How Much Does Preschool Cost?

Written by: Staff

Preschool is very important in the early development of your child from an educational and social perspective.  Although preschool, which is geared toward four year olds, is not actually required, it can be very helpful to prepare your child for kindergarten and elementary.  The social skills alone will be beneficial to your child’s learning process.  Because many parents work, half-day preschool or classes that meet only two or three days a week may not be an option.  Some kids may be in preschool for 40-50 hours per week, but the preschool curriculum only takes about 20-30 hours to complete.  The rest of the time will be spent in before- or after-school care, snack time, lunch time, and rest time.

Fun at preschool by madgerly, on Flickr
Fun at preschool” (CC BY 2.0) by  madgerly

How much does preschool cost?

According to, the average cost of a year of preschool will be between $4,000 and $12,000.  This price will vary greatly from state to state and city to city.  Less populated areas and cities with a lower cost of living will be cheaper than large cities.  For example, a preschool in New York City is going to cost a lot more than a preschool in Montana.

Preschools that are only part-time, whether that is for only a few hours a day or only a few days a week, will cost about $2000-$5000.

For example, Little Kellis Playhouse, located in Michigan, charges $145 per week or $80 per 2 days.

Another preschool, such as the Austin Cooperative Nursery School, charges $210 for 2 days a week and $490 for 5 days a week.

What is going to be included in the estimates?

At most schools, the price of tuition will cover the cost of the curriculum and all the supplies necessary.

If your child is in full-time preschool, a healthy lunch and snack program should be included.

The price of tuition will include the before and after school care if needed.

What are the extra costs?

Most schools have some type of application fee ranging from $30-$75.  This will be a one-time registration fee.

Some schools may advertise lower prices on tuition but then charge extra for meals and supplies.

Most schools will take some type of field trip throughout the year.  These will usually have an extra fee which will be determined by the school based on the trip itself.

Tips to know:

Before preschool starts, be sure to visit the school to see if it’s something that your child will enjoy.  This is your chance to learn more about the curriculum, the teachers and the overall atmosphere.

Ask your teachers what they expect from your child.  Ask them what your child needs to bring as well as get as much information in regards to the hours, policies and rules.

Make sure that your child is up to date on his/her immunization.  Most preschools will require this before admitting them.

How can I save money?

Many schools have a parent-volunteer program in which parents can earn money off tuition for hours of service put into the school.

Although tuition can be paid in monthly installments with no penalty, you can earn a discount by paying in advance.  Many preschool centers are happy to give discounts to those that pay 6 months ahead of time.

A parochial preschool class will often be cheaper than a public school program.

Many preschool programs can offer discounts to parents that enroll more than one student in their school.

Public preschools that are affiliated with the public school system are going to be cheaper than the private school system.  Check with the local public school district to see what they have to offer.

Consider a home-based preschool.  You may find that a retired teacher is holding a class in their home a few days per week.  This type of opportunity may offer the same experiences as a stand-alone preschool.

How to compare prices:

Because the education of your child is very important, the quality of the preschool should be your first criteria.  Ask family, friends, and neighbors to see what schools they recommend and then compare prices among those recommended schools.

Make sure you are not paying for extra things that are unnecessary.  If you do not need your child in full-time preschool because of work, then you shouldn’t pay for the full-time care.

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How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Head Start (Northwest,  Indiana) paid $0 and said:

    Head Start is FREE EVERYWHERE!!!! They even offer programs starting early for kids at home then 3 in school, full and half days!!

    Was it worth it? Yes

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