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CostHelper > Schools & Job Training  > Kindergarten

Kindergarten Cost


How Much Does Kindergarten Cost?

 
average costPublic Kindergarten: Free to $5,000+high costPrivate Kindergarten: $3,000-$34,000+
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Offered by both public and private schools, kindergarten is generally an introduction to a formal school setting for five-year-olds, to prepare them for starting first grade. Traditionally students attended half-day programs (about three hours), but many schools are moving toward full-day programs (about six hours) that match the school's elementary class schedule.

Typical costs:

  • Public schools typically provide a free half-day kindergarten program (about three hours) for district residents. Although some provide a full-day program (about six hours) for free, others charge full-day tuition of $1,000-$5,000 or more for 10 months (September to May). (Federal funding typically makes full-day kindergarten at public schools free to children from homeless or economically disadvantaged families.)
  • For example, both Rockford Public Schools[1] in Illinois and Bellingham Public Schools[2] in Washington offer full-day kindergarten programs at no cost to district families. Denver Public Schools[3] in Colorado offers half-day kindergarten for free, while the full-day program is $310 a month or $3,100 a year for Denver residents and $365 a month ($3,650 annually) for non-residents; full-day tuition for disadvantaged families is paid by federal funding.
  • Private school kindergarten annual tuition can cost $3,000-$34,000 or more, depending on the length of the school day, the teacher-pupil ratio and the reputation of the school. For example, for full-day kindergarten St. Boniface School[4] in Fort Smith, AR charges $2,990 for children of St. Boniface parishioners and $5,339 for non-parishioners. Kindergarten tuition is $18,610 at the Swain School[5] in Allentown, PA.
Related articles: Pre-Kindergarten Programs, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Nursing School, School Uniform

What should be included:
  • Typical objectives include developing the student's self esteem and confidence in a classroom setting; learning social, emotional and study skills; and practicing cooperation, patience and problem-solving. Scholastic.com lists the elements of a good kindergarten program[6] .
  • Kindergarten is optional in some states and mandatory in others. The National Center for Education Statistics charts kindergarten requirements by state[7] in 2011.
  • Whether a public school charges tuition for full-day kindergarten varies from district to district; StrategiesForChildren.org provides a map of full-day kindergarten tuition rates in Massachusetts[8] in 2011-2012, with most communities providing free full-day kindergarten.
Additional costs:
  • It averages $2.08 to buy a public school lunch or $3.42 to bring a bag lunch, according to the School Nutrition Association. Low-income students may qualify for free or reduced-price 40 cents maximum) lunches. Some private schools include the cost of lunch in the tuition, or there may be an annual charge of $25-$1,000 or more. The Swain School[9] in Allentown, PA has a $745 annual kindergarten lunch fee.
  • Public schools typically provide free bus service for low-income students but other students may have to buy an annual bus pass for $100-$325 or more. Jeffco Public Schools[10] in Colorado charges $150-$200 per child to ride a bus to school, or a half-day kindergarten pass costs $75-$100.
  • Parent may be responsible for providing transportation to a private school; or it can cost $300-$2,000 or more. For example, Ravenscroft[11] in Raleigh, NC charges annual bus fees of $360-$1,750, depending on the student's location.
  • For working parents, before and after school care can cost $100-$500 or more a month at public schools (although it might be free for low-income students) or $300-$800 or more monthly at private schools.
  • Some private schools charge a one-time-only "new family" capital fee of $1,000-$2,000 or more as a contribution to ongoing facility maintenance/improvement for families enrolling a child in the school for the first time. For example, Fort Worth Christian School[12] in Texas has a $1,500 new family fee.
Discounts:
  • Many private schools offer a sibling discount for multiple students from the same family. For example, Saint Joseph Academy[13] in Bogota, NJ charges standard tuition of $7,980 for the one child, $11,760 for two children and $17,320 for three; or for parents who participate in specified fund-raising and school-support activities, $4,100 for one child, $6,500 for two and $7,560 for three.
  • In some circumstances, kindergarten tuition might quality for an income tax credit[14] .
Shopping for kindergarten:
  • Most schools hold an open house just before starting kindergarten enrollment; or contact the school and ask for a guided tour. The National Association for the Education of Young Children lists the top 10 signs of a good kindergarten classroom[15] and TeachersandFamiles.com discusses how to decide between half- and full-day kindergarten[16] .
  • Search for local public schools[17] or members of the National Association of Independent Schools[18] , National Catholic Educational Association[19] , American Montessori Society[20] or Association of Waldorf Schools of North America[21] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www2.rps205.com/Parents/SAC/Pages/Kindergarten.aspx
  2.  bellinghamschools.org/kindergarten
  3.  earlyeducation.dpsk12.org/tuition-and-billing/tuition-and-tuition-assistance-2/
  4.  www.stbonifaceschool.org/uploads/pdfs/Tuition%20&%20Fees%20Schedule%202012%20-%202013.pdf
  5.  www.swain.org/admissions/tuition-information/kindergarten-8th-grade.html
  6.  www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/choosing-schools-programs/what-makes-good-...
  7.  nces.ed.gov/programs/statereform/tab5_3.asp
  8.  www.strategiesforchildren.org/eea/6research_maps/EEAMap_FDKTuition10.pdf
  9.  www.swain.org/admissions/tuition-information/kindergarten-8th-grade.html
  10.  www.jeffcopublicschools.org/transportation/
  11.  www.ravenscroft.org/page.cfm?p=24
  12.  www.fwc.org/admissions/admissions-tuition-fees.cfm
  13.  www.sjsbogota.com/tuition.php
  14.  www.accountingweb.com/topic/tax/irs-explains-dependent-care-credits-kindergarten-costs-0
  15.  www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Top_10_Signs_Good/
  16.  www.teachersandfamilies.com/open/parent/kg-day4.cfm
  17.  nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolsearch/
  18.  www.nais.org/Users/Pages/SchoolSearch.aspx?src=footer
  19.  www.ncea.org/news/SchoolDiocesanLocator.asp
  20.  www.amshq.org/School%20Resources/Find%20a%20School.aspx
  21.  www.whywaldorfworks.org/05_FindASchool/?src=trakkware
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