Skip to main content

Resources for Families

Educational Opportunities for Your Children

Resources for Parents
Volunteer Opportunities

Transitioning to the United States can be rewarding, yet challenging for your dependents. There are several places in the Nashville area that offer English language support, community groups, and volunteer opportunities that may be of interest to your dependents. Additionally, ISSS offers programs for international spouses and dependents.

Vanderbilt Child & Family Center (VCFC) provides support and resources to the community of Vanderbilt families across the spectrum of life. As reflected in our provision of new parent support, early childhood education, family life resources, and elder care support, VCFC values the university’s commitment to the education of the whole person and cultivation of lifelong learning.

Educational Opportunities for Your Children

If you have dependents who will be attending school in the U.S., be sure to bring birth certificates or proof of age and all medical, dental, and academic records for those dependents.

In Nashville,

  • Elementary schools teach children who are in kindergarten (sometimes pre-kindergarten) through fourth grade.
  • Middle schools teach fifth grade through eighth grade, and High schools teach ninth grade through twelfth grade.
  • Students usually begin kindergarten when they are five or six years old, so they would begin fifth grade when they are ten or eleven years old and begin high school around age fourteen or fifteen.
  • To find which school your child should attend, visit ZoneFinder MNPS.
  • Fill in your address and the grade range your child fits into, and it will tell you the school your child should attend.

If English is not the first language for you and your family, your child should be enrolled through the Office of English Learners. More information on this process is available here.

For information on Public Schools in Nashville, visit Metropolitan School Board or Nashville Public Schools

For information on Private Schools in Nashville, visit: Nashville Private Schools


There are several types of child care available in Tennessee.  Some child care providers are licensed by the Tennessee Department of Education, which means that the state government has visited the child care provider and allowed the provider to offer child care services.  Licensed providers meet basic standards of safety, staff, child: adult ratios, facilities, etc. For more information on child care resources, visit the Tennessee Department of Education.

Tennessee Star-Quality Ratings – Childcare centers can volunteer to participate in the Star-Quality program.  Star-Quality recognizes child care providers who meet a higher standard of quality. Once qualified for this program, a provider can receive one, two, or three stars to place on its license and display in its center or home. Each star shows that the provider meets increasingly higher standards. In other words, the more stars a program has, the better the quality of care it offers to children.

Vanderbilt Child and Family Center Child Care – Vanderbilt Child Care Centers serve children age infants (6 weeks) to five years old.  There are four locations, and all are licensed by the Tennessee Department of Education.

Childcare Nashville – Search for child care in the Nashville area and read resources for parents

Nashville Parents Magazine – Nashville Parent is a magazine that includes parenting advice and resources; it also includes lists of events that are kid-friendly. Search listings for child care and other services in the Nashville area

Metro Nashville Public Schools Pre-Kindergarten – Pre-K programs offered through MNPS are open to children who are or will be 4 years old on or before August of the current school year. Fees are based on a sliding scale.  Most programs have waitlists.

Before and After School CareThese services are designed to provide care for children who attend school.  The care is available both before school begins and after school until a family member can pick them up.

Resources for Parents

Student Parent Initiative – The Margaret Cunningham Women’s Center serves student parents and connects them with the relevant social, academic, and child care resources.

Music City Moms – Music City Moms is a website that can help you connect with other moms in Nashville.  You can join discussions on various topics including where to find kid-friendly events, how to handle discipline issues, helping your child in school, and many more.

MOMS Club – Moms Offering Moms Support (MOMS) is a support group for at-home mothers.  You can join a local chapter in the Nashville area to meet other moms.

Activities for Children

Nashville Guru – Upcoming kid-friendly events and activities in Nashville.

Nashville Public Library – The libraries across Nashville often have events designed for children, like story times and puppet shows.  Check the website to see when events are scheduled.  The website also has a guide to help you choose appropriate books for children and links to some kid-friendly websites.

CheekwoodCheekwood has several different art classes available for a fee.  Examples include drawing, clay, and making birdhouses. You may register for these classes on the website.

Nashville Parks and RecreationParks around Nashville often schedule events designed for children, such as art, nature and craft events.

Nashville Zoo – The Nashville Zoo is a great place to take your children to see animals from around the world.  They also host special events throughout the year.

Adventure Science CenterThe Adventure Science Center is full of exciting, educational exhibits for your child to enjoy.  In addition to the permanent exhibits, they also host educational events and camps for all ages of children.

Nashville Children’s Theatre – You can take your child to enjoy a Children’s Theatre show, or your child can participate as one of the actors!  The theater provides acting and musical theatre classes for children of all ages.

Boys and Girls ClubThe Boys & Girls Club offers programs for youth ages six through 18, including tutoring, homework sports leagues, art classes, as well as just plain having fun.

Volunteer Opportunities

Hands On Nashville: Links volunteers to various volunteer opportunities in the community.

Vanderbilt Medical Center: Volunteer opportunities at locations including Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Cancer Center, Vanderbilt Clinic, The Dayani Center, Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital and others.

Pencil Foundation: PENCIL Foundation is the premier organization linking community resources of both volunteers and materials with Metro Nashville Public Schools. PENCIL administers eight educational programs that involve the community as volunteers and mentors, provide academic enrichment opportunities, prepare students for graduation and get school supplies in the hands of children who need them.