How Much Is Too Much To Pay For Pre-School? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 07-18-2004, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have four children. We homeschooled the first two -- DD did not enter school until fifth grade, DS not until third grade. Next DD entered local public school (with siblings) at K5.

Now DD (child 4) is three and we are looking into Montessori. We applied at the local publiuc Montessori school -- a VERY solid reputation...I have a neighbor who is a teacher there, her kids went there, etc. But we didn't get in. She's on the wait-list.

Then I found about a private/charter Montessori school...very cool, low-key, no-cost...we had to be interviewed. We still haven't heard if we've been "accepted." There is sort of a CLIQUE-Y attitude here...and what someone wrote about lack of playground supervision really hit home with me...I recall thinking that both times I was there...

In the meantime, I visited a private Montessori school that I absolutely fell in love with...just the atmosphere, attitude, kids....(granted looks can be decieving)

the problem is the tuition: $5,000 a year!!!!!!!!!!!!

We cannot afford this. I have one DD in college..DS will enter next year...I am in college...I am IN DEBT...so why do I EVEN PRETEND...

But then I get into this mental dilemma of shouldn't I pay for the education, isn't this my responsibilty

and then I wonder WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE (or Mothering moms, anyway) THINK IS TOO MUCH TO PAY FOR PRESCHOOL (OR ANY SCHOOL)?
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#2 of 25 Old 07-18-2004, 03:40 PM
 
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Wow, that is a lot. We pay about 3K a year in Waldorf and that is about as steep (well, it's too steep really) as we can go.

I couldn't do 5K a year for one child that is for sure.

Jesse
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#3 of 25 Old 07-18-2004, 09:33 PM
 
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I don't think there is "too much" to pay for any education unless it means you are cutting back on other necessities (food, clothing, going in debt, etc...). That said, I certainly can't see my family coming up with that type of money for school, though I wish we could.

 

 

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#4 of 25 Old 07-18-2004, 09:50 PM
 
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That's alot, IMO. One of my friends is sending her dd to private grade school and I don't think it's quite that much. There's no way with 6 kids that we could afford private school. I wish we could but we can't so we homeschool instead. I think it cost me 6 thousand/year (not including room/board) to go to college! That was back in "the day", though.

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#5 of 25 Old 07-18-2004, 11:33 PM
 
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I think it is very high IMO. We paid 2700 last year for 2 (!!) kids in Preschool. It was a very nice, private school and they really loved it.
With your experince in homeschooling, why not homeschool this little one too? If you really like the school though, can you maybe be able to apply for financial aid?
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#6 of 25 Old 07-19-2004, 01:21 AM
 
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In my area I'd be hard pressed to find ANY private school for $5000 a year. The ones that I like are a lot closer to $10,000. Hence, I plan to homeschool since I'd have to win the lottery to have one (nevermind the 4ish that we plan) child in private school.

Good luck

-Angela
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#7 of 25 Old 07-19-2004, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna
In my area I'd be hard pressed to find ANY private school for $5000 a year. The ones that I like are a lot closer to $10,000. Hence, I plan to homeschool since I'd have to win the lottery to have one (nevermind the 4ish that we plan) child in private school.

Good luck

-Angela
Me too. If you live in an urban area (I'm in Chicago), you will not find a private, full-time (or close to full-time) preschool/kindergarten for anything less than $8000 and, more realistically, $10,000. I know our Waldorf school is almost $11,000.
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#8 of 25 Old 07-19-2004, 03:15 PM
 
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The private schools around here are at least $12,000 per year for first grade (they go up as the child ages) and most are more. Pre-K is around $11,000 for full time.
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#9 of 25 Old 07-19-2004, 05:03 PM
 
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Well we plan to homeschool, and won't be able to afford any private school, but I just wanted to point out that most schools offer sibling discounts. So, it is much cheaper per child for the second, third, fourth etc. child you have in that school. In many schools in fact, by the time you get to the 4th or 5th child it is practically nothing. Of course, that is only a real advantage for schools which are either K-8 or K-12, where you realistictly could have all your children in the same school at the same time.

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#10 of 25 Old 07-19-2004, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have done some searching on-line of various private schools in the area, and $5,000 is not that far out of the ballpark. Some are less, some are more.

The thing is, even though this may be the case, that tuition costs this much, do you think it's necessary...or that the child necessarily receives that much "better" of an education?

As far as homeschooling her...as I said, she was our surprise blessing baby! And I had already made the committment to my own college degree program (financial and emotional) never intending on our little DD.

So my circumstances are quite different now than they were when I homeschooled the others. My schedule next semester will be only three days a week...and that is one sort-of full day, and two very part-time days.

As far as my own finances, yes, I have maxed out my financial aide and am trying to help out my oldest dd with her college tuition.

I write and make *some* money *sometimes* from articles I sell...otherwise DH is the breadwinner here...I wish...I mean

ANYBODY NOW OF SOME LEGITIMATE HOME BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES!!!!
[Sorry...off topic. : ]
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#11 of 25 Old 07-20-2004, 12:08 AM
 
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The thing is, even though this may be the case, that tuition costs this much, do you think it's necessary...or that the child necessarily receives that much "better" of an education?
No, I really don't. Of course, all I would really look for in a preschool is a casual play group type thing. Any chance your university would have some student co-op type preschool you could join?

Good luck,
Kay

 

 

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#12 of 25 Old 07-23-2004, 02:12 PM
 
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My dd's school is 3K, she'll be in an ABEKA program limited to 11 children. I love her preschool director - she's a speech pathologist and a gentle disciplinarian. But, my stomach is in knots! Last year she went 2-3 days a week, now they want her to go at min 4. (I plan on asking opinions on ABEKA in a different discussion)

I am a weak mama - I really look forward to my "quiet time" but this is way- Way more than I want. My dd really enjoys her little friends at school and the learnin'. I also have a 1 year old tot and she adores her big sister.

I guess I have some ambivelance.

Also, my dh started a business and we're making on his salary pretty much just the basics. Somehow we find money for what is important - I'll do without haircuts/newclothes not a big deal etc. But is preschool really that important?

I guess I'm in a similar boat.

Maybe someone knows a percentage of income or other guideline on what to spend. Please share!
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#13 of 25 Old 07-24-2004, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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anyu42 I really feel your anxiety over this. I guess my thought would be, if your dd enjoys school and you like the program, let her go the xtra day...but, is it that you are unfamiliar with the program?

I know this is hard. One of my concerns with the Montessori school is that it is five days a week...you cannot opt for three or less. When I said this to another mom, she said, well it's only two hours a day...Well, it is three hours actually, and that is a lot for a three year old!!!! [or it can be]

The other thing I dislike is the mentality out there that kids NEED to go to preschool...I do not think they NEED to go for intellectual reasons. I think parents' schedules neccessitate it...and there is no judgement there. Parents NEED to work, or go to school and kids need a safe, sound place to be...BUT they do not NEED to go, you know?

So...I am wavering here, too...I still haven't heard from the Montessori school if we were "accepted" or not...but I am more leaning to Tiredx2 the idea of sending her three days a week to my school's day-care, which is more like a play-group...

BUT dd is having a lot of seperation anxiety lately. She wants tocome EVERYWHERE with me.
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#14 of 25 Old 07-24-2004, 03:24 PM
 
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These expensive pre-K's are driving me nuts. Out here it seems like it is basically a scam. If you get your kid into Blah de Blah Academy's preschool (at $10k or more/year) you have virtually guaranteed acceptance to Kinder, and then first, etc.... it is basically, IMO, a scheme to get you to pay upwards of $20,000 to secure your child a spot on a prestigious school.
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#15 of 25 Old 07-24-2004, 03:38 PM
 
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Whisper,

I live in NYC, and I am a preschool teacher so my ds goes to my school for free. However, I teach at a school where full time (9:00-3:00) costs $12,800 - there is no break for siblings either. We follow the public school calendar - so parents pay extra for childcare during holidays and summer, early bird and extended day.

My son goes to school 3.5 hours a day - those are the hours I work. If I did not have to work for financial reasons (I was a SAHM for 2.8 years), then he would be home with me. If I had to pay to send him to school - it would not pay for me to work. So, for me any tuition is too much.

Are there parent cooperative preschools by you? They are usually considerably less expensive - and more AP friendly.

~Laura
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#16 of 25 Old 07-25-2004, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your responses

Laura Seeing as you work in the preschool, do you think, even from your perspective as teacher that the children receive a better education than one-on-one? What about playtime with the othe kids?

I did not worry about that last thing with my other kids...but I do with this little dd because her siblings are so much older and she LOVES to play with kids. BUT she has a big seperation anxiety lately.
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#17 of 25 Old 07-25-2004, 02:06 PM
 
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Whisper,

Honestly, I am a preschool teacher who does not believe preschool is necessary *unless* both parents have to work or go to school (as in your case). I do not think that children need to be in a group setting to develop social skills - and some children are not ready to be in group settings (which is why so many children are having difficulties and are being evaluated).

If you have to be away from your child out of necessity, personally and from what I have witnessed, a high quality preschool is better than hiring a babysitter. At least with a preschool there is a system of checks and balances. A few other pearls: make sure the staff is qualified (through certification and/or experience), visit the school frequently (before and after you enroll your daughter - if a school does not have an "open door" policy for parents be very weary), make sure there is a good teacher to child ratio.

Feel free to ask any other questions,
Laura
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#18 of 25 Old 07-25-2004, 05:20 PM
 
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Be careful of Montessoris though. I had a horrible experience at a local private very well known Montessori. They charged $500 a month for 2 days a week, 2 hours each day!!! Ds is an only child, I loved the school and and I okayed it. He started in the toddlers class. Since we are bi-lingual, DS is not very fluent in English. He was 2 years old then. He is 2.5 now. The teacher expected him to sit still, follow all commands, play independently, take off his own jacket and hang it up, etc etc and communicate fluently with her!!!! She complained to the director that DS was very active, needed snacks and diaper changes (DS has ezcema) every 2 hors and she was fed up because DS wouldnt talk to her. I mean in a class of 18 months to 2.5 year olds, what the heck do they expect??!! I got him out after only 3 weeks !
He goes to a beautiful informal preschool now , much more reasonable and he's learning so much and talking!! So Montessori is not necessarily the gold standard. Even the international Montessori board has a clear disclaimer about individual schools having their own interpretation of Montessori philosophy.
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#19 of 25 Old 07-28-2004, 06:56 AM
 
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Well, it is hard to just give a number. There are great, I mean WONDERFUL, preschools where I live that charge $58 a month (co-ops run through the community colleges - kids go two half days a week, and parent works in the classroom one of those days each week). Both dd1 and dd2 went to this (it was only $38 a month when dd1 went!) and no one can tell me that they could have gotten anything better at an expensive preschool.

That said, the second year of preschool (for each of them) was at a classic drop off (not Montessori or religious, just your "regular" preschool for lack of a better term....) Half days, four days a week. Dd1's (four years ago) was $200 a month. Dd2's (this fall) will be $330 a month and that is a little steep for my taste but it is a GREAT school and I have a gut feel that it is "the" place for dd. To do the math and think we will fork out over three grand for preschool this year is hard to swallow. But it is heads and shoulders above all the many, many other preschools I researched within a 30 minute drive of my house. It is not about the location or the reputation or the type of toys - for me it is about the incredible respect the teachers show the children. How they treat them. What I think that "says" to the child to be given responsibility, to be in a developmentally appropriate environment, to be respected and valued. You can find that in a preschool that costs $58 or $500 a month - depends on the teacher.

I would not go into debt to send my child to a certain preschool. If you can afford an expensive preschool that you've fallen in love with then great - I agree with another poster that no amount is too much. But if it will cause financial trouble for your family, then it is too much. Keep looking and see if there is something out there (that you may not even know about yet?) that would be perfect for your child.

Good luck deciding - it is always a lot of work to come to a decision you feel good about. But you will just know when you get there!
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#20 of 25 Old 07-31-2004, 08:28 PM
 
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"The other thing I dislike is the mentality out there that kids NEED to go to preschool...I do not think they NEED to go for intellectual reasons."

I fully agree with this statement. It's so good to hear other Mamas who resonate with this. I guess I feel a certain pressure w/ other Moms who send their kiddos to preschool and some as early as 2.5 yo.

I agree w/ the other Mamas that cost doesn't always equal quality & finding a school that ISN'T a Montessori, but is a good fit for your dc might be another option.

Christina
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#21 of 25 Old 08-02-2004, 04:40 PM
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I don't know about in-home daycare, but it's absolutely true that you'll pay less (at $5,000 per year) for the preschool you mentioned than you would for, say, individual child care (via a nanny, e.g.).

I moved dd from a nanny (very, very expensive - you're paying the person's full time salary plus taxes plus any benefits) to a Montessori preschool right about when she turned three. It has worked very well for us so far. Dd loves being able to socialize, likes her teachers, and enjoys the activities (largely outdoor time, self-directed "work" (which she calls "playing" ), and "circle time," where the children are read stories and sing songs in a group). OTOH, I've only been working part-time this summer, and so only have her in school in the mornings. This will change in a few weeks, when I return to full-time work. She'll also be moving up a class, so we'll see how all the transitions go.

When she's in full time, we'll be paying about $6,000 per year for her tuition (not including summer months and any extra babysitting time necessary for care during school breaks). We're just south/southwest of Houston.
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#22 of 25 Old 08-06-2004, 11:29 PM
 
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Just a quick comment. Think about where the money goes.
I was a pre-school teacher at a co-op in nc for six years. When I left I was making a little over 12.00 an hour. I had great benifits as well. Consequently, the school had low turnover and *most* of the teachers really loved their job. You want your children's teachers to be well compensated for the time they spend with your kids!

Mama to ds 6/00 and dd 1/09
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#23 of 25 Old 08-09-2004, 04:01 PM
 
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Well we have been sending our kids to the Early Childhood Family Education preschool and that is $750 for the whole year.3 half days / week. No WAY $5000 is in our budget.I am very involved in the ECFE program and talk with the teacher before and after class. Quality does not have to be $$$.
You pay alot for a fancy name sometimes.
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#24 of 25 Old 08-10-2004, 11:13 PM
 
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Well, I'll be paying $500/month for Montessori. But I am already paying that for her preschool/daycare. In fact, Montessori will be slightly less than her preschool.

Another thing to keep in mind is how long are thse programs? My dd will be going for 6-7 hours/day 5 days a week. So that's a decent price for that much care, and in fact, as I said, it is less than I would pay in daycare for that amount of time.

I don't have the choice of staying home. If I were a sahm, though, I'd probably only send her to a shorter program of 3-4 hours/day for 3 days a week at this age, which is much cheaper, about $200/month.
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#25 of 25 Old 08-10-2004, 11:44 PM
 
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I choose to stay home and that would mean that I have to choose to take care of my kids most of the time.Paying for child care is not an option( $ wise and parenting style wise)
We have choosen to do a preschool program for our kids but we can't choose one that costs a ton of $ becouse I'm home. I feel a certain amount of guilt for doing it at all. We have really gotten alot out of the experience though
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