Then there are a few of the more-daycare-like preschools around, which are of greatly varying quality, and many of which don't offer an option for attending any fewer hours than five days a week 9-5 sort of hours. These are affordable, but again, not what the families are looking for who want a developmentally appropriate program but can flex their hours and don't need full-time childcare.
Boston Public Schools is aiming to provide a K1 (4- and 5-year-olds, two years before they start first grade) seat for every student by 2010, but that hasn't happened yet. K0 (3- and 4-year olds, three years before they start first grade) seats are even more sparse. For kids who don't automatically get a K0 or K1 seat due to having special education needs, this means highly competitive lotteries.
Aside from Head Start, BPS, and the daycares, about the only thing that seems to be available to families for 3- and 4-year-olds are programs that literally cost as much as many colleges and/or require students to be put on the waiting list as infants. Does anyone know why this is? Why doesn't Boston seem to have any community-center-basement sort of preschools? You know, the kind that working families send their kids to? All of the surrounding towns of various income levels seem to have plenty of these, but not Boston. If there are any, why don't the families or the staff at my program know about them?