Entrusting your children to someone else’s care is a major decision many parents have to make. And while it’s necessary, the process of determining who will watch over your child is not always easy. It takes a lot of time and research to navigate through the offerings. To help make the search a little less daunting, we’ve compiled a short list of programs to get you started.

Preschool programs

Atlanta International School

AIS was founded by a group of parents, international educators and members of the business community to provide area children world-class educational opportunities. It holds accreditation from SACS, Council of International Schools and International Baccalaureate. In addition to educating grades K-12, there are also pre-Kindergarten programs for four and 5-year-olds. For more information, visit aischool.org or call 404-841-3840 to schedule a tour. 2890 North Fulton Dr. NE, Atlanta

Bright Horizons

Founded in 1986, Bright Horizons is the world’s leading provider of employer-sponsored childcare and early education, including programs for more than 90 of the Fortune 500. In addition, more than half of the organizations on Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies” list are Bright Horizons clients. All of their centers meet the standards of excellence set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Infants through school age children are accepted. Visit brighthorizons.com or call 866-854-1958 for locations and admission deadlines.

Montessori Schools

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that preschool and elementary students learned best by exploring their natural curiosity; her methods are taught throughout public and private schools worldwide. There are three campuses in metro Atlanta: Emory, Alpharetta and Cumming, and all offer half-day, full-day and after school programs. Visit montessorischoolsofgeorgia.com for enrollment information and to schedule a tour.

Primrose School of Dunwoody

With its goal “to give the best to each child every day,” Primrose Schools were the first in the nation to become eligible for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Primrose’s research-based curriculum uses “balanced teaching,” with both teacher-directed and child-initiated learning strategies for infants through 5-year-olds. For more information, visit primroseschools.com or call 770-396-8266 to schedule a tour. Fall enrollment is underway. 5050 Nandina Lane, Dunwoody

Sheltering Arms

Sheltering Arms is Georgia’s oldest nonprofit early childhood education program, dating back to 1888, when a group of Atlanta women formed a sewing circle at the First United Methodist Church to mend the clothing of street children. One day, while delivering clothes, the women discovered a child tied to a bedpost as a safety measure while her mother worked long hours in the cotton mills. Determined to help these children, the women began to care for them at the mission, an old railroad box car served as the first center. Facilities meet the stringent requirements of the NAEYC. For enrollment information, visit shelteringarmsforkids.com or call 404-523-2767. 385 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW, Atlanta

The Suzuki School

With two campuses in Buckhead, the Suzuki School is a SACS-accredited preparatory school for preschoolers. Founded in 1976, it is modeled after the Talent Education Institute in Japan. It was the first school in the U.S. to offer the “Mother Tongue” principles of learning from birth.  Programs start at three months and progress through kindergarten. For more information, visit suzukischool.com or call 404-869-1042. 443 East Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta

After-school care programs

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta

For more than 70 years, BGCA has offered a range of programs, encouraging academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character and leadership development for children and youth, ages 6-18. After-school programs run from 2:30-8 p.m., and there are 27 clubs across 11 counties. Visit bgcma.org or call 404-527-7100 to find a club near you.

Color Wheel

Decatur’s Color Wheel After School Art Studio believes in the value and power of the arts to ignite a child’s imagination, encourage creative thinking and develop self-esteem. Young artists are welcome throughout the school year, from 3-6:30 p.m.; morning art programs are available for children ages 3-5. For more information, visit colorwheelgeorgia.com or call 404-377-9800. 112 Church St., Decatur

Little Voyages

Neuroscientists have proven that the earlier we begin linguistics, the more quickly we can pick up different languages. Throughout the school year and summer, children ages 3-10 can learn a foreign language at Sandy Springs’ Little Voyages. For more information, visit littlevoyages.com or call 404-428-6197.