At East Side Nursery School, we support and encourage learning through active play and exploration in a free-choice environment.

We start our day with group time, singing songs with the helping parent.We start our day with group time, singing songs with the helping parent.

Our History

ESNS was founded in 1957 by a group of parents interested in providing a nurturing, fun, and engaging environment for their preschool children. As a co-op, the school is run by a board of directors made up of parent volunteers and our two teachers. ESNS is licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

Why a Co-op?

We believe both children and their families benefit from participating in a cooperative school. Our co-op structure offers children a gentle transition from home to the primary school environment. It also offers parents a unique opportunity to be actively involved in their child’s early education, observe their child’s developing relationships, and enjoy being part of a caring community of families.

Parent responsibilities include:

  • Helping in the classroom approximately 4-7 days during the school year
  • Maintaining the school by participating in all-school improvement projects, and by cleaning the classroom once or twice per year
  • Participating in school activities, including field trips, fundraisers, and publicity efforts
  • Attending three mandatory parent meetings (held in the evenings in the spring, fall, and winter)
  • Serving, if interested, as a board member on our working board.


We offer two groups: a two-mornings-per-week (Tuesday/Thursday) group for 3 year-olds, and a three-morning-per-week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) group for 4 year-olds. There are three teachers and a helping parent present in the classroom each day the children meet. There are 16 children in the Tuesday/Thursday group and 18 children in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday group, making an adult-to-child ratio of roughly 1:6.


Our day begins with drop-off between 8:45 and 9 a.m. and ends with pick-up between 11:45 a.m. and 12 noon. The school year runs from September to mid-June. In most cases, our holidays and vacations follow the same schedule as Providence Public Schools.

Extended Hours

We offer the following extended hours:

  • Lunch Bunch – Available for both groups, children can stay at school to eat lunch until 1:00 p.m. Children bring their own lunches. Cost is $10 per day. Drop-in.
  • Extended Day Program – Available Monday& Wednesday for the MWF group, children may stay until 2:00 p.m. Cost is $20 per day with a maximum of 10 children. Sing-up is the morning of the day you want. If there are more than 10 children interested we will offer advanced sign-up.