youngest out of a program that has done so much to prepare her brother for the next chapter of his education and now hers.
Spanning the Blue, Green and Red rooms we have had the pleasure of sharing our children’s lives with each of the room’s teachers. The Old South staff demonstrated unwavering commitment to our children’s development, social awareness and desire for rich and fulfilling experiences. Each is uniquely qualified to help prepare your child not just for Kindergarten but life.
I’m thankful for the impression Old South has left on my children and us as parents. Looking back and seeing where our children are today we can take comfort in the knowledge that we have made a sound investment in our most precious asset.”
— Curt C.
“My son was at Old South for 4 Years. We loved the school so much we had him in the Red Room twice! He is in the first grade now and doing great but I often still talk to my mom friends from OS and we wax nostalgic about how much we miss it. As one of the moms put it so eloquently “it’s all downhill after the Red Room”.
I was so worried about those preschool applications asking questions such as “what does your family do in the summer?”, which felt like a thinly veiled request to see our W2, and what kind of families these applications might attract. The “sidewalk talk” as Carolyn so aptly called it about who’s applying where and what preschools are feeders for Harvard, was enough to make any mom traversing these new waters feel woefully inadequate. When I met with Carolyn and saw the straight forward, no nonsense application, the first come first serve philosophy, and the warm and inviting environment I instantly knew what my first choice school was!
The things I loved about old South? The community! I met the most down to earth, diverse, and lovely families at Old South. Everyone was so welcoming and inclusive I felt comfortable in the environment immediately. My son made a ton of friends and play dates and informal meet ups at the library or playground were a daily event and happened in a very organic way.
The teachers and Carolyn couldn’t have been more helpful and involved and kept my husband and I abreast of everything that I needed to know about my sons progress as well as knowing which details to keep to themselves to avoid unnecessary worry. The entire staff was completely accessible for either a sit down meeting or just a hallway chat. Carolyn was always present giving us the comfort that she was on top of everything going on every day at Old South.”
— Pam Sull
“When Aldo started in the Green Room at Old South, he was our first, so I brought anxiety and fear with me to the starting weeks. I think the memory that sticks with me the most was how quickly I felt at home and how quickly he felt at home. I never worried about his well-being and each time I picked him up, he was filled with stories and smiles. It helped me as a mother to grow with him and it helped him as a little boy to gain confidence in the simple things- hanging up his coat, putting it on and taking it off, navigating new friendships and the city. I never thought of Old South as “school” but it was an education in all of the things that actually matter- like being patient and kind, taking care of yourself and your classmates, eating well, getting fresh air and learning to keep the space around you tidy. The typical things that you associate with school (reading, drawing, etc.) were also very much present, but the “good things” were even more noticeable. By the time Bibi was of age, we started right in to the Blue Room and even let her nap at school! Both kids still think about Old South and Carolyn fondly after all of these years.”
— Claudia Noury-Ello
“We have been overjoyed and beyond happy with our experience at Old South Preschool thus far. The “send your child to school” experience was new to us, as our older daughter, who is 3 and currently in the Blue Room, is the first one to “flee our nest”, we weren’t really sure how we would handle it and how she would handle it. Needless to say, she is doing amazing and we could be any happier! She loves going to school, she loves interacting with all of the teachers and classmates and she loves all of the exciting experiences she has had there so far! We can’t wait to continue to watch her thrive and will be lucky to send our next daughter there as soon as we can :-)))”
— Noel T.
“My husband and I had the great privilege of sending our children to Old South Preschool. When we were looking at schools for our then-two-year-old, we visited several. When we came to Old South for the first time, we immediately knew that we had found the place that was right for our daughter, and for our family.
Old South Preschool is a place where kids can be kids, and they learn the way kids should- by playing. Life is hard, and childhood is precious; I am grateful that my children had the opportunity to spend their days in classrooms that constantly evolved based on the kids’ interests and what excited them. I loved that there was not a set curriculum, but rather the curriculum is constantly evolving.
The teachers are gifted; they have a true pulse on each child, and care deeply about them. It is leap of faith to leave your baby in a school setting for the first time, and the teachers at Old South give parents the trust that is needed.
I love that Old South takes advantage of its location. The “classroom” extends far beyond the walls of Old South church. Playgrounds, libraries, train stations, Farmers Markets, post offices, grocery stores, Public Gardens, and the “T” all provided valuable learning experiences.
Old South fosters bonds not just among its students, but among the parents as well. Some of our closest friends in Boston today, are other Old South families.
Old South is a special place. We look forward to our youngest child joining the community next year.”
— Alicia Erickson
“Old South is what a preschool should be; warm, welcoming, full of play, and exploration without expectations. The Blue Room year was a year for new beginnings, new friends, and new morning routines. We remember our Green Room year where the caterpillars morphed into butterflies and were set free in the Spring. We remember our Red Room year where the creative corner was always changing and we looked forward to seeing the elaborate theater and subsequent pirate ship that it became.
Some of our favorite memories with our two children were parent participation days when we did a snowflake craft with the kids, baked blueberry muffins (which my son decided he didn’t even like that particular day), or walked to the swan boats in the Public Garden with our new friends. It didn’t have to be something elaborate though and we always appreciated that. Simply showing up and reading a favorite book to the class was sometimes more meaningful to the children than a big project. As a parent, we felt at home at Old South because there wasn’t any pressure to perform. Everything just felt right from the start and we treasure the six years that we spent there.”
— Katie Sullivan
“We view Old South through the lens of our daughter, of course. Polly has grown tremendously at Old South. She started off a bit reluctant in the Green Room, as many kids might just beginning in school, but pretty quickly found that she liked it. Then loved it. By now, as a 2nd-year Red Roomer, she walks in like she owns the place – in the way that only a 5 year old can! We love that she has the confidence many adults never enjoy, and of course that the entire staff at Old South embraces the confidence while at the same time very gently and subtly making sure Polly remains “right sized” in her place as a 5 year old.
Old South is what a nursery school should be. It is loving, extraordinarily flexible and as nurturing to kids as a parent could hope for. The teachers provide boundaries and gentle guidance, but they take cues from the children and help the kids build on those interests – allowing the children to develop in ways best suited to them and in ways that will be most interesting to them. I love that our daughter takes such pride in her school, her friends and teachers and what she does each and every day.”
— Izzy A.
“Our son and daughter each had outstanding experiences at Old South Preschool…the focus on exploration, discovery, and working together formed a strong basis for the success they now enjoy in elementary and high school. Old South students have their natural sense of curiosity and creativity developed through their self-guided play and learning, fostering both independence of inquiry and the value and fun of working together. We couldn’t be more pleased with the years that our children spent at Old South, or its longstanding impact on them.”
— Mary Hogan, Paul Wilcox
“Over seven years our three girls relished each and every day of their urban toddler oasis—Old South Pre-School. Whether the Red, Blue or Green Rooms Old South offered each child a nurturing, enrichening and dynamic environment. Kind and caring teachers supported our girls but also encouraged independence and personal growth. Whether trekking to the local playground in a careful small-step groups, learning to care for themselves or completing the daily class tasks, Old South fosters an environment where kids can “step-up” to new things and start the journey of growing up (a little) each day. Combined with engaging classroom activities and work, Old South was a perfect place (and fond memory to this day) for our three girls.”
— Gitika D.
“Our perspective of 10+ years at Old South Preschool-
Dear perspective families,
Welcome home! Choosing a preschool is really hard, and unfortunately has become really stressful. We are a family that started with one high energy, city boy and quickly grew to three. The reputation of Carolyn Davis and Old South Preschool was strongly recommended to us when my son was about 18 months. We became very focused- we wanted to get in!
Why was Old South so important to us? My husband and I were determined to raise grounded children in a high paced city atmosphere. We also wanted to find a place that could nurture their individual spirit (whatever that energy may become) and respect that kids are kids! We wanted them to explore the city, get out every day, have an adventure or have access to an outdoor adventure every day.
The second I walked in to Old South Preschool I knew it was my top choice. Carolyn has fostered a culture of love, discipline, and engaging, devoted teachers that we knew we wanted our children to learn from as soon as possible.”
— Melanie O.
“2 of my 3 kids were lucky enough to experience Old South Preschool (when the 3rd kid came of age we had moved away unfortunately). I was impressed with the team of teachers and the Director at Old South. They build on years of experience individually and working with each other to create an environment that brings the best to each kid. My kids loved going to Old South from day 1 and I learned a lot from the teachers as they observed my daughters through their developmental milestones, year after year. It was very clear by the end from the letters that the Director wrote about my daughter when applying to her next school, that the entire Old South Preschool team had been watching her closely and lovingly putting together the pieces of several elusive pieces of the puzzle of who Carlotta was as a preschooler.
Throughout our experience, teachers also had a thoughtful way of involving parents, I was excited to have the opportunity to come in and interact with the classroom on specific project, and grateful that other parents did the same under the teachers’ guidance. I loved the school’s attention to detail on things like:
– making sure that kids were equipped to go out every single day multiple times. I know it’s not easy to dress up 50 little kids with all their winter gear, but this was such a great routine in school that it was easy to keep up at home
– initiating and completing large scale projects in the big “running space” upstairs
– using the Old South surroundings for the children to take advantage of the community nearby to do fun projects
– coaching parents on what to provide to their children in lunchboxes, to make sure it would be nutritious and balanced. I don’t know if this is still the case, but we were asked to not peal fruits like organic apples when we send them in with the kids – things like this help our kids build better habits and it is great to have a school that partners with parents on that.
It has always been pretty amazing to me that one could find a place that is so personal, down-to-earth, intimate in the heart of the hustle-bustle of Boston.”
— Ludovica M.