Old South Preschool

Established 1942


Old South Preschool is our weekday, non-religious early education program that serves approximately 50 children, ages 2-5. Families and program staff create a vibrant, interconnected community that holds the development of a child’s wholeness as its focus. Conveniently located at Boston's Copley Square crossroads, it is easily accessible to families who live as near as the surrounding neighborhoods and as far as the suburbs of Greater Boston. Seven committed and professionally educated teachers under the direction of Carolyn Davis, Preschool Director, guide the program through a school year calendar.

Scheduling, Groupings, Environments

  • Flexible scheduling is the norm; school day attendance can be part-time or full-time; schedules are 3, 4, or 5 days, 9AM to 3PM, September to early June.
  • Groupings are according to age: Blue Room (ages 2-3), Green Room (ages 3-4), and Red Room (ages 4-5). The average child/teacher ratio is 6:1 or 7:1 for the 3-4 and 4-5 year old classes; the 2-3 year old class has a 3:1 ratio.
  • Environments: inside, using three classrooms; outside, using the neighboring environs.

Philosophy and Practice

The Preschool strives to enhance childhood, envisioning a world that enriches the lives of children. It embraces the course of action implied in two declarations: For personal success during childhood, what happens in the early years really matters! How it happens is critical to becoming an enthused, confident learner with a wholesome sense of self. Acknowledging the early years of childhood as learning-to-learn years, Old South commits to advancing learning and development with sound, respectful practices that support well-rounded growth in all developmental domains.

The school’s approach to learning and development uses active inquiry, theorizing, and reflection to build passion about learning and expand competency. It engages children and encourages them to make their own discoveries and test ideas that lead to meaningful outcomes. Curriculum development and implementation applies emergent curriculum principles, which focuses on children’s interests and teacher injections to generate content and steer the direction of experiences. In a positive atmosphere that supports all members of the group, strategies strengthen dispositions for learning and advance development in social-emotional, physical, and cognitive areas. Major goals are:

  • to facilitate building a wholesome concept of self as a unique and competent individual;
  • to promote experiences fundamental to strengthening cognition;
  • to foster gains in pro-social ability, self regulation, and positive approaches to learning;
  • to make allowances for the conflicts that accompany developmental stages.

Connections in the community of partners inform and make space for all voices in this pluralistic setting. Looking forward, our hopes are that the children will continue growing well as they strengthen their capabilities, and that those in contact with them will enhance and deepen their lives.

Routine and Experiences

The daily routine encourages free choice-making, child-initiated, child-directed involvement while working individually or in small and large groups, with teachers acting as partners, guides and advisors. Typically, a daily schedule includes engaging encounters inside or outside, snack, neighborhood excursions or playground activity, group times, lunch, rest, and at the end of the school day, slow-paced activities. With the Preschool’s location in Copley Square, children easily travel about the city, making visits to nearby Boston Public Library; utilizing playgrounds and parks near and far; taking neighborhood trips; and participating in programs at local facilities. The children’s outside engagement lets them claim the city as part of their environment and declare themselves as mindful, caring citizens who can contribute to society within the scope of their development.


Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis, with consideration given to balancing class groupings according to development and age. Enrollment is open to families without regard to religious or political beliefs, race, cultural heritage, ability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, gender identification, family structure or national origin.

Applications are received beginning the September prior to the year of expected entry. As part of the application process, parents must call the Director to schedule an in-person visit during the school day by both the parent(s) and child. Notification of available placement is offered in mid-March; a wait list is maintained thereafter.

Upon enrollment, orientation for children and parents requires attendance on a specific abbreviated schedule for at least three times, with parents remaining accessible. After the orientation period, parents are encouraged to visit and schedule participation in their child’s school day experiences. See Selected Resources and Reflections.

To schedule an appointment or speak with the Director, Carolyn Davis, call (617) 536-1970.  


Preschool in Action: The Fundamental Nature of the Program