How Much Does Preschool Cost?

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$ Co-op Preschool: $250-$1,000+ annually $ $ Standard Preschool: $3,000-$20,000+ annually

Preschools and day care centers are often accepted as one as the differences between them are not clear cut.

As a rule, preschools are welcoming three and four years old children that are toilet-trained children and some even accept two- and five-year-old students.

Preschools usually come with a part-time schedule of two to four hours a day, two to five days a week.

They are open through the a school year between September and May, and are closed for holidays and school breaks.

Some of the preschools offer extended care daily and summer hours and in this way working parents can leave their children all day.

In general, the day care centers offer all-day, year-round care and are welcoming from infants in diapers to school age children.

These day care centers come with or without formal class time.

Typical Costs

The tuition fee for the pre-school can cost $3,000-$20,000 or more a year at both public and private schools, depending on several functions: the location and the school reputation, the school day length and the number of days attended per week.

It is also imporant if that is a 10-month school calendar or a year-round one.

The average preschool costs in Minnesota in July 2012 were $157-$225 per week, which is $6,750-$9,680 for 10 months and $8,100-$11,616 for 12 months.

At the same time , West Maple Elementary School in Birmingham Public Schools in Bloomfield Hills, MI costs $1,650 for a half-day, twice-a-week class for three-year-olds to $8,800 for a full-day program (8:45am-3:45pm) five days a week for four-year-olds.

Another example is Catlin Gabel school in Portland, OR which has a preschool tuition of $19,200 for a five-hour program, five days a week.

There is also an option for parent-run cooperative preschools, which cost $250-$1,000 a year, based on location, school day length and the number of days per week.

However parents are expected to attend school meetings and clean-up days, to assist in the classroom, and to participate in school fund-raising.

For example, South Hill Cooperative Preschool in Puyallup, WA has a tuition fee of about $270-$720 per year, however parents must assist in the classroom twice a month and participate in two to four fundraisers per year.

They should also serve on a committee or the board, participate in school cleaning days, and also attend parent meetings and education classes.

What is Included

  • Preschool teaches children to play with the other kids while developing early reading and math skills through fun activities – creating a craft project, playing with containers in a sand box, and listening as a story is read aloud.
  • Most of the preschools follow a specific educational philosophy – child-centered education, Montessory or Waldorf.
  • The most common ages for preschool are three and four years old, and classroom are typically separated by ages.
  • There are separate rooms for three-year-olds and for four-year-olds, and ages may mix for outdoor play.

Additional Costs

  • Most preschools are non-profit, and parents are expected to contribute generously to different fund-raising campaigns, which can end at $200-$1,000 or more annually.
  • Preschools offer many extra fees, such as application fees of $50-$100 a year; material and book fees of $200-$500 a year; and field trip fees of $50-$300 or more.
  • The Swain School in Allentown, PA, for example, charges a preschool activities fee of $245 for field trips, consumable books, the AlertNow home-school communication system, a yearbook, and supplies.
  • When the school day lasts longer than a few hours, parents should provide the student’s lunch or pay an extra $30-$100 a month for a school-provided meal.
  • Sounds of Success Preschool & Learning Center in Hawaii, for example, offers a catered lunch for about $50 a month.


The cost is lowered by paying tuition in full or in fewer installments.

Some schools offer sibling discounts of 5%-25% for multiple children from the same family.

Grace Community Preschool in Eugene, OR, for example, gives a 10% discount if the full tuition is paid by the first day of school, and a 20% sibling discount for a family’s second child.

Shopping For Preschool

  • Pay a visit to the preschool, observe how the teachers and children interact.
  • Inquire about the school’s educational philosophy.
  • Check the parents magazine for preschool matters and which gives tips for choosing a preschool.
  • Try the local child care agencies offered at, that lists family child care resources by state.

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