Will Your Child Attend Pre-K if You Have to Pay Tuition?
Pre-K. As parents we hear it is an important step for children, as it helps them learn the school routine and socialize before being thrown into a kindergarten class filled with 22 children.
The problem? Not all states offer free or reduced cost pre-K programs, which leaves some parents interested in sending kids to pre-K stranded. In the 2010-2011 school year, twenty-eight percent of four year olds were enrolled in some type of state funded preschool program; but budget cuts in early childhood education could halt progress. And while states such as Hawaii that don’t offer state financed plans, are looking into adding the program these budget cuts might make that tough to do.
We happen to live in a state that offers a free pre-K program, but you have to be chosen through the lottery system to attend. If not, you either make a choice to pay for a pre-K program at a local church or business, or you wait another year and start your child off in kindergarten rather than pre-K.
Both of my children attended a half-day pre-K program. They went for three days per week when they were three and the year before kindergarten each attended a five day a week, half day program at a nearby church. We were very pleased with the program and felt it gave them an outlet away from home and parents, where they learned to learn to listen to other adults, socialize with children, and follow a ‘school-type’ day before the stresses of reading, writing and ‘rithmetic were added in.
Friends of mine had different experiences when it came to pre-K. Several had children that were accepted into the full day state program; others had children that were not. Some chose to send their children to a private pre-K program, like the one we did, which meant paying tuition; others chose to keep their children at home until kindergarten.
Some of my friends who kept their children at home did so because of the tuition. Not everyone can afford over a hundred dollars each month to send their child to pre-K; and if you have more than one child that needs to go, it gets even tougher. It would be great if all states would figure out a way to make free or reduced-cost pre-K an option for parents, especially as curriculum for kindergarteners continually grows tougher (my K student is now learning how to add and subtract!).
Where does your state and family fall in the pre-K spectrum? Can you attend a state-funded program? If not, will you pay for your child to attend pre-K? Or will your child skip pre-K altogether due to cost or other reasons?
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