Preschool Budget

Updated on July 11, 2010
M.M. asks from San Pablo, CA
26 answers

Hello Ladies,
This may be a dumn question, but Im a first time mom and first time at almost everything. Im just wondering if there's such a thing as free preschool? From what I understand, you have to pay preschool but not elementary school (unless is a private school).

Any help will be appreciate it ;)

Thank you

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C.D.

answers from San Francisco on

There is free preschool if you are low income, like the Headstart program, Some preschools offer financial aid but those schools are usually expensive but may be worth looking into
good luck

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L.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I do know that Kidango offers financial assistance if you qualify. my son goes to Kidango Cabello, and we love his teachers Miss Dolly and Teacher Dodji. kidango is on the web.

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L.G.

answers from San Francisco on

There are free preschools that you may qualify for depending on your income. Healthy start programs caters to lower income families and offers reduced/free preschool. Check with your healthy start county office to see the criteria. Also parent participatory preschools tend to be more affordable.

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S.K.

answers from Sacramento on

There are some preschool's that are state run that you can go to if for free or reduced rates based on income. If your income is too high though, you will have to pay for preschool. Since preschool is not mandatory it's not free. Some elementary schools have started "pre-k" programs for kid's that are 4-5 years old to prepare them for kindergarten. I believe your child has to be one year away from starting kindergarten to do the "pre-k" class though.

J.W.

answers from Sacramento on

If your family qualifies there are state funded preschools. It also depends on the rules of your city/ county.

Good Luck!

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J.H.

answers from Sacramento on

I see lots of mamas have mentioned the state programs, but there are also Co-op programs. The Co-op programs usually charge a reduced rate in exchange for volunteer hours from the parents. If you don't qualify for the free HeadStart/First 5 programs, you can probably find a Co-op program in which to participate.

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C.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I "second" the idea of looking into parent participation pre-schools. Not only are they cheaper, but you get to meet a lot of parents. My kids went to Cupertino Co-op Preschool which is actually in Sunnyvale by Fremont High School. They are re-doing the parking lot between the two schools this summer, so you might have to wait until Sept. to check it out.

M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Are you in Contra Costa county? If so, check out this site: http://www.firstfivecc.org/

First Five is a program that I am pretty sure is state-wide in California. We have it where I live.
I am not sure if the preschools are 100% free but I do know that they are a lot less expensive than private preschools!

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S.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Depending on where you live, there are several choices. One is a co op preschool where the cost is inexpensive per month. If you are low income qualified, there is the Headstart program. You can also check through Frist 5 of California's website http://www.ccfc.ca.gov/Help/preschool.asp to get you started. Good luck!

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L.P.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I am not in CA but it depends on your area/city and school districts. Where I live preschool is free (at age 4) in the elementary schools. It is free but is first come first serve in regards to enrollment and they only take a limited amount of children as the preschool classes small.

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D.W.

answers from Gainesville on

You have to check with your particular area/state. In Florida we have VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten for 4 year olds) which is free in public and private schools. To attend VPK in public school, you have to fall below certain income guidelines so everyone else that chooses to go goes to either a private school or a daycare that provides VPK.

But for children ages 2-3 years old most people have to pay for preschool. Again in Florida we have programs for children who fall under certain income limits and they attend a program called Head Start free.

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G.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Many programs offer free or low cost programs but they only have so many slots available. Headstart, Kiddango, and Firstfive have already been mentioned. If you are a stay at home mom then a low cost option for you might be a cooperative preschool. In a coop preschool, tuition is greatly reduced but you are required to work 1 day/week during class and attend bi-weekly parenting meetings. Our program is 5 day's per week 2.5 hours per day and costs $150 per month. 2 nightly meetings and a few other requirements. The nice thing is you can stay with your child and you really have a say on what goes on in the school. Check if your local Adult School offers this program!

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A.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Depends on your area....some elementary school campuses offer free pre-schools, while some you have to pay for. First 5/Head Start provides free pre-school to some families as well.

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L.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I do know that Kidango offers financial assistance if you qualify. my son goes to Kidango Cabello, and we love his teachers Miss Dolly and Teacher Dodji. kidango is on the web.

K.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I see youre in San Pablo...there's a preschool there called Kindercare in the Raley's shopping center. My sister's kids went Kinercare (but in the Irvine area) & she got some kind of tax break as in she could write part of the tuition off on her taxes but she had to send her kids there. Check in w/your employers& see what they offer. Some schools may also offer financial assistance or let you pay on a sliding scale depending on your income.

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L.G.

answers from Sacramento on

check with your local school district....where I live there are some free preschool classes! Some are based upon income, sometimes you can do a partial pay if income indicates that....also if your child has a special need, speech therapy, or physical therapy etc. you may be able to get free preschool..... some private preschools can be very expensive....another thing you can check is through the local park district or a city program......good luck

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C.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Depending on your income, preschool can be free. If you make over what the state requires, you do pay for preschool.

Preschools vary widely. From state preschools to private preschools. Their curriculum varies too. Some are more play oriented and some are more academic.

With the pressure on elementary schools to increase test scores, the academic demands have increased in each grade. Kindergartners are not only required to know their alphabet but to be able to read by the time they are ready for 1st grade.

When deciding on your preschool, choose one that is developmentally appropriate in terms of how they deliver their academics and make sure that they allow for all kinds of play (outside, blocks, painting, imaginative, etc...)

Good luck. I live in the Bay Area too. You should have plenty of choices when making your decision.

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S.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

Here we do not have free preschool since it is not mandatory. However, depending on your income, you may be able to do HeadStart, which is a pre-school program or ECFE/ECSE. I would contact your county and find out if you qualify for either.

Good luck.

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I.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Check with your local college, junior college and high school. Either of them may offer a child deveopment program that includes a preschool format for local toddlers a couple of days a week.

N.J.

answers from San Francisco on

I am guessing you have come here from one of those wonderful countries where they give moms a year paid leave after they have a baby and then pthe government provides free child care and pre schoold education and free schooling even in university. Some countries do have their priorities in a better place than we do. u

Unless you have a relative who is willing to provide free pre school education because they are educated to do so and love your child and have the time and financial ability to do this, you will have to pay to educate your children until they are eligible for free Kindergarten through grade 12. Sorry it is so ...Maybe we can elect people who will change this for the better..

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L.M.

answers from New York on

Both my daughter's went to preschool for free (each in a different program) through our local public school system. Contact your Board of Education to see if there are any programs in your area.

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D.S.

answers from San Francisco on

M., Free is all relative even when it comes to elementary school becasue today one gets to buy all the supplies that used to come free-- or it would not be worth the teachers working for them to do it. Can you tell that my husband was a teacher?
As for the Pre-School question, we had 2 of ours in a CO-OP that we did not pay for but I guess it depends on how it is funded. You might check with your school district, also if Head Start (may have a new name) has room after all the oter children are placed in the program we were ablr to have 1 go to that. You might also see if there is a charter school or a parents group that share the responsibilities. We had one for a year where each day 1 parent was in charge of the day. We had a theme for the day and all learning went arounf that theme. Example Lady bugs: gardening, learn about the earth, find out where laddybugs come from etc. Each mom took her turn for 4 hours and it was only 5 children so worked out fine. 1 mom was really into music so the kids loved her day!
Good Luck

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A.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

I would check in your area. Here in Orange County we have state preschool that is half day preschool and is free provided/paid for by the state. In order to enroll you have to put your name on the Centralized Eligibility List and then the local agencies contact you. Every county has a CEL, so I would see about adding your name if that is what you are interested in. Preschool depending on the area can be quite pricey, especially with any of the Kindercares or Tutor Times. You may be able to find smaller preschools, through your school district or private,which are more reasonable.

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

We do here, if you qualify financially. It's called HeadStart.

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K.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi,
Depending upon your socio-economic background you may qualify for free- preschool through your public school district. Or if your child has speech delays he/she could qualify for free public speech preschool through your local public school. Call your local public school and ask them your questions, they should be helpful.
Good Luck!

D.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

I agree that it can't hurt to call your local school system, Department of Education and see what they say.

Usually, however, preschools are not free. Public schools are, but you may have to pay for textbook rental. Private schools receive NO funding from the state, and you pay tuition to attend.

You may want to check to see if there are Charter Schools in your area. They're gaining in popularity and often focus on a specific emphasis offering kids from less well-off backgrounds to have better educational opportunities (if that's a concern).

C.D.

answers from San Francisco on

There is free preschool if you are low income, like the Headstart program, Some preschools offer financial aid but those schools are usually expensive but may be worth looking into
good luck

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