Tips for using the site
When you land on the site, you have a few options: search for programs, view programs' profiles, use our resource materials to learn more about early childhood education, check out what's new, or learn more about GreatPhillySchools.
Search for Programs
The GreatPhillySchools Early Childhood resource allows you to search by many factors. There are lots of valid ways to search, but remember: the more factors you select, the narrower your results will be.
Tip: Start with one factor, then used the Advanced Search bar to narrow your search based on quality, services, or types of programs. For instance, you might use your address to find centers nearby, then select only "Keystone STAR 4" centers to determine the highest quality programs nearby.
By program name: If you know the name of the program, begin typing it in the "Search by program name" box. As you type, you'll see a list of exact matches populate. If you see the program, you can click or continue typing. Even if you don't see an exact match, you can still hit "search" and you'll see programs that are "close matches". Don't see the center you're looking for? Learn more about which programs are included in our database.
By address, zip code, distance, or neighborhood: If you want to browse by location, you can do so in many ways. Input your address or zip code and choose a maximum distance, then click "Search" to see all programs within that radius. You can also select from our list of neighborhoods.
By Keystone STARs: The Keystone STAR rating system represents a participating center's quality. Not all centers participate in this system, but many do-- and these rankings are useful when choosing a center. A STAR 4 center meets stricter requirements than a STAR 3, but both are considered high quality. STAR 1 and STAR 2 centers are not included in the GreatPhillySchools resource. Learn more about Keystone STARs here and which centers we include here.
More options are available in the Advanced Search, which you can navigate to by clicking "More Search Options."
By type: If you're looking for a specific type of program, you can select it here. Check as many boxes as you want. Head Start, Pre-K Counts, Bright Futures and PHLpreK are all programs open to income eligible families. Accredited programs meet a number of additional quality expectations beyond licensure and may or may not accept subsidy. Learn more about types of early childhood programs here.
By services: If you're looking for a center that provides diapers (sometimes at an additional fee) or meals, you can select that here. Some centers also offer before and/or after care. Click on a center's profile for more details on times and/or fees. Remember, providers may change their services based on demand, so it's always good to call the center and verify the center's details.
By support: If you're looking for a center accepting subsidy, check here. You can also search for centers with multilingual staff. Once you click a center's profile, you can see which languages are spoken there.
Once you have selected your search criteria, hit "Search" and you'll see a list of programs meeting those requirements below.
Each program has some short facts (including the address, name, and phone number) and a list of icons. These icons represent some key features and gives you a quick glimpse of the center. Click on a profile or scroll down to select another page until you find a program that meets your requirements.
A center's profile contains lots of information. Note, providers supply about 75% of the profile's information, so if you see a lot of information missing, we highly recommend urging the provider to submit data updates.
Basics: In the top left, you'll find information like location, administrator, phone, website (if available), SEPTA routes, and hours. There's also a map to the right which shows the center's location.
Services & Supports: If providers accept subsidy, offer meals, or provide diapers, you'll find that listed here. Tip: a provider may charge an additional fee for meals or diapers. Call the center to find out more details.
Summary: This section is written by providers and includes details about the center in the provider's own words. This includes details about the center's safety measures, cost, admissions policy and required documents, mission statement, and a number of "points of pride."
Space available: Here you'll find the number of seats available and length of the wait list. Pay attention to the "Last Updated" date, as this information changes frequently. Tip: if it has been more than a month, we highly recommend calling the center.
Program Types: Centers often offer multiple types of programs within their building, which can be really convenient for families with children of different ages. Learn more about types of early childhood programs here.
Selecting an early childhood program is difficult. To help, we've worked with a number of partners to provide answers to some of the most common questions. You'll also find tips on child development, financial aid, and a glossary with commonly used terms.
Take a look at our Table of Contents to get started.
As you read one of these resources, you'll find additional links to helpful information. You'll also see featured posts throughout the site.
If you still don't find what you're looking for, let us know. We're always looking for more suggestions on what to include. You can also sign up to receive email updates when new resources and announcements are made. This is a free service, designed to keep parents and providers updated.
We will always try to keep you connected to new information. In addition to our free monthly email newsletter, you can find new information on the front page and in our social media.
On the front page, important information is highlighted with images on a moving carousel. There is also a "What's New" section on the right sidebar which lists the newest resources that have been added. Keep an eye on these as we're always making additions!
We use social media too. Specifically, we use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Just like you update your friends when important things happen, we use these platforms to share great opportunities, important news, and to speak directly with parents. You can see our Twitter feed on the homepage, but add us if you'd like the news delivered directly to you!
Trust is everything. If you'd like to learn more about us, scroll down to find the "About Us" page in our footer. Here, you'll also find our Terms & Conditions, a contact form if you have questions or suggestions, a list of our partners, and a direct link to our resources.
Looking for K-12 resources? Click here.