Private Preschools: Are They Really Worth It?

This guest post hit home with me.  My child is now in kindergarten and while other mothers opted for private preschools, I chose to keep my child in a 2 day Mother’s Day Out program from 9:30 – 2:30.  My son is now behind in school and is receiving tutoring through Sylvan.  Did I make the right choice?

Private Preschools: Are They Really Worth It?

All parents want to place their children on the “educational fast track.” But, where exactly does that begin? The educational fast track is the belief that your current school will determine the quality of your next school. So, if you want to be accepted into an elite college, you need to attend an elite high school. And to get into an elite high school, you need to attend a great middle school, and so on. There is actually a lot of truth in this belief. Some parents think that this fast track starts in preschool and are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to help get their kids on it as soon as possible. In big cities, private preschools’ tuition can range from a few thousand dollars all the way to about $35,000, according to Forbes. But, before we all start screaming outlandish – think about it for a second. Some of these private preschools are very well connected to the elite elementary schools. Some are even under the same name, and others are sister schools.

So, when you start paying money to these schools, you work your way into their system, making it a lot easier to be accepted into their connected elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. Essentially, sending your child to a $30,000 a year preschool can potentially ensure he/she will be at an elite school as an eighth grader, which could lead to a great high school and college. That’s assuming you can actually get in to one of these preschools. Typically, parents call several schools just to get an application. If they are granted one, they have a mad rush to return it by a certain deadline. If, the school is interested, they and their child will be invited to an interview (a play date). Other schools may opt to meet with just the parents and ask probing questions, trying to figure out how much money they make. They want to know how big of a donor you will be, which can help your chances of being accepted.

Then you wait, and wait, and wait. Most interviews are conducted in September, and you probably won’t hear back until March.
The curriculum at some of these schools can be very impressive, as students are taught basic foreign language, computer, drama, music and science skills. Classes are also a lot smaller, and most private preschools have a 9:1 teacher ratio, instead of 17:1 ratio common at public preschools, according to SuperPages.com So, yes students are doing a little more than hammering plastic nails and playing with building blocks. ISEE tutors are also a great option for your child’s academic progress.

With the way education is evolving, Kindergarten is the new 1st grade, and it won’t take long until preschool is the new Kindergarten. Competition for elite schools at all levels is as high as it’s ever been. These schools can offer very valuable experiences, and help place and keep children on “the fast track.” But, if you are considering private preschools, find out what elementary schools they are connected to and what opportunities these schools could create. A well-connected private school could help place your child on the fast track, but you better make sure it will before you sign off up to $30,000.

Students can still enter into elite elementary schools, middle schools and high schools with great entrance test scores. But, it never hurts to start throwing money into their school systems early. Test scores talk, but money can too.

This guest post article was written and provided by Marissa Krause who is a stay at home mother and homeschools her children with the help of VarsityTutors.com.