A website for families in Rochester, MN

Baby-Preschool Resources

Rochester offers a variety of resources designed just for parents of young children. Below you’ll find information on everything from daycare to kindergarten readiness to car safety seat inspections to preschool.
Primrose School of Rochester, provides The Right Foundation for Active Minds, Healthy Bodies and Happy Hearts®! Programs for infants as young as six weeks through a private, full-day kindergarten and before/after-school programs. Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. Your child will engage in music, Spanish, sign language, character development, reading, math and technology on a daily basis.

Family Child Care, Inc. is a local non-profit organization that supports Olmsted County child care providers that provide daycare in their homes. FCCI also offers a child care provider directory and a classified ads section for providers to post their child care openings.

Seeds of Wisdom offers infant through grade 12 education. 

New Horizon Academy is a Minnesota family-owned child care program that has been providing child care and early childhood education since 1971. They offer full-time and part-time care options to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years, in two locations. 100% of their eligible programs are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and they hold a four star rating through the MN Parent Aware Ratings.

With nearly 20 years of experience, AuPairCare has successfully placed more than 30,000 au pairs with American families throughout the United States. An au pair is a young adult from another country who lives with your family and provides quality care for your children. Au pairs work up to 45 flexible hours per week in exchange for a weekly stipend and the opportunity to live with an American family. AuPairCare au pairs speak English and have been screened and trained by AuPairCare.


Since 1989, Cultural Care Au Pair has helped American families host international au pairs who provide 45 hours per week of flexible, affordable childcare. Cultural Care Au Pair has placed over 95,000 au pairs in welcoming American homes. Our au pairs are CPR/AED and First Aid certified and complete a driver’s safety course delivered by the American Red Cross prior to their arrival. Questions?.

Through the Au Pair Foundation participants and host families take part in a mutually rewarding, intercultural opportunity. Participants can continue their education while experiencing life with an American family, and hosts receive reliable and responsible childcare from individuals who become part of the family. Questions?

If you are looking for a babysitter (either long-term or one-time), consider contacting the Child Development teachers at RCTC. They may be able to help you post a babysitting job that will be viewed by all of the Child Development students at RCTC. Reach them at 280-3148.

Parent Aware – help finding a preschool/daycare
Looking for some help navigating all of the child care information out there? Parent Aware provides information on local daycare (in-home, centers, home-based) and preschool options (including Head Start and School Readiness). Phone: 888-625-6966. Basic referral services are provided at no cost regardless of income level.

Families First of Minnesota- emergency child care 
At one time or another, most families experience stress that can feel overwhelming… financial difficulties, serious illness, strained relationships, divorce, or loss of a loved one. During such times, providing children with the care and attention they need may be difficult. Most families who use Crisis Nursery services are ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. In times of stress, most turn to family, friends, or co-workers to help us through troubled waters. But, for many – single parents, isolated families, families new to the area, and people without resources — there is no safe haven. Crisis Nursery service is a family support program that provides temporary, short-term care for children, while families address the crisis situation. Care may be arranged for daytime hours or for overnight care.

Rochester Public School’s Early Childhood Special Education program provides 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.

Olmsted County Public Health nurses, through the Children w/ Special Health Care Needs program, provide parenting and child health information to families with a child birth to age 5 who has a known or suspected handicapping condition or chronic illness. They work closely with the Children with Developmental Disabilities programs through Community Services to coordinate services.

Olmsted County’s Child Personal Care Assessments program provides assistance to families with disabled children and children with special health care needs requiring assistance and currently enrolled in Medical Assistance. The program provides help and assistance with activities of daily living: feeding, dressing/undressing, personal hygiene and grooming.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION/PAIIR – parent/child and child-only classes
Community Education Preschool provides a safe and nurturing environment with stimulating and challenging activity choices that promote physical, social, emotional, and cognitive learning. Community Ed Preschool classes are (typically) for children age 9 mths-6 yrs. Some are parent/child classes, some are child-only. There are a wide variety of classes, including: swim, dance, arts and crafts, science and nature, and sports.

Please note that the flip side of the Community Ed Preschool registration booklet is the PAIIR registration booklet.


Looking for a parent/child class? Check out PAIIR (Parents Are Important In Rochester). Rochester School District’s Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program, PAIIR is a public school program available to all Minnesota families (it is not an income-based program) with children from birth to kindergarten enrollment. The PAIIR registration booklet is mailed out three times a year. Classes typically run September – December and January – April, and an abbreviated summer schedule in May and June. The parent/child classes are typically offered Monday – Saturday with morning, afternoon, evening, and online choices. These fun parent/child classes (including PAIIR Readiness Preschool – see listing below in PRESCHOOL), are taught by licensed parent educators and early childhood teachers who work directly with parents and their young children. A sliding fee scale and financial assistance available. No family is turned away due to inability to pay.

Please note that the flip side of the PAIIR registration booklet is the Community Education Preschool registration booklet.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides one book each month to children in Olmsted County from birth to age 5 whose parents register to receive them. All children in Olmsted County are eligible to participate in the program. These sturdy, colorful, age-appropriate books are delivered directly to the child. Each book is selected for the developmental benefits it brings – and for the fun. There is no cost to the family.

The Reading Center’s BEFORE (Becoming a Family of Readers) Program assesses children ages 4 to 6 for potential reading concerns. Ask them about the possibility of a free assessment through the Rochester Scottish Rite Children’s Foundation and Southern Minnesota Initiatives Foundation grant.

Olmsted County Public Health Services provides a number of services including immunizations, child and teen checkup clinics, the WIC Program, Follow Along Program, pregnancy and parenting home visits, and services to children with special needs.

Olmsted County’s Follow Along Program is offered to families with children ages birth to 36 months. Staff visit with families and provide information related to the child’s health and development: growing, playing, talking, moving, and behavior. Concerns will be addressed by a nurse or other professional from the program. Together, you can talk about choices for further evaluation or early help services. After your child is 36 months old, you will get information about the next step, Early Childhood Screening. There is no cost to participate in the Follow Along Program.

The United Way of Olmsted County’s Volunteer Center provides easy access to a wide range of volunteer opportunities at nonprofit agencies and local government and educational agencies. Their searchable online database features hundreds of local volunteer opportunities. Families can search for volunteer opportunities by agency name, group size, issue area, zip code, ongoing or one-time opportunities, or holiday opportunities. Families can also search for volunteer opportunities based on the age of their younger family members.

Check out our Parent Groups webpage page for information on local support groups that provide support to parents of all ages and stages: single parents, parents of children with disabilities, parents of children with medical conditions, parents of preschoolers, parents of tweens and teenagers, parents of multiples, parents who are new to town, parents who are new to parenting, grandparents who are parenting, parents who are looking to get physically fit, and more.

Are you new to the Rochester area? Rochester Greeters wants to assist you in settling into your new location. They have a welcome bag that is full of helpful information that will give you an excellent start in finding your way around the Rochester area! The welcome bag includes: county and city maps, civic information, and lists of clubs and organizations. The welcome bag also includes products, coupons, and gift certificates from local businesses.

Would you like to make sure that your child’s carseat/booster seat is installed correctly? That it’s a good fit for your child/car? Then give a call to Adamson Motors Fit for a Kid program (695-3621) or Mayo Clinic Child Passenger Safety Program (255-6254). Both offer free car safety seat inspections. Olmsted County also provides car seats and and car seat education to income eligible families. Call 328-9654 to find out more.

Is your little one a preschooler (ages 3-5)? Then it’s time for their Early Childhood Check-In/Screening — the State of Minnesota requires all children to complete a screening before entering a public kindergarten program. The free screening of your child’s growth and development is provided by the Rochester School District. The best time to schedule your child’s check-in is when he or she turns 3 years old. The tasks you child will be asked to complete are age appropriate — just as your child grows and changes with age, so will the tasks he or she will complete at check-in. The check-In will not be easier because your child is older. Early Childhood Check-In gives parents an opportunity to see how their child is developing and connects families with community resources and services. To schedule a screening call 328-4004.

So you’re baby isn’t such a little baby any more. And maybe you’re starting to think about preschools. But where to start? First, contact Families First of Minnesota for a personalized list of preschools and/or centers that meet your family’s preferences or locations needs. You will get their name, address, phone numbers, hours of operation, ages served and other interesting information about each one. Second, ask your friends, family, neighbors where their kids went to preschool and what they liked about the school. Third, make a phone call to the preschools you are interested in. During that phone call you can arrange for a tour, find out the date they will begin to accept registrations (this is important to know as some preschools fill fast), and ask any questions you may have (i.e. potty training/diaper policies, class hours/days, ratio of teachers to kids, staff qualifications, school rules/philosophies, school/teacher accreditations). Many preschools hold their registrations soon after the first of the calendar year and many preschools fill up fast. (Most preschools do offer waiting lists – so if you’re getting a late start on the process don’t stress. Make the phone calls and start the process.) Fourth, if you think you cannot afford preschool, call Families First of Minnesota at 287-2020 and see what options (including School Readiness and Head Start) may be available.

Enrichment Endeavors Preschool Academy is a preschool for budding scholars who will become readers, writers, and creative problem solvers while in our environment. Organic learning is fostered daily to build an appetite for research, reading and writing about zoology, ecology, entomology and the STEM fields to offer higher level questioning, inquiry and creative solutions through hands-on experiments and project-based learning. 2-hour, 3-hour, half-day and full-day options available.

Head Start and the School Readiness programs offer full or partial preschool scholarships for income-eligible children (income guidelines are determined by the Department of Health and Human Services). Transportation to and from school may also be available. Applications are available online and are accepted all year. If you think you cannot afford preschool, contact Head Start and School Readiness.

Listos Preschool and Childcare is a nonprofit, dual-immersion, Spanish-English program open to all children ages 33 months to 5 years. Opening in September 2015, offering half-day and full-day preschool 4 days a week and full-time childcare 5 days a week.

PAIIR PReP Preschool features research based, age appropriate, high quality Early Childhood Education curricula, taught by Early Childhood educators who are licensed by the State of MN. (Just like K-12 public school teachers.) Each week, parents or guardians attend class with their child on the parent day. Parent days begin with a fun parent/child activity time, followed by a separate parent discussion led by a parent educator. The remaining class days each week are child only. PReP offers 2, 3 and 4 day per week options for 3, 4 and 5 year olds.


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