Early Education and Care

Somerville has an array of options via our mixed-delivery system for accessing high quality early education through Somerville Public Schools and through private partners. SPS programs are mostly free and tuition assistance options are available for private programs.

Department Overview

The Somerville Public Schools Department of Early Education and Care is committed to connecting all Somerville children to high-quality early education and care. We use an anti-bias approach to our policies and curriculum; our goal is to make sure all our children and families are valued and that resources are distributed equitably. SPS runs several free, public preschool programs, which you can read about below. We also provide quality early education through community partners in a model called a mixed delivery system. The community programs can be found on our Somerville Partnership for Young Children (SPYC) website. Tuition assistance is available for families, making fee-based care options in our community attainable.

Director of Early Education and Care Kathleen Bailer

Early Education Curriculum 

Learn more about the Early Education Curriculum on the Somerville Early Education website. Find out how students learn math, literacy, science and engineering, social emotional learning, art, music, and physical education through our innovative curriculum.

Read our Ready to Learn, Ready for K: Somerville's Early Education and Care Plan

Research Study about Family Early Education Decision-making

Understanding the complexities of how families make choices about and access early education and care settings can be elusive. Knowledge about early education and child care choices can inform a community's ability to adequately provide resources and meet the needs of families so that children enter kindergarten with prior learning experiences in group settings. Somerville Early Education Department conducted a study from June 2020 through September 2021 with funding support from the Education Research Service Projects Program of the American Educational Research Association. This research study shed light on the reasons why families made the choices they did and what the barriers and ease of access points were for them. Because the study sample included a representation of racial, language, and economic characteristics, the study paints a picture of the climate of early education and child care choice across the city.

Findings: The study found that the most common factors that influence family decisions about the types of early education and care they chose were:

Opportunities for social interactions for their child (71%), 
That the location was close to home (67%), 
Cost (63%)

The study revealed the complexities of families’ early education and childcare arrangements prompting us to think about how to streamline choice making and options so that families do not have to piece together the patchwork quilt of care. In addition to addressing the specific examples to increase access to information provided by Somerville residents in the study, the First Five Somerville Steering Committee recently hosted a virtual workshop for all Somerville families with young children on choosing child care in the city. View the Workshop Slides.

SPS Afterschool Program

Afterschool programming is available for all children enrolled in Somerville Public Schools, including children enrolled in our Head Start classrooms, located within our public schools through Somerville Community Schools. To find out more, please visit the Somerville Community Schools afterschool page. This is a fee-based program and scholarships are available. Community Schools offers the following for preschool learners:

  • Care until 5:30 p.m.
  • Small groups
  • Early childhood focus
  • Snack
  • Play
  • Projects