Preschool is an important step that young children can really benefit from. It can aid in academic achievement, school success, kindergarten readiness, heightened literacy and math skills, social and emotional development and social progress.
Unfortunately if you have ever looked into preschool, you know how expensive it can be. Luckily, there are some things you can do to save some money on the cost of preschool. Here is our list.
Do Some Shopping
The first and easiest way to find the cheapest preschool in your area is to do some shopping around. Do not just sign up at the first school you see, even if it meets your criteria. In certain cities, some schools may be double or triple the price of others. Does it mean they are better preschools? Not necessarily. Some schools can keep their costs down by getting parents to volunteer and others are state or church run and are funded. Look at as least 2-3 schools before deciding. Compare prices, but also compare the curriculum and how comfortable you are with the school and the staff.
Ask Other Parents
Parents who have been there, done that are the best resource for finding the best price on preschool. By asking knowledgeable parents, you can get an idea of which schools are the cheapest, which are cost more but are worth it or which you can skip altogether. Talk to as many parents as you can. You will likely get completely different answers, but at least you will have a starting point. If you are looking from something specific in a school, for example if they are allergy-friendly or if they allow un-potty trained children, ask the right questions that will lead you in the direction of schools you should be looking at.
If you find a school you really like, ask if you are cut some costs if you volunteer. You will still have to pay tuition, but you may be able to get at least a little break on the amount. An added bonus to this is that you will get to be in the same environment as your child, and you get an idea of what goes on and how he or she is doing.
Ask for a Sibling Discount
If you have more than one child that will be going to preschool at the same time, check to see if any schools offer sibling discounts. Many schools do offer some sort of discount, but do not tell you unless you ask. Also, if this is your second child going through preschool, check with the school your oldest attended to see if they offer a discount for sending another child there.
Look for Financial Aid
Some schools offer financial aid to those who qualify. You may also want to look into federal and state programs that provide financial aid for school-aged children. Also, if you truly have a low household income, consider applying for state-run or free preschools. You will have to provide proof of your income and qualify for services, but if you do qualify, you can save a ton of money.
Go Only Part Time
Another way to keep the cost of preschool down is to send your child only part time. Some preschools offer a half-day schedule or an alternate schedule where you go only 2 or 3 days out of the week. Your child will still get the benefits of socializing with other kids, learning how to take instruction from a teacher and getting used to a school setting.
Do It Yourself
This option will not be for everyone, but if you have the opportunity to be at home with your child, you can consider homeschooling your preschooler. You child may miss out on the social aspect of a traditional preschool, but you can easily supplement with extracurricular activities such as sports, music or art classes. If you decide to go this route, here is a list of skills you should be working on with your preschooler to get him or her ready for kindergarten.
- Academic skills: Recognize and say the alphabet, recognize his or her own name when it is written out, recognize and count to 10, know the names of the basic colors. Depending on the school district, your child may or may not need to know how to read before kindergarten. It is important for your child to know the alphabet and if possible, the sounds each letter makes, but check with your district to find out the requirements for how much he or she must know.
- Physical skills: Use the restroom, wash hands, put on clothes, catch a ball, stack blocks, walk up and down stairs, use crayons, use safety scissors and a glue stick, put away toys where they belong.
- Social skills: Takes turns and shares, follows directions, sits quietly in a group setting, eats properly, respects other children and adults, respects others’ belongings, expresses feelings clearly.
If you are planning to homeschool your preschooler, or even if you aren’t, take advantage of free learning experiences to supplement your child’s education. Many museums have free or discounted days, and it is a great way to teach your child about history and science. A day of fun at the zoo or aquarium can be turned into a learning experience. A walk in the park can be a nature lesson. Get together a group a playgroup for some social interaction. Just about anything can be turned into a learning experience if you talk to your child and explain things along the way.
There are certain skills that a child should know before he or she starts kindergarten that will give them an extra advantage before jumping into elementary. Preschool is a step in your child’s education that can encourage kindergarten readiness, enhance and strengthen social skills and teach your child how to listen to someone other than a parent. With all the benefits that preschool that brings, many parents are put off when they see the high price of tuition. If you are looking for a preschool for your young child, use any of these tips to help you reduce the cost of the tuition.