How Early Should My Toddler Start School?


This post is sponsored by Léman Manhattan Preparatory School.

Big City Moms sat down with Head of Admissions Paige Murphy to discuss early childhood education and navigating the NYC preschool admissions process. Here’s her expert advice for parents:


Big City Moms: What is your position and how long have you been working in children’s education?

Léman: I’m Head of Admissions at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, one of the only independent schools in New York City that serves children from their toddler years starting at 16 months to 12th grade. Léman is located in the heart of history and Manhattan’s fastest-growing residential neighborhood, the Financial District. I have more than 15 years experience working in education. I’m a mom to two boys ages 5 and 2.


Big City Moms: At what age should parents consider sending their child to school?

Léman: It’s helpful for toddlers nearing 18-24 months to have exposure to the routines of school in an age-appropriate program for a few hours a day a few times a week. A positive, nurturing first school experience builds invaluable skills during the most influential time in a child’s development. At Léman, our Explorers Program builds the foundation for academic and social/emotional success through play for children ages 16 months to 3 years.



Big City Moms: What do you tell parents that are reluctant to send their child to school at such a young age?

Léman: We get it! This is your baby, and parents want to ensure their child will be loved, nurtured and taken care of in a school setting. When you visit a school, you should feel the same warmth you give your child at home. Toddler programs are a wonderful way to help young children build social connections, take risks, manage their emotions, convey their feelings with words, and set a successful foundation for full-time preschool and beyond. Joining a school community while your children are young also gives you as parents a strong network of experienced educators and other families to help you navigate the many joys – and frustrations! – of raising young children.


Big City Moms: Tell us a little about Léman’s new offering – Léman Explorers Toddler Program.

Léman: Léman Explorers is the ideal first school experience. We are bringing our longstanding Early Childhood program to children 16 months to 3 years to provide toddlers with opportunities to build confidence and independence and learn the routines of preschool. The program was developed by our expert team of early childhood faculty and fosters strong communication and partnership with parents. Morning classes are held 2-3 times a week in our newly renovated Early Childhood Center.



Big City Moms: What separates Léman’s Early Childhood program from other programs?

Léman: Expert instruction in the classroom and teachers who truly love what they do; an incredibly warm and welcoming parent community; and the full resources of an ongoing school that goes through 12th grade to support your child’s academic success.


Big City Moms: How can parents learn more about Léman’s new Explorers Toddler Program?

Léman: Registration just opened for the Fall/Winter semester of Léman Explorers and there are limited spots available. Email or visit


Big City Moms: Thank you, Paige!