Cost: $27,820 a yearLocation: 3747 Main Highway, Miami, Florida, 33133Notable facts: This Catholic independent school is the only all-girls Montessori school — and Montessori 3 (starting with 3-year-olds) — preschool through 12th-grade school in Florida. It offers two campuses on 16 acres bordering Biscayne Bay.The school is rooted in tradition with a deep commitment to developing a strong spirituality and an everlasting 'sisterhood' network, Avirett said.She added that it's hard not to fall in love with Carrollton's pristine campus, which has peacocks roaming around school grounds, intimate classes, and a thoughtfully designed curriculum and school experience. If you love classic values and have a daughter, you'll want to put Carrollton at the top of your school list.The admissions process: Avirett calls it close to impossible to seek admission beyond the preschool entry point, since 6th- and 9th-grade opportunities rely heavily on academics and family values, so it becomes extremely competitive, she said.I've had C-level execs call me to gauge the probability of admission in nonentry points, but the reality is that sometimes it's zero — and that's when I work with families designing a long-term strategy for admission, Avirett said.Website here.Online application here.Cost: $21,980 to $22,960 a yearLocation: 5692 North Kendall Drive, Coral Gables, Florida, 33156Notable facts: This is the largest of the Episcopal schools on Avirett's list, with three classes from kindergarten through fifth grade and a dedicated preschool.I love the energy of the school — the staff and the teachers are truly passionate about making a difference and preparing children who are curious and hungry to excel, Avirett said. Preschoolers learn preliminary coding and complete a science lab, where they're exposed to an all-hands curriculum that includes live animals and a beautiful outdoor garden.The admissions process: The school actively recruits top talent from other leading prep schools in the area, according to Avirett, and its legacy is strong, with many alumni sending their children and grandchildren to the school.St. Thomas is interested in getting to know you as a family, and it's one of the only schools in the area that has a director of parent and community relations who actively fosters family engagement and participation, Avirett said.Her advice is to make the process personal when applying to St. Thomas, for example by sharing details about what makes your child and family unique and what you're looking to add to the school in terms of perspectives, ideas, and experiences.The admission team wants to get to know you well, she said.Website here.Online application here.Cost: $24,190 per year for preschool for 3- and 4-year-oldsLocation: 1121 Andalusia Avenue, Coral Gables, Florida, 33134Notable facts: Founded in 1953, St. Philip's slogan is the little school with a big heart.It's an intimate Episcopal school nestled in Coral Gables, one of the oldest and most established neighborhoods in Miami, Avirett said. Highlights of St. Philip's preschool program include Spanish and French immersion through music and play.This school celebrates classic traditions and encourages penmanship, a passion for reading, and camaraderie with older students mentoring younger grades, Avirett said. St. Philip's aims to raise kind kids and welcomes families who plan to have long-lasting roots in Miami.The admissions process: With only one class per grade, approximately 16 students per class, and an eight-to-one student-teacher ratio, admissions can be extremely competitive. The process begins with a campus visit via an open house, a small-group tour, or calling the admission office at 305-444-6366 to schedule a private visit.Student tuition assistance is available, but according to Avirett, you must apply every year, and the amount of support offered might change.Avirett also emphasized that families should be genuine and intentional in their application — St. Philip's director of admission and enrollment management, Gabriela Olsen, wants to get to know your child, and your entire family, well. One way to do this is to focus on explaining a key point Olsen mentions in her welcome letter: imagining and detailing with honesty how your child could excel in an environment where they are known and valued.Website here.Online application here.Cost: $23,610 a year for pre-kindergarten 3 (starting with 3-year-olds) through junior kindergartenLocation: 12595 Red Road, Coral Gables, Florida, 33156Notable facts: Gulliver Prep is among the largest schools on Avirett's list and one that offers the full academic preparatory experience from preschool through 12th grade.It might take you a little longer to build your village here, Avirett said, noting that since Gulliver is the largest school on the list, it could take more time to make friends you can rely on. However, the academics are quite challenging, the school runs efficiently and effectively, and the faculty and administration strive to keep the curriculum current and cutting-edge.Gulliver is one of Avirett's top choices for families moving to Florida from abroad. It offers an extremely international and diverse community, with an unparalleled academic offering that can fit all types of needs, she said.The admissions process: Applicants can begin the process with a simple inquiry on Gulliver's website. You'll then receive a welcome email and be guided through the next steps of the online admissions process. You can read about the steps in detail and check important dates here.As with any application, timing is important in the process. Make sure you apply early, and plan ahead, as the application will require assessments to be done in person, typically in December or January, Avirett said.Website here.Online application here.Cost: $26,238 a year for preschoolLocation: 592 NE 60th Street, Miami, Florida, 33137Notable facts: Cushman Day is preschool through 12th grade, and its primary school encompasses preschool and kindergarten. The primary school embraces the Reggio Emilia approach, with nurturing spaces that encourage discovery and creativity while aiming to develop happy kids.The school community is intertwined with past and existing families, and it's common to see parents eventually take on official school roles, Avirett said.She added that prior to Miami's most recent boom, Cushman sat quietly in the northeast part of town, where it's been since 1924, attracting families who desired a secular and more personalized approach to education.The Laura Cushman Academy, which operates alongside the school, is what Avirett called a true jewel for families looking for a specialized environment, offering support and personalized instruction. The academy tackles learning differences starting in preschool through 5th grade.Laura Cushman parents often comment on how the school is life-changing for their children, Avirett said.The admissions process: For families interested in Cushman, Avirett recommends visiting the school and getting to know it well.This might not be a school for highly competitive students or 'type A' parents, but a community of good-hearted children and families, Avirett said.You can learn more about Cushman's primary school and admissions at this Primary School Information Session video on YouTube.Website here.Online application here.