Early Learning

We understand the importance of nurturing your child’s strengths and talents, while offering an increasingly challenging academic and supportive social emotional program that fits the unique needs of your child. Our goal is to prepare your young person for the next educational step.



Based in our main facility is a licensed childcare center that provides services to both families residing in Florence Crittenton’s residential programs and the Helena community. Our childcare center offers the highest level of nurturing care for infants and toddlers aged 0-2. The team of early childhood experts at our childcare center provide a developmentally appropriate and rich environment to stimulate and nurture growth and development across all areas.

The Child Enrichment Center and the childcare provided here is a part of the STARS to Quality program- a continuous quality improvement program for early childhood education in Montana.

New photos of our facility coming soon!


Florence Crittenton’s Preschool is a licensed all inclusive preschool program that serves children ages 2 through the summer of a child’s 4th birthday year. Our preschool program offers children and families a playful, interesting, and rewarding first school experience. Enrollment into the preschool is open to all families in the Helena community.

Children learn best in a preschool setting that includes children of all abilities and backgrounds. We believe that even with deciding on preschool, it is never too soon to begin receiving the highest quality educational opportunities.

New photos of our facility coming soon!


  • Full time 7.30am – 5.30pm Monday – Thursday.  7.30am – noon Fridays
  • Limited half day slots available 7.30am – noon Monday through Friday

Why are we focusing on 2 to 4 yo care?

    • Set children on a healthy and positive trajectory for the next educational step in their development.
    • We are striving to meet the need for high quality childcare for this age group in our community.
    • We know 2 to 4 yo need a stimulating, playful and rich preschool environment that sets them up for success in the early years and the years that follow.

Beliefs and Program Philosophy

  • We believe that children learn and begin to understand core concepts of literacy, math, science, social studies, and the arts best through active engagement, exploration, discovery, creation and of course, play! We have a strong focus on developing social emotional skills and supporting children with their emotions and healthy communication with peers and adults.
  • We believe that the early years of education are fundamental for instilling social and individual characters that make the world a better place. Our everyday environment is focused on modeling and reinforcing, self-esteem, friendship, empathy, honesty, cooperation, strength, and emotional health.
  • We believe that children learn best when the curriculum fits the needs and strengths of the child. Learning activities and expectations are matched with the children’s chronological and developmental age, their abilities, and interests.
  • We believe that children will become lifelong learners when they are curious and are having fun! Our staff understand the importance of maintaining a classroom environment that teaches children a simple, yet important lesson: Learning is interesting and rewarding!

Teachers focus on four areas of development and this is embedded into daily activities and routines, using direct instruction, and during teacher led and student led activities

  1. Physical
  2. Thinking (Cognitive)
  3. Social and Emotional
  4. Language

Other key points:

  • Various evidence based curriculum materials are used and are mapped to the Montana Early Learning Standards (MELS)
  • Teachers track child progress through developmental and social emotional and assessment, literacy screenings, data tracking using the ONTrack data collection system, portfolio development, anecdotal notes and records
  • Screenings in speech and language are given when necessary, individual and group speech language sessions available for all children  2 x per week
  • Students’ experience in our program is individualized. It must remain fluid and responsive to the child to ensure success. Not all curriculum activities and materials will work for every child. We are attuned and responsive to each child’s needs, strengths and areas of interest. The range of development and the sheer scope of learning that takes place during the first 3 years ensure that the pace of change will be rapid. We plan and implement a responsive curriculum that is adaptable as your child masters skills, encounters new tasks, practices, practices, practices, and emerges from one stage to another.
  • Praise, encouragement and meaningful support and feedback is key to student success. When children are motivated, engaged and happy – they learn and have fun!
  • Building healthy strong relationships with peers and teachers in the classroom is an important first lesson on what it means to be a good friend and a kind person.
  • Teachers are highly skilled and qualified with over 60 years of combined experience
  • Low ratios and lots of adult attention ensure children receive support while also allowing them to freely explore and learn independently at a comfortable pace
  • Young children learn by exploring the world around them. Our center’s childcare environment is a critical aspect of our curriculum. Our classroom environment:
    •  Ensures safety
    •  Promotes health
    •  Provides comfort
    •  Maximizes flexibility
    •  Encourages movement
    •  Allows for choice

If you have any questions about childcare at Florence Crittenton’s Child Enrichment Center or Preschool, would like to set up a tour or discuss the enrollment process, please feel free to contact Sarah Mitchell, our Early Childhood Programs Manager at 406 996 1111 or email at [email protected].

For tuition rates please call our center.  Scholarships are available.

Florence Crittenton’s Community Preschool is located in our fabulous new facility at 3404 Cooney Drive Helena, MT 59602. 

Receive quarterly updates and learn all about the lives changed by Florence Crittenton in Helena, Montana