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The preschool programs at Cadence Academy Preschool, Iowa City are designed to help young children reach important milestones at every stage of development. We take a skill-based approach to early education that balances intellectual, physical, and emotional development and our curriculum is designed to progressively build valuable skill sets each month! Our students graduate from our Pre-Kindergarten program confident and ready for kindergarten!

Ascend Curriculum

Ascend Curriculum LogoOur Ascend Curriculum takes a unique skill-based approach to early education and our teachers introduce new skills within subjects like Mathematics, Literacy, Technology, and Physical Fitness every month.

Skills are taught at a challenging pace and our goal is to recognize where each child is on a particular skill and then take them to the next step without comparing their learning pace to others. We encourage our teachers to modify activities to match the interests and current skill level of each student so that everyone is supported, engaged, and having fun!

NAEYC Accreditation

NAEYC Accreditation LogoCadence Academy Preschool, Iowa City is accredited through The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our staff is dedicated to going above and beyond accreditation standards to find the practices that best educate and care for young children. We have found that accreditation fosters a culture of reflection and continuous improvement.

School-to-Home Connection

We believe that children thrive when there is a strong partnership between preschool and home. We have an open-door policy with our families and we encourage you to visit at any time. We also offer a variety of communication pieces so that you’re constantly up-to-date with your child’s day and their developmental progress.

Our preschool also hosts a variety of family-friendly events throughout the year. Some of our favorites include our annual Winter Wonderland in January, Family Picnic in August, and the University of Iowa Homecoming Parade!

Our Team

Jean Grauer

Jean Grauer


I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Reading and Language Arts Education K-6. I started working for Cadence Academy Preschool in October 2006. I enjoy reading books, watching movies, and spending time with my family and friends.

Melinda Mattingly

Melinda Mattingly

Assistant Director

“Bloom where you are planted” is an expression that has been a mantra throughout my years. I was born in the great state of Texas and moved to beautiful Iowa when I was 3 years old. I was raised on a pig farm where hard work is expected and homegrown food is a way of life. Working with children was where I found joy, whether it be at church, babysitting, as a camp counselor, in home child care provider, mother, and teacher. I am over the moon excited to not only be back in Iowa, but also to be able to do something that I love every day. They say if you choose a job you love you will never have to work a day in your life and I fully support this thought. I’m glad to be a part of such an amazing team and look forward to getting to know all of you!


NAEYC Accreditation

Every child deserves access to high-quality early learning experiences. NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) has set 10 standards for early childhood programs that can help families make the right choice when they are looking for a child care center, preschool, or kindergarten. The standards and criteria are also the foundation of the NAEYC Accreditation system for early childhood programs. To earn NAEYC Accreditation, schools must go through an extensive self-study and quality-improvement process, followed by an on-site visit by NAEYC Assessors to verify and ensure that the program meets each of the ten program standards, and hundreds of corresponding individual criteria. NAEYC-accredited programs are always prepared for unannounced quality-assurance visits during their accreditation term, which lasts for five years. In the 30 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. More than 7,000 programs are currently accredited by NAEYC—less than 10 percent of all child care centers, preschools, and kindergartens nationally achieve this recognition.

Reviews from Parents

4.7 Rating based on 70 Reviews Leave A Review
Stephanie Higgins • Google
We love Cadence Academy! Their director and teachers are fabulous and their curriculum is very thoughtful and age appropriate.
Eddie Etsey • Google
Cadence Academy is a wonderful Preschool for all toddlers and infants. Their COVID-19 process is effective and also efficient. As parents, even though we have not physically entered or seen the facility/classrooms (because our child started during the pandemic), their daily notices with pictures assures us our little one is safe, learning and having fun. Added bonus is Jean's warmth when receiving and dropping the kids off. Thank you for all you do.
Adélaïde Subtil • Google
Our daughter has been going to the Cadence Academy preschool for about a month and we are very happy. Everybody is extremely nice and thoughtful and our daughter loves to go to school!
Derek Johnk • Google
We were in a childcare pinch. Start of school year, original plans fell through, etc. We asked our closest friends if where they took their son had any openings. The friends immediately got us in contact with Jean and things progressed from there. We had our 8 month old and 5 year old signed up for daycare and private Kindergarten by the end of the day. Since then, Cadence has exceeded our (sometimes over the top) expectations. We didn’t think that any care provider would be able to meet our expectations on Covid prevention measures (my wife and I are high risk), but Cadence found a way to not only meet, but exceed our expectations. On top of that, our kids are just so happy. Every day they come home in great spirits, with our 5 year old telling stories of his “amazing day”. I really can’t overstate what an impact going to cadence has had on our 5 year old in particular. He is a very social kid and Covid social distancing really affected him adversely. Since starting at cadence, we have our regular effervescent charming son back and we are SO grateful! Thank you Cadence for helping our family navigate this tough time with care and understanding. Cannot speak highly enough of the gift you have given our family.

Cadence Academy Preschool

Iowa City, IA

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Preparing Your Child to THRIVE

Your child is unique, and we are happy to provide an educational, fun and nurturing environment where each child can develop and thrive in order to build a bright future with unlimited possibilities.