Rochester Local

Rochester MN Guide to Early Education

This guide is sponsored by the businesses listed below.

early education

Preschool, Nursery School, Childcare Center, In-Home Daycare? What’s best for your family?

We’re pleased to offer the Rochester MN Guide to Early Education to help you in making your decision.  Picking a preschool, nursery school or childcare center that fits your child’s and your family’s needs can be an overwhelming task.  As parents, we are clearly aware of the importance of our decision.  The businesses below are eager to chat with you about how their program just might be the best fit for your child.  This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the options for early childhood care in Rochester MN.

So what is the difference between the four options? It is important to note that all options are focused on the educational and social development of your children, just in subtly different ways.

  • Preschool will most often provide care for shorter hours and are closed for holidays, breaks, and summer, though some may offer full-time programs, extended care, and summer options. Additionally, preschools tend to be for children age 3 – 5.
  • Childcare Centers may be a more convenient choice for working parents because they usually provide full-time care, even during school breaks. And they generally accept a wider age range: infants through pre-kindergarteners and even school-aged children.
  • Nursery School can offer both shorter hours and extended care options for children 2 -5 years old (in some cases younger!)  Nursery schools also tend to place emphasis and focus on experiential and social learning.
  • In-Home Daycare are private homes licensed by the state of Minnesota to care for a certain amount of children.  Often in smaller setting, this option provides care in a smaller setting.

Additionally, we’ve listed out helpful resources to you as you begin your search. Please be sure to visit the drop down menus below our featured listing for information on in-home daycare, sitters, county resources and more!


Rochester YMCA Early Childhood Learning Center offers full-day care and education for infants, toddlers, preschool, and pre-kindergarten with full and part-week options for toddlers and preschool. On-site amenities include bright, colorful classrooms, interactive whiteboards, a library, outdoor garden, separate playgrounds for toddlers and preschoolers and more! Ninety-eight percent of graduating YMCA preschool and pre-kindergarten students exceed Twin Cities kindergarten readiness standards. From the beginning stages of life, the Y provides a nurturing environment for your child to learn, grow and thrive!


early education

The Nest at RCS Enrolling Ages 2-5 for this Fall, Voted Best Preschool in Rochester 4x!

Seeking a top-rated Preschool or Early Childhood Education program for your 2-5-year-old this Fall?

The Nest at Rochester Catholic Schools is currently enrolling in their Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Nature-Based programs for the upcoming school year, and adding names to their waitpool for 2025-2026.

At The Nest, students engage in creative play in a faith-based environment, grow through age-appropriate educational opportunities, and develop social/emotional skills, across their three convenient locations.

Additional highlights include: Flexible scheduling options including half-day, school-day, full-day, and summer care programming; high-quality ECE staff; high retention rate for teachers and students at RCS; Four Star Parent Aware Rating and MNSAA-Accreditation.

Learn why we have been voted Best Preschool in Rochester 4x by visiting the links below!


early education

Casa de Corazón stands out as an excellent option for families seeking top-quality childcare. Casa offers a safe and nurturing environment where children can thrive, along with spacious play areas and classrooms designed to spark creativity. Their dedicated staff provides individualized attention and care, ensuring each child’s needs are met. Additionally, the international teaching program integrates diverse perspectives and cultural viewpoints, enriching the learning experience. Through immersive language experiences, Casa de Corazón cultivates an appreciation for diversity and is excited to welcome new families into their warm and supportive community.


early education

New Horizon Academy provides exceptional early childhood education and care for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers from 6 weeks old through pre-kindergarten. Through research-based curriculum and nurturing care, New Horizon Academy supports the development of cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills in every child. Visit our website to learn more about our early learning programs, state-of-the-art classrooms, commitment to health and safety, and more. Schedule a tour at one of our two convenient Rochester schools today!


early education

Preschool is all about wonderful new learning experiences that build skills for a lifetime. It is about turning everyday experiences and interactions into powerful opportunities for learning. At Rochester Public Schools – Preschool we understand that each child has unique educational needs and we emphasize learning through age-appropriate practice in a play-based environment. We use purposeful play because we know that our young students learn best in a playful, hands-on setting. We also believe that effective learning takes place when we build and sustain strong partnerships and relationships with our students and their families. To best meet the varied needs of the children and families we serve, we offer a variety of locations, times, and programming options.


early education

Aldrich School is a local, non-profit, nationally accredited nursery school that holds a special place in the hearts of countless children and families. The Aldrich program provides a play-based learning environment with developmentally appropriate experiences in all areas of growth including cognitive, physical, social/emotional, and language development.

Aldrich has a rich history and quality reputation in the Rochester community. Pediatricians and child psychiatrists, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, were involved in a Mayo Clinic study of child development in the 1940s which eventually led to the inception of Aldrich.

Having served the children of Rochester for 80 years, Aldrich has touched tens of thousands of lives in Minnesota and beyond. We love seeing former Aldrich students succeed and really love when they bring their own children back to enroll.


early education

IT begins here. Kingdom Kids enriches our community by providing a quality education that initiates a lifelong love for Jesus Christ and teaches the foundational skills essential for academic success. Located in Rochester, Kingdom Kids Christian Preschool is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and has a 4/4 star Parent Aware rating. Staff and teachers partner with your family to educate, nurture, and encourage the development of the whole child, because every child is made in God’s image and has incredible intrinsic value! Kingdom Kids builds a strong foundation in God’s word from which your child will benefit for life as we prepare your student for Kindergarten through our academic, developmentally-appropriate curriculum.


early education

At RASA, we aim to develop active learners, well-rounded individuals, and engaged world citizens. Serving students from preschool through 8th grade, we are an International Baccalaureate World School committed to academic excellence and small class sizes. A close-knit community with a diverse range of families, we are a school where everyone is welcome, and every student is known and supported as an individual. We are therefore able to offer internationally recognized academics tailored to each student and their unique strengths, interests, and needs. But don’t take out word for it: read more about what our families have to say or schedule a tour to see the power of the RASA difference first-hand!


early education

EPIC Endeavors Preschool Academy is a STEM learning environment located downtown Rochester geared for our youngest scholars beginning at age 2 3/4 year to age 5. EPIC preschool is where art, music, and a lot of movement and sports are woven into all our “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math” learning. Our niche in town is building early readers! At EPIC children become researchers as they learn to read and write daily and get a whole lot of indoor and outdoor purposeful play! Our goal is for EPIC kids to become readers, writers, and thinkers about our world. We invite you to come visit and see our little learning lab for kids. Text for a tour today 507-319-5709 to see our preschool options. 

Other Area Child Care Centers, Nursery Schools, Preschools, & Resources

Licensed In-Home Day Care

Rochester is fortunate to have many wonderful, loving in-home day care providers to meet your family’s needs. This sort of care is in very high demand in Rochester, so if you’d like to take this route for your child’s care, we suggest you start your search early. There are a few resources that can help you:


Families First of Minnesota

Olmsted County Child Care Association

Minnesota Licensing Information Look-Up

Parent Aware



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Other Resources

Au Pairs


Cultural Care Au Pair

School Readiness

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Provides one book per month for children ages birth through five in Olmsted County.

Early Childhood Screening

Early Childhood Screening is a free, comprehensive developmental screening for any child 3 years to 5 years living in the Rochester School District.

Sitters + Nannies

Rochester Poppins

Jovie Nannies + Sitters

Special Needs

Olmsted County Child Personal Care Attendants (PCA)

The PCA program provides assistance to families with disabled children and children with special healthcare needs requiring assistance and currently enrolled in Medical Assistance.  The program provides help and assistance with activities of daily living.

Olmsted County Child and Youth Services

Support to help ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth in Olmsted County.

Rochester Public Schools Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

ECSE is early intervention services for children with developmental delays in a variety of areas such as cognition, motor, social, or speech development. ECSE provides children who are diagnosed under the ECSE criteria with appropriate educational programs that are designed to meet their particular needs, enabling them to more fully participate in their home, school, and community.


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