How much does preschool typically cost?
What does preschool typically cost?
Kids grow up so fast. One moment, you’re coming from the hospital with your infant, and the next, you’re picking out their outfit for their first day of kindergarten. In between, there’s preschool. As your little one grows and develops through their toddler years, preschool comes to the forefront more and more each day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with both the sticker shock and competitive nature of finding a preschool, you’re not alone.
Unfortunately, in most of the United States, there is no public preschool. That means that in most cases, parents are paying out of pocket for early education, typically for 1, 2, or even three years before their children enter kindergarten at age 5 or 6. Preschool is more expensive than many parents initially expect.
Preschool serves as a bridge from time at home with family or daycare to kindergarten. Without it, a substantial achievement gap can begin to grow as early as age five. This gap stretches further into a person’s life as well. Two prominent studies highlight the fact that children with quality early childhood education are less likely to repeat grades or require special education and more likely to graduate high school. Later in life, according to one study, those with a preschool education had greater chance of owning homes and earning $2,000 more a month than those who did not.
Wide range of prices
According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), the average cost of preschool ranges from $4,460 to $13,158 per year, depending upon where in the United States you live.
This can average out to a monthly cost of $372 to $1100 per month, per child. At the lower amount of $372, your child may attend school two days a week for 4 hours. For $1100 per month, your child could attend school five days a week for at least the minimum of 6 hours. Again, this amount will vary depending on the school and the area. For example, in Missouri, you might pay $5,950 for a year of preschool — half the amount you will spend in New York.
The NACCRRA study points out that preschool rates may even vary within the same city. A private preschool that requires uniforms and offers extracurricular programs could cost as much as $500 more than a traditional preschool in your neighborhood.
They types of figures might be much more expensive than you anticipated, or budgeted, for. But there is good news: There is help to make preschool more affordable, no matter what your budget.
Many schools offer grants or scholarships for children to attend preschool. Some of these are set aside for financial needs. Low-income parents may also have government-funded programs or vouchers which are available for them through programs such as Head Start.
There are other grants and scholarships are available for gifted children. These are highly competitive but worth exploring. You also may be surprised to find that many seemingly exclusive preschools have ample scholarship opportunities available.
Often, preschools have a sliding tuition scale depending on what families earn; some schools offer a slight reduction for siblings, like waiving the registration fee. Preschools have discounts for other circumstances, as well. For example, parents may save some money if they choose a specific payment plan or pay the tuition up front. Another way to help secure a lower price is by taking a job at the preschool to get an employee discount.
Some parents save money — without compromising quality — by joining preschool cooperatives. Families volunteer their time for a certain number of hours each week, taking on jobs like cleaning, working with children, helping in the front office, keeping up the playground, and more.
So, you see, there are ways to make preschool more affordable. Every avenue is worth exploring. It takes research but remember how much research you did just to figure out which crib to buy! A few more hours invested in helping shape your child’s first real educational experience is worth it.
Is preschool worth the investment?
Children learn and grow emotionally, socially, and academically in preschool. It does have high costs associated with it, but investing in your child’s early education will help them as they continue on in kindergarten and the rest of their schooling.
Now that you have a general idea of the costs, you may be wondering if the investment is worth it. While there are differing schools of thought, most early childhood development experts agree that there are substantial early childhood education benefits. Studies show children who attended preschool before entering kindergarten often show higher intelligence, better school enrollment, behavior, and health.
There’s more: Preschool teachers can be a great resource for helping determine if children are meeting developmental milestones.
Another benefit to attending a preschool with a solid understanding of play-based childhood development is early screening — which can lead to early intervention in the case of developmental/learning delays. Preschool teachers come in contact with so many toddlers that they are often the first to notice if a child has a delay in comparison.”
Of course, the primary reason for preschool is to get children ready for kindergarten. That means your little one needs to be able to recognize letters, understand beginning sounds, recognize numbers, identify shapes and colors, manage scissors, and be ready to start reading — all before the school year begins.