How Much Does Pre-Kindergarten Programs Cost?

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$ $ Public Pre-K Programs: Free (eligibility varies by state) $ $ $ Public Pre-KPrivate Pre-K Programs: $3,000-$18,000+

Pre-kindergarten programs are provided by public elementary schools, private elementary schools, day-care centers, preschools, churches, YMCAs, and other community facilities.

They are arranged to prepare four-year-old children for kindergarten, which in nowadays more academically-oriented.

Often called PK and pre-K, the pre-kindergarten programs are focused on building of skills and academics compared to the standard preschool programs and the child day-care.

Typical Costs

Public pre-kindergarten programs access depends by the state.

Some states provide pre-K only for students from homeless or economically disadvantaged families, and others secure voluntary programs so students can register at public and private pre-K centers.

Georgia, New York and Tennessee, for example, offer voluntary pre-k programs for all children at the age of 4 for free using different public schools and private centers.

At the same time Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts guarantee free half- and full-day pre-kindergarten to kids aged 3 to 5 years, who are have special needs, come from low-income families, or are English language learners.

The price of the private pre-kindergarten programs are in the range between $3,000-$18,000 for a 10-month school year based on the school reputation,the number of days the children attended, the number of hours each day, and the ratio student-teacher ratio.

Heritage Christian School in North Liberty, IA, for exampe, secures pre-K class for 5 hours each day for $2,270 for twice a week, $3,014 for three times a week and $4,688 for five days.

As a comparison, The Walker School in Marietta, GA has a school-year tuition of $10,730 for a half-day (7:30am-noon), and $13,390 for a full day (7:30am-2:30pm).

There is a full-day-plus (7am-6pm) option for $14,460,a year-round full-day-plus for $15,530.

What Is Included

  • Being optional, pre-kindergarten is not required as part of the standard education. The focus of the pre-K programs is to help children develop emotionally and academically, physicially and socially.
  • Lists of the pre-K goals is available at Triangle Presbyterian Preschool & Kindergarten in Durham, NC.
  • The Center for Public Education is offering a summary of research aiming at the benefits of the pre-kindergarten.

Additional Costs

Additional costs are required by some schools and cover meals and snacks, meals, beverages and supplies, transportation and field trips.

The costs vary from $25-$1,000 based on what is included.

The Swain School in Allentown, PA, for example, charges $600 for lunch four days a week or $745 for five days; $88 for a beverage four days a week or $110 for five days; and a $245 prekindergarten activity fee that includes consumable books, trips, a yearbook and other supplies.


Certain pre-K schools secure a 5%-25% sibling discount when there are more children from one family.

The Community Christian School in Willmar, MN provides a 10% discount for the second child in a family, then 15% for the third child, 25% for the fourth and 100% for the fifth.

Shopping For Pre-Garden Programs

  • In order to evaluate a pre-kindergarten program, parents should visit and observe.
  • offers detailed information how to choose the right pre-kindergarten.
  • Pre-K programs could be certified by the National Association for the Education of Young Children or by state or regional accreditation agencies.
  • Interesting tip is to try the local public schools or members of the American Montessori Society or Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, the National Association of Independent Schools, National Catholic Educational Association.

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