We are currently enrolling for the 2020–2021 school year!  


CNS accepts students ages 3-5.  Children must be at least 3 years old by October 15 of the school year for which you are applying and should be potty trained.  Occasional exceptions may be made to meet full enrollment at the approval of the Board and the teachers; however, no student may attend who is under the age of 2.75 (they must turn 3 by January 15 of the following year).

CNS believes in an atmosphere of inclusion where all people’s rights are respected and does not discriminate against any people or group based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, economic status, marital status, disability, sexual preference, or gender identity.  We recognize that not all families are composed of two biological parents.  CNS is open to those who are legally involved with the upbringing and education of a child, be they parents, partners, guardians, extended family members, etc.

TUITION OPTIONS (Please note that tuition costs may change from year to year.  Tuition rates for the following year are decided upon by the co-op membership each year in the spring.)

Option A: 4-Day, with Classroom Helper Days – $330 per month ($3,300 per year over 10 months)

  • 4 day a week flexible schedule: Younger students starting with 2 days a week and increasing their days over the course of the year at the teachers’ discretion.
  • Attends monthly Mandatory Family Meetings
  • Serves on a Committee and helps with fundraising
  • Works as a Classroom Helper in the classroom (approximately 2 CH days and 1 ALT day per month)

Option B: 4-Day, No Classroom Helper Days – $485 per month ($4,850 per year over 10 months)

  • 4 day a week flexible schedule: Younger students starting with 2 days a week and increasing their days over the course of the year at the teacher’s discretion.
  • Attends monthly Mandatory Family Meetings
  • Serves on a Committee and helps with fundraising
  • Does not work as a Classroom Helper in the classroom


STEP 1 – Contact us and visit the school. Taking a tour is highly recommended as it will help you determine if CNS is the right environment for your child and your family. Open Houses, held throughout the year, are also an opportunity for your child to explore the classroom as you gain insight into how our program works.

STEP 2 – Complete the CNS Application (click to download) and return it, along with a non-refundable $40 application fee ($25 for alumni and returning families), to:

The Children’s Nursery School
P.O. Box 8086
Portland, Maine 04104

Once an application is received, a member of the CNS Enrollment Committee will be in touch to acknowledge receipt of the application.  The alumni family priority application deadline is March 1, 2020.  After that date, all applications for admission will be considered in the order they are received on a rolling basis until full enrollment is achieved, with a standard enrollment period deadline of April 1, 2020.  In instances of applications received after full enrollment, CNS will maintain a waitlist.

STEP 3 – Families will be informed via email by April 1, 2020 of their enrollment status, and a check for the non-refundable deposit equal to one month of tuition, plus a check for the $36 background check fee (per Classroom Helper), will be due April 15, 2020, which will secure a family’s spot.  Due to Maine licensing requirements, the adults who regularly help in the classroom (2-3 times a month) must undergo a background check from both inforME.org and Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services.  $36 per person covers the cost for these background checks and need to be done every two years.  Please submit an additional $36 if a second adult will also be helping in the classroom.  Not every adult in a family is required to undergo background checks.   If you have concerns about whether you will pass the background check, please feel free to contact the Lead Teacher or someone on the Enrollment Committee with further questions.

STEP 4 – Once a deposit is received, a Welcome Packet will be mailed out to families that contains registration forms and our CNS Handbook.  Registration forms must be returned to CNS within one month of receipt of the packet.  Some of the forms will take longer to complete than others, so we encourage new families to begin the paperwork as soon as the packet is received, and let the Lead Teacher or an Enrollment Committee member know if you will have trouble meeting the one-month timeline.

STEP 5 – A second deposit is due June 1, 2019, which is equal to one month of tuition.  This deposit will be used for September tuition and is only refundable if CNS has full enrollment by the start of the school year at the discretion of the Board of Trustees.  This ensures our bills can be paid on time as the school year begins.  Families will then pay tuition during the first week of each month, from October through May.  The first deposit will be used for June tuition.

In addition to the second deposit, the field trip fee of $45 is also due by June 1, 2020. Funds are pooled to pay for field trips during the school year.  Any remaining funds at the end of the year will be applied to yearbook costs.


This process may appear long, but we will help you the entire way. It is our school’s policy to adhere to Maine preschool licensing law while not wasting the time nor the money of applicants and future co-op members.

We hope to see you soon!