Last year I wrote a blog post comparing the cost of Montessori to traditional preschools and daycare. A lot of readers clicked on that blog, so I figured the topic of childcare costs was worth revisiting. When I went to update my statistics from ChildCare Aware of America, I ended up reading the entire 2014 Parents and the High Cost of Child Care Report because of the wealth of information it included. You can download the full report but if you’re like me and feel like there’s never enough time to read all the things you want to, I’m going to summarize a few of the main points that spoke to me.
The Cost of Quality Childcare Education in Minnesota
Child care costs consume a major portion of family expenses. Average expenses for child care can rival expenses for housing, transportation, and even tuition and fees for public colleges! In fact, the cost of full-time center-based care for two children is the highest single household expense in all parts of the U.S. except the West (in which case child care is surpassed only by the cost of housing in the average family budget).
However, even with the high cost of care, most child care settings do not rank highly on quality indicators. Nationally, it is estimated that less than 10% of child care is of sufficient quality to positively impact children’s outcomes. Over 80% of child care centers are merely of “fair” quality. Higher costs often correlate with better educated teachers, nicer facilities and high-quality activities and materials.
Minnesota is the fourth most expensive state for center-based child care
for a four-year-old, with the average annual cost of care being $10,812.
Quality Childcare is Important
While parents are children’s first and most important teachers, child care programs provide early learning opportunities for millions of young children daily, having a profound impact on their development and readiness for school. Longitudinal studies show that children in high-quality programs:
- Do better in school.
- Are less likely to require special education services
- Are more likely to attend college
- Are more likely to earn higher wages and pay more in taxes.
- Are less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system.
Children in higher quality early learning programs have better cognitive outcomes, including measurably better reading, math skills, language/vocabulary, and applied problem solving. Children in higher quality early learning programs also have measurably better non-cognitive outcomes, to include better executive function and better skills participating in a group.
The report also included sections on funding for child care, expanding access to quality, affordable child care, and recommendations for maintaining a national discussion about the costs and value of high-quality child care. These are clearly all important areas but were less relevant to me as a mom just trying to make the best decisions possible for me and my children.
Montessori is the Ultimate in Early Childhood Education
I try my best to be unbiased about the quality of a Montessori education. But that's hard for many people to believe, so here is an unbiased professor of neurology who talks about the quality of the Montessori method of early childhood education.
The Bottom Line for Child Care Costs in Minnesota
If you’ve been looking around at childcare centers, you have probably already figured out that those of us in Minnesota are lucky – we have access to a large number of very high-quality child care centers. As I’ve said before, the most important thing is to choose a childcare option for your child that they love, that you feel good about and that fits your family budget. But please don’t assume that you can’t afford Montessori. At White Bear Montessori School our Toddler tuition starts at $7,300 and goes to $12,150 for full-time, five days a week.
We also offer:
- before and after-school care for $7.50 - $8.50/hour.
- Tuition assistance is available to all eligible families to the extent that funds are available.
See our full 2015-2016 Tuition and Fees for Toddler and Children's House / Elementary Programs. If you have any questions about tuition or financial aid, please contact us to help you figure out how to afford this wonderful method of education your children. Where there's a will, there's a way.