Home » Guides » Childcare, Preschools, + VPK Providers

Childcare, Preschools, + VPK Providers

Lakeland Preschools & Daycare Guide (1)

Preschool, VPK + Daycares in Lakeland and Polk County

Are you searching for daycare or a preschool in Lakeland, Winter Haven, or Polk County? Below you’ll find a list of high-quality preschools and child care centers where your children can thrive. This list includes infant daycare centers, church daycare, Christian preschools, Montessori Preschools, head start preschools, VPK free preschool programs, and more. Look at the categories by each listing or click through to the descriptions to see what ages they cover.

For more information on Child Care Options including VPK, holiday camps, and articles explaining the different types of child care providers, visit our main Childcare Guide.

Helpful Articles: 

Useful Resources:

We recognize that finding a daycare with available space can be a daunting task. If after contacting the daycares on your list you are still having trouble finding an opening, visit the Lakeland Moms Group on Facebook and to ask your fellow moms if they know of a preschool or daycare with availability. Also, if you are pregnant and will need infant care, it is never too early to start looking for a daycare, many will put you on a waiting list based on your due date.

Our Preschool & Daycare Guide contains both sponsored and free listings. This is by no means a comprehensive list, there are almost 400 registered child care providers in Polk County. Visit myflfamilies.com for a full list.

Use the map at the bottom to find Childcare, Preschools, + VPK Providers Near You.

Bright Imaginations Learning Center
3915 Old Road 37, Lakeland, Florida 33813
6075 Florida Avenue South, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Brilliant Minds Early Learning Academy
5900 Sundance Boulevard East, Mulberry, Florida 33860
Country Lane Child Enrichment Center
105 W Daughtery Rd, Lakeland, Florida 33809
Covenant Child Development Center
210 Poppell Dr, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Cypress Junction Montessori Preschool & K-8 Charter School
201 Avenue B Southwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33880
Early Learning Coalition of Polk County

The Early Learning Coalition of Polk County is a not-for-profit agency focused on early education and care. The goal of the Coalition is to prepare all children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
The ELC administers the VPK program for Polk County, visit their website to apply for your VPK certificate and learn more about how to select a VPK provider.
The School Readiness Program is also available through various participating child care providers. Eligibility is based on total family income and parents must be working or going to school. The program serves children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Fees are assessed based on a sliding fee scale. Hours of child care are determined by each child care provider.

115 South Missouri Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Family Learning Center
1509 West Memorial Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33815
First Methodist School in Bartow (Age 2 - 8th grade)
455 S. Broadway Ave, Bartow, Florida 33830
First Steps Preschool (First United Methodist Church)
72 Lake Morton Dr, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Florida Southern College Early Learning Lab

The Florida Southern Early Learning Lab is open to children ages 3-5. Curriculum is child-centered, supporting the learning of each child’s individual needs in the areas of cognitive, social/emotional, linguistic, and physical development. Each classroom is designed to be an interactive learning lab with open-ended materials to explore and investigate. Now open year round.

111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Grace Lutheran School (Age 2 - 8th grade)
324 Bates Avenue Southeast, Winter Haven, Florida 33880
Hands & Hearts In Motion
3330 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Head of the Class Childcare Center

Welcome to Head of the Class Learning Center! We have served families in Lakeland for over 15 years and go above and beyond other preschools to ensure every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. Our private school (k-5) offers differentiated learning to effectively challenge each student, ensures a close relationship with students and families and prepares students for their future.

1836 Kathleen Road, Lakeland, Florida 33805
Head Start Preschool Program

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program centered on education, comprehensive health services, and parent leadership. Head Services are available from ages 3 – 5 when the child enters kindergarten.

Polk County Public Schools (PCPS) operates Head Start centers for low-income eligible families at schools throughout the county. The PCPS Head Start program locations for the school year are listed by area on their website. Student spaces per site are limited. Sites are subject to change every school year.

Kathleen Baptist Church Child Enrichment Center
3939 2nd Street Northwest, Lakeland, Florida 33810
Lake Wales Family YMCA

Our Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy, mind and body for all. Our facility features: Wellness Center, Weight Room, Sauna, 25-Meter Outdoor Heated Pool, Swim Lessons, Covered Outdoor Basketball Court, Group Exercise Studio, Group Cycle Room, Childcare for gym visits, Softball Field, Daycare Center (Before/After School, Preschool, VPK), and more.

1001 Burns Avenue, Lake Wales, Florida 33853
Lakeland Christian School (PreK4-12)
1111 Forest Park Street, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Lakeland Montessori Schools (Age 3 - 8th grade)
1124 North Lake Parker Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33805
800 East Palmetto Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Little Einstein Preschool
3034 Atlantic Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33803
1123-1165 1st Street South, Winter Haven, Florida 33880
Little Shepherds at First Presbyterian Church
175 Lake Hollingsworth Dr, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Little Sprouts Preschool
926 South Tennessee Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Magnolia Montessori Academy
815 South Central Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Montessori Preschool of Lakeland
334 Doris Dr, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Montessori School of Davenport
109 Ridge Center Drive, Davenport, Florida 33837
Oasis Christian Academy (PreK3-12th grade)
151 King Road Southwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33880
Parkway Christian Academy (VPK-12)
4210 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Polk County Catholic Schools (PreK - 12)

Polk County Catholic Schools has 4 preschools serving children entering Pre-K3, Pre-K4, and VPK. Neumann Early Learning Academy and Resurrection Catholic School are located in south Lakeland. St. Anthony Catholic School is located in north Lakeland and St. Joseph Catholic School in Winter Haven. For more information about our preschools, please visit us at www.polkcountycahtolicschools.com

3720 Old Road 37, Lakeland, Florida 33813
535 Avenue M Northwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
820 Marcum Road, Lakeland, Florida 33809
501 East Carter Road, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Precious Children in the Highlands Preschool at Presbyterian Church in the Highlands
1010 Lake Miriam Dr, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Publix Child Development Center
345 N Galloway Rd, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Resurrection Catholic School (PreK3-8)
3720 Old Highway 37, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Ridge Christian Academy (VPK-12)
41219 U.S. 27, Davenport, Florida 33837
Saint Anthony Catholic School (VPK-8)
930 Marcum Road, Lakeland, Florida 33809
Small Wonders Child Development Center at Highland Park Church
4777 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland, Florida 33813
St. Joseph Academy Lakeland (Closing Summer 2020)
310 Frank Lloyd Wright Way, Lakeland, Florida 33803
St. Joseph Catholic School (PreK3-8)
532 Avenue M Northwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
Victory Christian Academy (Age 2 - 12th grade)
1401 Griffin Rd, Lakeland, Florida 33810
Winter Haven Christian School (PreK-12)
1700 Buckeye Loop Road, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
Winter Haven Montessori
305 Avenue East Southwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33880
YMCA of West Central Florida

For over 50 years, the YMCA has been the only cause-driven wellness center in our area to offer programming for the whole family that focuses on the spirit, mind and body. Facilities include: a weight room, a gym for basketball and exercise classes, an indoor swimming pool, locker rooms, racquetball courts, a craft room, childcare facility, group exercise room, gymnastics center, and more. Programs include swim lessons, sports leagues for kids and adults, childcare, after school care, group fitness classes, and much more.

3620 Cleveland Heights Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33803
2125 Sleepy Hill Road, Lakeland, Florida 33810
All Saints Academy (Age 2 - 12th grade)

All Saints Academy is a vibrant and progressive independent Christian college preparatory day school serving students PreSchool 2 – Grade 12 and their families. ASA’s highly qualified faculty fosters self-discipline, sparks enthusiasm, and encourages the academic success and well being of each student. The faculty, administration, and support staff work together as a team to inspire independent thinkers, principled leaders, and humble learners.

At All Saints Academy, our #1 goal is to prepare your student to succeed in tomorrow’s world. We pursue that vision through rigorous college preparation in a Preschool – 12th environment. Exemplifying Judeo-Christian values within an Episcopal tradition, we welcome students of all racial, cultural, and religious backgrounds. ASA is conveniently located between Lakeland and Winter Haven.

What makes your school unique?
All Saints Academy has a 100% college acceptance rate. Community partnerships, numerous opportunities to present both within and outside the ASA community, and service work that take students out of their comfort zone, all help to develop leaders of high principles. Whether in the classroom, athletic field, or the arts, ASA students have the opportunity for leadership unique to a small school.

Grades Served:

  • Early Childhood Center for age 2 – PreK
  • Elementary for grades K – 5
  • Middle School for grades 6 – 8
  • Upper School for grades 9 – 12

School Hours / Schedule: All Sains Academy runs on a traditional school schedule with Summer Camp programs available in June and July.

Open Houses / Tours: Campus tours are available throughout the year. Your child is also welcome to spend a “Shadow Day” at ASA, through which he/she will be paired with a current student in his/her current grade to experience a full day inside All Saints. Contact the Admission Office with interest, questions, or to set up an on-campus experience.

Registration Dates / Details: ASA encourages all interested families to schedule a personal visit and tour or attend an Open House event. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Scholarships: All Saints Academy accepts the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, the Florida Empowerment Scholarship, the Hope Scholarship and the McKay Scholarship. Families can also apply for tuition assistance through All Saints Academy. The Merit Scholarship Competition is also available each January to students entering 6th and 9th grade in the fall.


  • Florida Council of Independent Schools
  • National Association of Independent Schools
  • Florida Kindergarten Council
  • National Association of Episcopal Schools
  • Florida High School Athletic Association
  • Educational Records Bureau
  • College Board
  • National Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Southern Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Secondary School Admission Test Board
  • Independent School Management

Read our Posts about All Saints Academy:

All Saints Academy Lakeland Winter Haven
5001 Florida 540, Winter Haven, Florida 33880
All Saints Academy Early Childhood Center (Age 2 - 12th grade)

The Louise Hizer Early Childhood Center at All Saints Academy includes three sections: PreSchool for 2- and 3-year-olds; and PreKindergarten for 4-year-olds. Classroom work extends to other parts of the campus and the community, including the Great Room, where imaginations flourish; the state-of-the-art playground, where lifelong friendships evolve; and the Outdoor Classroom, where nature speaks and young minds listen.

What makes your school unique?
Our PreSchool 2 and PreSchool 3 classes foster the development of a growth mindset as the children are introduced to a broad range of intellectual, physical, artistic, and social experiences to provide a solid foundation.  Goals include reading readiness; a basis for understanding mathematics; good physical and personal habits; appreciation of music, art, and poetry; cultural and environmental sensitivity; and responsible sharing and conversation with other children and adults. Students are given an introduction to Spanish through participation in songs and games as early as Preschool 2.

The formal curriculum begins in PreKindergarten for 4-year-olds through an integrated hands-on approach that includes the academic disciplines and is aligned with national preschool learning expectations.  The program is enhanced by a variety of experiences including art, physical education, music, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, robotics, and media.

Family involvement is a hallmark of the Early Childhood division.  Parents participate in a weekly Morning Opening where the children practice their speaking and listening skills through musical presentations.  In addition, there are monthly special events where families come together and participate in engaging activities.  Favorites include Father’s Day Olympics, Fall Hoedown, International Morning, Big Truck Day, the Easter Parade, and Mother’s Day Picnic.

Ages Served:
Ages 2 – PreK 4 in the Early Childhood Center. All Saints Academy serves through 12h grade.

School Hours / Schedule: All Sains Academy runs on a traditional school schedule with Summer Camp programs available in June and July.

Open Houses / Tours: Campus tours are available throughout the year.  Contact the Admission Office with interest, questions, or to set up an on-campus experience.

Registration Dates / Details: ASA encourages all interested families to schedule a personal visit and tour or attend an Open House event. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Click here to learn more about All Saints Academy for grades K – 12.

All Saints Academy preschool
5001 Florida 540, Winter Haven, Florida 33880
Excel Christian Academy (Infant - 12th grade)

Excel Christian Academy opened its doors as Lake Wire Christian Academy in 1974 with a single preschool class and has since grown to a community of more than 400 students, from infants to high school seniors. Located on a 26-acre campus in Lakeland, Excel Christian Academy is a ministry of Free Life Chapel, and under its dedicated and inspiring leadership, has high hopes and great vision for the future in “Pursuing Excellence with Honor.”

What makes your school unique?
At Excel Christian Academy, the emphasis is for each child from PreK-high school to realize his or her God-given potential, developing confidence and self-awareness, creativity and curiosity, and a deep understanding of community and connectedness to others. A robust, well-rounded curriculum with talented and engaging teachers and an energetic and diverse peer group provides students endless opportunities to discover their passions and talents. Our commitment to the core values of Creativity, Honor, Diversity, Excellence, and Generosity ensures the social/emotional, academic, physical and spiritual needs of each child are met. Visual and performing arts promote confidence and creativity. Physical education classes include Archery and Taekwondo. Athletic teams include JV/Varsity Volleyball, Basketball, Flag Football, and Soccer.

Ages/Grades Served:
Excel Christian Academy’s Early Childhood Center accepts infants and children from 6 weeks through 4 years old (PreK4). Excel Christian Academy serves students from Kindergarten-12th grade.

Open Houses or Tours:
   Prospective families are invited to schedule tours (currently virtual) on the school website at https://www.excelonline.org/schedule-your-tour or call the Office of Admissions at 863-853-9235.

Affiliations: International League of Christian Schools, Florida League of Christian Schools (FLOCS)

Accreditation:  AdvancEd/SACS

School Hours: 6:30 am- 6:00

School Schedule: 7:50 am to 3:20 pm (with aftercare until 6pm for an additional fee)

Registration Dates / Details:
Preschool –  ongoing enrollment based on space
Academy –  suggested enrollment commitment by April 1 of each year to meet space availability.  As spaces are available open enrollment continues.

Excel Christian Academy accepts the McKay Scholarship, Florida Tax Credit (Step Up for Students, AAA), Gardiner, and Hope Scholarships.  All students are eligible for free breakfast, snack, and lunch through the National School Lunch CEP program.

6505 Odom Road, Lakeland, Florida 33809
Excel Christian Academy Early Childhood Center

Excel Christian Academy’s Early Childhood Center accepts infants and children from 6 weeks through 4 years old. It is part of Excel Christian Academy private school that serves ages infant through 12th Grade.

Every classroom in the preschool presents a unique community of learners that varies not only in abilities, but also in learning styles. We believe that each child is unique and needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. Our teachers use strategies that allow our students to meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas.

Our play-based, child centered program reflects the integration of physical, cognitive, social, emotional, language, and spiritual areas for the total development of the child. Meaningful play encourages curiosity, risk taking, discovery and problem solving which allows individual growth and development of a positive self worth.

Ages Served:
Excel Christian Academy’s Early Childhood Center accepts infants and children from 6 weeks through 4 years old (PreK4). Excel Christian Academy serves students from Kindergarten-12th grade.

Open Houses or Tours:
Prospective families are invited to schedule tours (currently virtual) by calling the school at  863-853-9235.

Affiliations / Type of Preschool (if applicable): Florida League of Christian Schools

School Hours / Schedule:

Preschool Hours: 6:30 am- 5:30 pm (with aftercare until 6pm)  10 hour maximum stay
Academy Hours: 7:50 am to 3:20 pm with aftercare until 6pm for additional fee

Registration Dates / Details:

The Early Childhood Center offers ongoing enrollment based on space. Complete the application process; acceptance conditional upon space availability and meeting the admission criteria.

Additional Information:
 All students are eligible for free breakfast, snack, and lunch through the National School Lunch CEP program. Students beginning in PreK3 must be potty trained.

Do you offer scholarships for preschool age?

Families can apply for ELC via elcpolk.org

Click here to learn more about Excel Christian Academy for grades K – 12.

6505 Odom Road, Lakeland, Florida 33809
St. Paul Lutheran School (PreK-8)

St. Paul Lutheran School is a non-public school serving children age 15 months through 8 th grade. Over the 56 year history of SPLS we have provided nurturing and engaging education that has equipped students exceptionally well for the next stages in their lives. This is all done with Christ and God’s Word at the center and with individual care and respect for each learner.

Our core principles include discipleship training, mission, and the development of servant leaders. These are joined by striving for academic excellence, innovative thinking, and developing student G.R.I.T. (Grace, Responsibility, Integrity and Tenacity). We understand the key role positive relationships have in school success. Having high expectations, sharing grace, practicing empathy for children, and empowering them to be independent and accountable are key aspects of managing student behavior.

What makes your school unique?
SPLS is located on a beautiful, conveniently located 37 acre campus with extensive facilities and access to learning technology. An athletic center, sports fields, a ¼ mile running track, a 4H archery range, three student playgrounds, and student gardens are just some of the amenities of the SPLS campus.
Classrooms feature interactive touchscreens and student access to iPads or Chromebooks.
The core program emphasizes Christian Studies, the language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The core is supplemented by Spanish, physical education, and art. Our program of music instruction is outstanding including high-quality weekly piano lab instruction for K-4 students and band for 5th -8 th grade.
Many families and guests comment on the family atmosphere at SPLS that flows from our desire to
emulate the love of Christ and build the bonds of community.

Grades Served:

  • Early Childhood Enrichment Center Ages (ECEC) starting at 15 months.
  • Elementary serving children from Kindergarten through 5th grade
  • Middle School with students in 6th -8 th grades
  • Academic Immersion Program which is a small ABA based program for middle school learners

Open Houses / Tours: We love to engage with individual families through comprehensive campus tours and in person exchanges of information. Call or email.

Affiliations: St. Paul Lutheran School is a ministry of St. Paul Lutheran Church. We are part of the Florida-Georgia District of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod (LCMS). The LCMS has an extensive history of Lutheran Christian education encompassing thousands of schools and early childhood centers nationwide.
We are fully accredited through AdvancED and National Lutheran School Accreditation.

School Hours / Schedule: Programs start at 8:15 AM daily. Before school care begins at 7 AM. Elementary and Middle School programs conclude at 3:00 PM and 3:10 PM respectively. Eagles’ Club after school care is available until 6 PM daily. SPLS typically operates with a school calendar that mirrors Polk County schools. Summer programs and child care during vacation periods are also typically available.

Registration Dates / Details: Registration for the coming school year SPLS starts in February of each year and we continue to accept and review applications throughout the year. Information about admissions is found on our website however we really enjoy meeting families face-to-face. Call for a tour.

Scholarships: SPLS accepts Family Empowerment, StepUp (Florida Tax Credit), Gardiner, McKay and Hope scholarships for students who meet our enrollment criteria. We also disburse some additional scholarships for K-8 students through our SPLS scholarship program. Information is available in the Admissions section of our website.

St. Paul Lutheran Lakeland Private School
4450 Harden Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33813

Childcare Guide

Check out our Childcare Guide for Lakeland + Polk County for other childcare topics including preschools, daycare, VPK, after school care, school holiday camps, and more.