An Investment in the Future: School & Childcare Costs
Whether you need childcare because of work commitments or you are looking for a social and educational setting for your child to learn and grow, you may wonder what factors should be considered before committing to a program.
The early years are crucial learning years. From birth through age 5, children learn many of the fundamental skills they need to be successful in school and even as adults. Therefore, quality of care is critical. Once you have found a program that you believe best meets the needs of your child, the next step is figuring out how to make it happen.
The costs of programs vary greatly. Factors which influence costs may include:
- Education and experience of educators
- Quality of facility and program materials
- Whether items like meals, snacks, and diapers etc. are included in tuition
- The hours of the program (i.e. does the program run from 9am-3pm daily with additional charges for children who need to remain onsite after 3pm?)
Quality care is not cheap. Consider your child's education like you would any other investment. It's an investment in your child's personal safety, growth, and education. Even if you feel strongly about the value of the program, you may wonder if you can make it happen financially.
Before turning away from a program which you are passionate about, be sure to explore the following:
- Does the school provide any scholarships?
- Are payment plans for tuition available (i.e. can tuition be paid weekly, monthly, or is there any type of discount for paying the tuition upfront)?
- Does your family qualify for other financial assistance (i.e. low income/financial-need)?
As you consider programs, you may need to think about how this investment is balanced with the other financial commitments your family has. If you have found “the right program” for your child, leave no stone unturned in looking at how you can make the program happen for your child. For instance, you may decide that a week camping is a good compromise, affording your family that annual vacation without a hefty expense that accompanies other vacation destinations. Consider whether there are any other options for reducing other expenses in the household. Expense reductions may come from groceries, dry-cleaning, or simply cutting back on eating out at restaurants.
Early education impacts a child's life. Programs come in all sizes, formats and, of course, costs. Find the one that best meets the needs of your child and invest in their future. The return is worth it.