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CostHelper > Schools & Job Training  > Pre-Kindergarten Programs

Pre-Kindergarten Programs Cost


How Much Do Pre-Kindergarten Programs Cost?

 
average costPublic Pre-K Programs: Free (eligibility varies by state)high costPrivate Pre-K Programs: $3,000-$18,000+
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Offered by public elementary schools, private elementary schools, preschools, day-care centers, YMCAs, churches and other community facilities, pre-kindergarten is typically intended to prepare four-year-olds (and sometimes three-year-olds) for kindergarten, which in recent years has become much more academically-oriented. Also called pre-K or PK, pre-kindergarten is somewhat more focused on academics and skill-building than child day-care or standard preschool programs.

Typical costs:

  • Access to public pre-kindergarten programs varies by state; some provide pre-K only for students from economically disadvantaged or homeless families, while others offer voluntary programs where students can enroll at either public or private pre-K centers. For example, Georgia[1] , New York[2] and Tennessee[3] offer voluntary pre-k programs for all 4-year-olds for free through a variety of public schools and private centers. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts[4] provides free half- and full-day pre-kindergarten to children age 3-5 who are disadvantaged (at risk of school failure, in a low-income family, English language learners and/or have special needs).
  • Private pre-kindergarten programs can cost $3,000-$18,000 more more for the 10-month school year (September-May), depending on the number of days attended per week, the number of hours attended each day, the student-teacher ratio and the reputation of the school. For example, Heritage Christian School[5] in North Liberty, IA offers pre-K class for five hours a day, with tuition of $2,270 for two days a week, $3,014 for three days and $4,688 for five days. The Walker School[6] in Marietta, GA charges a school-year (September-May) tuition of $10,730 for a half-day (7:30am-noon), $13,390 for a full day (7:30am-2:30pm) and $14,460 for a full-day-plus (7am-6pm), or $15,530 for a year-round full-day-plus.
Related articles: Preschool, Day Care, Baby Sitter, Kindergarten, Before and After School Programs

What should be included:
  • Pre-kindergarten is optional, and not required as part of a child's standard education. Most pre-K programs focus on helping children develop academically, emotionally, socially and physically, with an emphasis on play and fun. Triangle Presbyterian Preschool & Kindergarten in Durham, NC lists its pre-K goals[7] .
  • The Center for Public Education provides a summary of research[8] looking at the beneficial effects of pre-kindergarten.
Additional costs:
  • Some schools have additional charges for snacks, meals, beverages, transportation, supplies, field trips or other activities; these can cost $25-$1,000 or more, depending on what is included. For example, the Swain School[9] in Allentown, PA charges $88 for a beverage four days a week or $110 for five days; $600 for lunch four days a week or $745 for five days; and a $245 prekindergarten activity fee that includes field trips, consumable books, a yearbook and other supplies.
Discounts:
  • Some schools offer a 5%-25% sibling discount for multiple students from the same family. For example, Community Christian School[10] in Willmar, MN has a 10% discount for the second child in a family, 15% for the third child, 25% for the fourth and 100% for the fifth.
Shopping for pre-kindergarten programs:
  • The best way to evaluate a pre-kindergarten program is to visit, observe and ask questions. SchoolFamily.com explains how to decide if pre-kindergarten is right[11] for a particular child and how to choose a pre-kindergarten[12] .
  • Pre-K programs may be certified by the National Association for the Education of Young Children[13] or by state or regional accreditation agencies.
  • Search for local public schools[14] or members of the National Association of Independent Schools[15] , National Catholic Educational Association[16] , American Montessori Society[17] or Association of Waldorf Schools of North America[18] .
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External Resources:
  1.  decal.ga.gov/Prek/ProgramsOffered.aspx
  2.  schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/PreK/default.htm
  3.  www.tn.gov/education/about.shtml
  4.  www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/pa_pre_k_counts/8742
  5.  www.hcs-nl.com/admissions/pre-kindergarten/tuition-and-fees
  6.  www.thewalkerschool.org/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid/index.aspx
  7.  www.tppk.org/forms/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20Developmental_Skills_for_4_year_olds.pdf
  8.  www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Pre-kindergarten/Pre-Kindergarten/Pre-kinder...
  9.  www.swain.org/admissions/tuition-information/prekindergarten.html
  10.  www.willmarccs.org/#/about-ccs/tuition
  11.  www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10793-is-prekindergarten-right-for-...
  12.  www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10794-how-to-choose-a-prekindergart...
  13.  families.naeyc.org/find-quality-child-care
  14.  nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolsearch/
  15.  www.nais.org/Users/Pages/SchoolSearch.aspx?src=footer
  16.  www.ncea.org/news/SchoolDiocesanLocator.asp
  17.  www.amshq.org/School%20Resources/Find%20a%20School.aspx
  18.  www.whywaldorfworks.org/05_FindASchool/?src=trakkware
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