Aug 11, 2007

Affordable Alternatives to Preschool

According to this Smart Money article, the average cost of preschool is $7,000 a year. I'm not the type to leave things like preschool research to the last minute so this wasn't news to me, but apparently the sticker price comes as a shock to some parents. And not surprisingly, there are parents who can't afford it.

The article suggests some alternatives to reduce preschool costs:
  • Parent Co-ops: "Parent co-op preschools are usually nonprofit organizations where parents take turns working in the classroom with the kids and teacher."
  • Family Childcare: "Family-child-care program guidelines vary by state and provider, so parents must do their due diligence when looking for a family child care home."
  • Home school: "Home schooling can prep a child just as well as for kindergarten as a traditional preschool."
One thing that's mentioned only obliquely is sending your child part-time, which can significantly reduce costs.

Another alternative to consider is bartering. Since many, if not most preschools are small, private businesses, you may be able to negotiate some sort of deal with the owner - say, serving as a receptionist in the office while your child's in school. One manicurist I know got a reduced rate in exchange for doing the owner's nails.

Via The Consumerist.


Anonymous said...

We did preschool at home; with a 3 year old who was already reading, it seemed the sensible choice.

Why pay someone $250 a month to teach him his letters?

We did want him to learn how to operate in a group, so we used the money for group swim lessons instead. We also found a free "preschool training" class taught by student teachers at a local high school, 2 x a week.

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

Meredith - I think that's a great alternative!