How Much Does Kindergarten Cost?

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$ Public Kindergarten: Free to $5,000+ $ $ Private Kindergarten: $3,000-$34,000+

Kindergarten is an introduction to formal school and provided by both public and private schools.

It is a setting for five-year-olds to prepare them for first grade.

The most popular and wide-spread are the half-day programs of approx.

3 hours, however, many schools are now offering full-day programs of approx. 6 hours.

Typical Costs

A free half-day kindergarten program is offered by the public schools for the district residents.

Popular Programs

Some public schools provide a full-day program for free, while others require a fee of $1,000-$5,000 from September to May.

Bellingham Public Schools in Washington and Rockford Public Schools in Illinois provide full-day kindergarten programs that cost nothing to district families.

However, Denver Public Schools in Colorado has a free half-day kindergarten and a full-day program that costs $310 a month for Denver residents and $365 a month for non-residents.

The annual tuition at the private school kindergartens ranges between $3,000-$34,000 based on the school reputation, the school hours per day, and the teacher-pupil ratio.

St. Boniface School in Fort Smith, AR full-day kindergarten costs $2,990 for parishioners children and $5,339 for non-parishioners.

What Is Included

  • Some of the typical objectives cover the development of student confidence and self-esteem in a classroom setting; practising cooperation and problem-solving; learning social, emotional and study skills.
  • The elements of a good kindergarten program can be found at
  • In certain states, kindergarten is optional, and in others, it is mandatory.
  • The kindergarten requirements by the state in 2011 are listed in the National Center for Education Statistics charts.
  • Whether a public school charges tuition for full-day kindergarten varies from district to district.
  • offers a detailed map of full-day kindergarten tuition rates in Massachusetts in 2011-2012, where most communities offer free full-day kindergarten.

Additional Costs

The public school lunch is $2.08 on average or $3.42 for a bag lunch, based on information by the School Nutrition Association.

Free or reduced-price 40 cents maximum lunch is offered to the low-income students.

The cost of lunch is sometimes included in the tuition fee by some private schools.

Or an annual charge of $25-$1,000 or more is applied.

For example, the Swain School in Allentown, PA, has a $745 annual kindergarten lunch fee.

Most public schools usually offer free bus service for low-income students.

Other students need to get an annual bus pass for $100-$325 or more.

For example, Jeffco Public School in Colorado charges each child $150-$200 for a bus ride to school, and the half-day kindergarten pass costs $75-$100.

In private schools, parents may be responsible for providing transportation, or it can cost $300-$2,000 or more.

Ravenscroft in Raleigh, NC, for example, charges annual bus fees of $360-$1,750, based on the student’s location.

For working parents, before and after care is offered to working parents for a sum of $100-$500 or more per month at public schools.

This service could be free for low-income students or can cost up to $300-$800 or more per month at private schools.

Some of the private schools apply a one-time-only “new family” capital fee of $1,000-$2,000 or more.

This is a contribution to the ongoing facility maintenance for families enrolling a child in the school for the first time.

The new family fee at Fort Worth Christian School in Texas, for example, is $1,500.


There is a sibling discount provided at many private schools for several students from the same family.

Saint Joseph Academy in Bogota, NJ is charging standard tuition of $7,980 for the one child, $11,760 for two children and $17,320 for three kids.

The parents participating in specified fund-raising and school-support activities pay $4,100 for one child, $6,500 for two and $7,560 for three children.

In some cases, the kindergarten tuition might qualify for an income tax credit.

Shopping For Kindergarten

  • Many schools organize an open house or guided tours before starting kindergarten enrollment.
  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children lists the top 10 signs of a good kindergarten classroom.
  • helps parents decide between half- and full-day kindergarten.
  • The National Association of Independent Schools, National Catholic Educational Association, American Montessori Society or Association of Waldorf Schools of North America have local public schools members.

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