Napa Moms Preschool & Kindergarten Expo



We know Moms & Dads are BUSY! We also know that questions like…"Is my child ready for Preschool? How do I choose a Kindergarten? What philosophy works for my family?"…can make the decision seem OVERWHELMING!

As a trusted resource to Napa Valley families, NAPA MOMS is here to help. We host the Annual Preschool & Kindergarten Expo every year to make sure parents have the opportunity to get their questions answered. 

The Napa Moms Expo is FREE and open to the public, but you must register to reserve your place!


Contrary to what you might have heard, choosing the right school for your child is not as difficult as applying for an advanced degree.

The key to choosing the right school is going into the process prepared. Prepared? Yes, prepared with a solid idea of what you want your child to gain from his or her school experience. The Napa Moms Expo is your opportunity to research the options.

See below for some helpful suggestions for choosing a school that is a good match for your child and your family, as well as information on some of the most popular types of school educational philosophies.

This one-of-a-kind event is where you will meet directors, teachers and administrators from Preschools & Kindergartens (public and private) all in one day.

We also invite local businesses and service organizations that are focused on families in Napa Valley – dance and music classes, childcare, college planning, health & wellness, and much more.


Alta Heights Elementary School
A Place of My Own
Bel Aire Elementary School
Blue Oak School
Bricks of Napa
Browns Valley Preschool
Camp Ursa Major
Circle of Learning, Inc.
Community Resources for Children
Connolly Ranch
Coombs & Dunlap Law Firm
Cope Family Center
Discoveryland Children’s Center – St. Helena
Eye Spy Vision Care
First 5 Napa County – Talk Read Sing
First Christian School
Footsteps 2 Brilliance – Napa County Office of Education
Gymnastics Zone
Hopper Creek Montessori School
Kolbe Academy & Trinity Prep
In Harmony Music
Le Petit Elephant Nursery & Preschool
Little Ladies Tea Parties
Little Oak Nursery School
Little Rascals Preschool
Lori Paladino Photography
Luxmore Real Estate
Makai Swim School
Mini Music
Mt. George International Elementary School
My Bubs Books (Usborne)
Napa Fit Body Bootcamp
Napa Junction Elementary School
Napa Learns
Napa Parks & Recreation
Napa Pediatric Dentistry
Napa Valley College Child Development Center
Napa Valley Kid
Napa Valley Nursery School
Napa Valley Speech Therapy, Inc.
Napa Valley Unified School District
Nature’s Way Montessori
Presbyterian Day School
The Presentation School
Pueblo Vista Elementary School
Salvador/El Centro Elementary School
Sidekicks Martial Arts
Solano Dermatology Associates
St. Apollinaris Catholic School
St. John’s Lutheran School
St. Helena Cooperative Nursery School
St. John the Baptist Catholic School
Starlight Montessori Preschool
Sunrise Montessori Preschool
Sun and Stars Montessori School
Wine Country Day Preschool
Young World of Learning
Yountville Elementary

At the Expo, each school will have a station to interact with prospective families and provide information. Participants should plan to have 2 representatives at the Expo to greet parents/caregivers and answer questions, along with any written information, brochures, enrollment forms that pertain to your program. Please have enough material for at least 200 families. We will be providing tables and chairs.


How do I choose a School?


The best way to keep from becoming overwhelmed by the process of choosing a school is to think about how the school will fit into your daily life. Here are some questions parents should consider:

  • Is it important for the school to be near my home?
  • Is it important for the school to be near my workplace?
  • Is it important for the school to offer childcare services in the morning, afternoon, or both?
  • Am I eligible for or interested in subsidized school programs (i.e. Head Start or county/state-funded programming) that offer services such as childcare programs with a focus on providing educational opportunities?

Answering each of these questions will help you narrow down the general location and type of setting you should research. Narrowing down your choices will make the process of comparing settings easier to manage.


For many parents, the most confusing part about choosing schools is trying to make sense of terms such as, "Montessori Approach," "child-centered," "Waldorf Approach" and "faith-based." What do these terms mean and how can these terms help you choose a school? Oftentimes, the key difference between settings is connected to the school's "educational philosophy." While educational philosophies are numerous and their definitions are not set in stone, we have provided you with definitions for some of the most popular philosophies.

  • The Montessori Method:
    Focuses on maintaining the individuality of each child in the learning process. This method believes each child learns at their own pace and educational progress should not be rendered based upon comparing students to one another.
  • The Reggio Emilia Approach:
    This approach focuses on providing opportunities for problem solving through creative thinking and exploration.
  • The Waldorf Approach:
    This approach places an emphasis on imagination in learning, providing students with opportunities to explore their world through the senses, participation and analytical thought.
  • The Bank Street Approach:
    This approach places an emphasis on learning through multiple perspectives, both in the classroom setting and in the natural world. 

Outside of the formal educational philosophies, knowing the difference between other common early childhood terms will help you make informed decisions regarding your child's education. Below is a list of some common terms used to describe school settings. It should be noted that these terms may be used alone or in combination with one another (i.e. a "child-centered, faith-based" setting).

  • Child-centered:
    This term is often used to describe settings that take the children's interests into consideration when planning activities. For example: in a child-centered setting, the classroom activities are based on the interests of the students, not on pre-scheduled topics chosen by the teacher. These settings often offer increased opportunities for children to choose activities throughout the day depending on their interests.
  • Teacher-led:
    The opposite of a child-centered setting is a teacher-led setting. Teacher-led often means that curriculum and supplemental activities are implemented based on a set schedule developed by the teachers in the setting. This type of setting usually provides children with a structured learning environment.
  • Child-led:
    These settings believe children learn best when they are engaged and interested in learning. Child-led settings wait for each child to initiate or ask for new activities and experiences, fostering individualized learning experiences rather than group experiences.
  • Faith-based:
    This term is used to describe school programs that are run through faith organizations such as churches or synagogues, according to their faith's philosophies.
  • Co-operative:
    These settings often ask parents and families to assist in the running of the school. Parents and family members may build community by signing up to volunteer during the week, or by assisting in the day-to-day management of the school as well as helping with advertising, upkeep and fundraising.
  • Developmentally Appropriate:
    This term means the school plans the curriculum and activities based on activities that are appropriate for the age of the children in the class.
  • Pre-kindergarten (pre-K):
    Sometimes this term is used interchangeably with school. In general, a pre-K program is one that has children enrolled in the year before kindergarten, usually at age four. These settings are often more structured than traditional school settings.


Once you have identified the general area you are interested in researching and have a good idea of what type of philosophy would best suit your child, here are a few things you can do to help narrow down your options:

  • Reach out to other parents: Ask your friends, your neighbors, your pediatrician, your older child's teacher - ask people you trust for recommendations for quality settings in your area. Be mindful to note the name of the setting and what struck this person as important to mention (low student teacher ratio, close to home, child is excited to arrive, etc.). And, the best question to ask is, "What advice do you wish you had received before choosing your child's school?" Most parents will be happy to offer their insight and advice.


Now that you have narrowed down your choices and come up with two or three settings you are interested in, schedule a time to visit each setting. You can learn a lot about a setting by the way staff approach introductory visits with you and your child. During your visit ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I feel welcome here?
  • Does my child seem interested in what they have to offer?
  • Do the children in the setting seem happy?
  • How do the adults and children interact?
  • Is the setting clean and safe?

You should also come to the visit prepared with questions. Some of the basic questions parents ask are:

  • What is the turnover rate for staff members?
  • What percentage of the staff holds degrees in early childhood?
  • How does the program handle discipline?
  • What are the safety procedures for picking up and dropping off children?
  • Is the program accredited?
  • What are the payment options and procedures?