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Salem State Preschool Overview

The Preschool Program is licensed for children 2.9 years to 5 years of age.

The Preschool operates September through June following a modified public school calendar. The hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.

A Summer Nature Program is available for July and August, Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 1 pm.

Early drop-off is available at 7:30 am and late pick up is available to 5 pm. Access to early drop off and late pick up are determined at registration and are subject to change.

Children are required to attend a minimum of two full days.

Children of full-time Salem State students receive first priority. Faculty, staff and community children are accepted on a space available basis.



Registration is held annually in March by appointment only and includes a brief interview with the director/teacher. Prior to this meeting, please download and complete the Salem State Preschool Enrollment Packet.

During this meeting, parents learn about Preschool policies and curriculum, referral policy, parent conferences and procedures, visits and input, children's records and emergency and health care policy.

To schedule a visit and to register, contact the preschool office at 978.542.7653.

Please note, all preschool children are required to:

  • Have valid health insurance
  • Visit the preschool with their parents before the first day. (The best time is a half hour before registration or on your tour.)

A $50 non-refundable annual registration fee is required at registration.

Schedule and Tuition

The Preschool is open 8am-4pm. Regular pickup is between 2 and 4 pm. Extended hours are available from 7:30 am until 5 pm.

The Preschool is open September-June with nine monthly payments and a one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $50.


Parents are required to provide a snack and lunch. Water and milk are served with both. Filled/labeled water bottles are highly recommended for outdoor play.

Five days per week is an additional $140/month


Three days per week (M/W/F) is an additional $90/month


Two days per week (T/TH) is an additional $60/month

Five days per week is an additional $240/month


Three days per week (M/W/F) is an additional $150/month


Two days per week (T/TH) is an additional $100/month

A $50 non-refundable registration fee is due at the registration appointment.


The first payment is due August 1. Payment must be received by this date to secure your slot. Mail the first payment to:

Salem State University
Preschool Office
352 Lafayette Street
Salem, MA 01970


Remaining payments:

  • 2nd payment due October 1
  • 3rd payment due November 1
  • 4th payment due December 1
  • 5th payment due January 1
  • 6th payment due February 1
  • 7th payment due March 1
  • 8th payment due April 1
  • 9th payment due May 1

The summer program payment is due in full on June 1.

Summer Nature Program

Registration is by appointment only, held annually in March. Please call the preschool at 978.542.6408 to arrange a time.

The Summer Nature Program is for ages 2.9 years to 5 years old. We offer one five-week session available in five-, three- or two-day schedules. Hours are 8 am-1 pm.

Our Summer Nature Program is licensed, accredited and professionally staffed with a lead teacher and three teacher assistants. The class size is 15 children.

Join us for a creative educational program using principles from the Reggio Approach that will delight and inspire. We’ll explore the Forest River Conservation area by taking daily nature walks on the trails through the woodlands in search of wildflowers, birds, insects and trees of this diverse area. A nature project is explored daily and other activities include both indoor and outdoor experiences that integrate areas such as art, music, science, social studies, and language activities with special classroom guests. Past projects include the study of birds, insects, ocean life, and research of the nearby Forest River Conservation Area.

8-10 am: Discovery activities (Indoor and Outdoor)
10-11 am: Circle time, stories, music and snack
11 am-noon: Nature walk
Noon-1 pm: Lunch/yoga/relaxation and outdoor playground activities

The preschool is located in an air conditioned cottage overlooking the Forest River Conservation area with an outdoor playground. On rainy days we have access to a beautiful gym just a short walk from the preschool on South Campus. The school is located on the top of the hill of the Upper South Campus at 262 Loring Ave., Route 1A. The facility can be easily reached by car or public transportation. Visitor parking is available in front of the Alumni House in the lot on the right-hand side.

Cost for the full, five-week program:

Five days a week, Monday-Friday, is a total of $1050.

Three days per week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, is a total of $630.

Two days per week, Tuesday and Thursday, is a total of $420.

Preschool Foundations

The Preschool Program is grounded in the Reggio Approach, which aims to enhance thinking through expressive, communicative and cognitive languages.

With the Reggio Approach, our students are encouraged to explore and discover the world around them. Our teachers, in turn, act as guides, resources, problem-posers, and partners in learning. Open-ended discussions and group projects bring together language activities, science, social studies, dramatic play, and artistic expression. This approach is designed to assist the child in seeing the interrelationships of concepts and ideas.


The Reggio Approach

The Image of the Child
Has Potential
Desire to Grow
Ability to be Amazed
Desire to Relate to Others and to Communicate

The mission of the Salem State Preschool Program is to provide a model program that is responsive to the changing needs of the children, parents, faculty, staff and community

  • For the children, we strive to maintain a safe, healthy and nurturing environment where the developmental needs of the children are met.
  • For the parents, we strive to keep the program affordable and available. Salem State students get first priority in enrollment. It is our goal to serve as a resource for support and education.
  • For staff, we strive to provide an atmosphere that will attract and retain well-trained personnel by maintaining good working conditions. We encourage a sense of cooperation and open communication among members of the Preschool community. The program maintains high educational and training requirements for staff.
  • For Salem State, we strive to provide preschool services for students, faculty, staff, and the community. We aim to cooperate with various departments, as well as other area colleges and other preschool programs, by serving as a training site for a variety of disciplines that incorporate child development, care, education, health, and safety.

Our preschool curriculum includes math, science, language arts, social studies, health and safety, and character development. And, in order to tap into the needs of young children to express ideas and messages, we engage them in studio arts—working with clay and paint; music, movement and dance, and imaginative play.

Our curriculum is arranged to include group work and a Choice Board.

The Choice Board is designed to:

  • Give each child the opportunity to select activities independently
  • Guide social development
  • Allow teaching staff to gather information on student skills, interests and group dynamics

Thanks to our wonderful location we spend lots of time exploring the wildlife of the Forest River Conservation area. We walk the trails and woodlands in search of wildflowers, birds and trees of this diverse area. Our young explorers gain an appreciation of nature.

Our project work involves in-depth investigation of a topic posed by students, teachers or parents. The research is then carried out by individual students, small groups or entire classes. Projects can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. These extended time periods and the amount of investigation enable rich documentation of the children’s growth and development of skills.

The Preschool Program’s full-time staff consists of a director/teacher and teacher. Our part-time staff includes several teacher assistants.

As one of Salem State's laboratory schools, the preschool provides fieldwork, student teaching and observation opportunities for students. Guidelines for fieldwork and observation are provided.

Staff members participate in our orientation program at the beginning of each semester. The center closes during staff training days, which are approximately two days per academic year (usually held in October and February.)

The preschool is licensed through the state office of Early Education and Care and is in full compliance with staff regulations and certification requirements. Our teacher-to-child ratios are 1:6.

Office hours are Monday–Friday, 1–4 pm

Taylor Wholley Acting Director and Supervising Lead Teacher

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