Preschool is an affordable and appealing option for many families. Indeed, parents are surprised to learn the cost of preschool is similar to that of many other childcare options. For instance, it’s comparable to daycare centres and nursery schools.
In fact, preschool can be cheaper than other childcare options. For instance, it often costs less than finding one-on-one care for your child through a third party (such as a nanny). And it can be far cheaper to send your child to preschool than to care for your child yourself, especially if this means leaving a full-time paying job.
Tuition for preschools can be quite affordable. Preschools tend to be on the lower side of private school tuition. In fact, some preschools charge as little as $450 a month (although these are in the minority). In general, the price range for preschool is between $450 and $1300 a month, or $5400 and $16200 a year. Of course, the cost of preschool (or daycare or nursery school) depends on many factors, including location, size, approach, and programs offered.
Some alternative preschools are well-known to have reasonable tuition rates. For instance, according to the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA), the average Montessori school costs between $750 and $1000 a month. Waldorf and Reggio Emilia preschools also tend to have monthly and annual tuition that’s on the cheaper side.
Many religious-affiliated preschools are also more than affordable. For instance, many Christian, Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic schools have preschool programs with low tuition rates. Often the monthly cost is between $450 and $1100.
When considering schools you should inquire about their tuition rates and payment schedules. Many schools have flexible payment plans. They may allow you to stagger or adjust your monthly payments to enable you to cover your costs in a way that aligns with your budget and cash flow constraints. You should also ask schools what exactly is included in tuition.
Preschool questions (read our in-depth answers)
|ABC Montessori||Mississauga, Ontario||$9,200 - $9,800|
|Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School||Kelowna, British Columbia||$4,500 - $14,800|
|Académie de la Capitale||Ottawa, Ontario||$15,860 - $17,240|
|Académie St-Laurent Academy||Ottawa, Ontario||$13,000 - $17,000|
|Alexander von Humboldt German International School||Baie d'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec||$4,250 - $9,850|
|Alive Montessori & Private School||Toronto, Ontario||$13,500 - $14,500|
|ArtsCalibre Academy||Victoria, British Columbia||$4,750 - $5,850|
|Avalon Children's Montessori School||Toronto, Ontario||$13,100 - $20,400|
|École Montessori International de Montréal||Montreal, Quebec||$8,400|
|Bayview Glen - Whole Child. Whole Life. Whole World.||Toronto, Ontario||$16,995 - $24,000|
|Beyond Montessori School||St. Catharines, Ontario||$8,500|
|Bishop Hamilton Montessori School||Ottawa, Ontario||$11,975 - $15,855|
|Blooming Lives Montessori||Markham, Ontario||$12,390 - $17,928|
|Bond Academy||Toronto, Ontario||$12,500 - $15,500|
|Braemar House School||Brantford, Ontario||$12,167|
|Bright Start Academy||North York, Ontario||$25,000|
|British Columbia Christian Academy||Port Coquitlam, British Columbia||$3,800 - $14,750|
|Calgary French & International School||Calgary, Alberta||$10,810 - $12,720|
|CEFA Kelowna - McKay||Kelowna, British Columbia||$13,000 - $15,000|
|CEFA Langley - Willowbrook||Langley, British Columbia||$13,920 - $15,600|
|CEFA Richmond||Richmond, British Columbia||$16,440 - $18,420|
|Century Private School||Richmond Hill, Ontario||$12,950 - $26,800|
|CGS (Children's Garden School)||Toronto, Ontario||$14,000 - $20,000|
|Children's Garden Nursery School||Toronto, Ontario||$4,800 - $16,000|
|Clanmore Montessori School||Oakville, Ontario||$7,750 - $16,500|
|Dearcroft Montessori School||Oakville, Ontario||$17,000 - $20,500|
|Dundas Valley Montessori School / Strata Montessori Adolescent School||Ancaster, Ontario||$11,300|
|Ellington Montessori School||Toronto, Ontario||$7,900 - $14,000|
|Elmwood School||Ottawa, Ontario||$12,956 - $22,980|
|Emerson Academy||Whitby, Ontario||$12,500|
|Enquiring Minds Montessori Casa||Scarborough, Ontario||$11,750|
|Forest Hill Montessori School||Toronto, Ontario||$16,514 - $19,124|
|French 4 Tots||Pickering, Ontario||$5,200 - $11,950|
|Giles School||Toronto, Ontario||$19,800 - $20,300|
|Glenburnie School||Oakville, Ontario||$17,200 - $17,800|
|Halton Waldorf School||Burlington, Ontario||$13,650 - $14,050|
|Hawthorn School||Toronto, Ontario||$10,000 - $18,000|
|High Park Gardens Montessori School||Toronto, Ontario||$16,300 - $17,300|
|High Park Oxford Learning Academy||Toronto, Ontario||$15,000|
|Hitherfield School||Milton-Campbellville, Ontario||$11,250 - $14,250|
|J. Addison School||Markham, Ontario||$14,340 - $22,550|
|Kelowna Christian School||Kelowna, British Columbia||$4,600 - $6,500|
|Kendellhurst Academy||Mississauga, Ontario||$11,500 - $15,540|
|King Heights Academy||Woodbridge, Ontario||$12,598 - $12,998|
|Kingsway College School||Etobicoke, Ontario||$18,900 - $25,500|
|Kohai Educational Centre||Toronto, Ontario||$33,338|
|La Citadelle International Academy of Arts and Science||Toronto, Ontario||$16,750 - $20,750|
|Little Owl Preschool Elementary||Toronto, Ontario||$15,850|
|Lycée Français de Toronto||Toronto, Ontario||$14,683 - $16,935|
|Lycée Louis Pasteur||Calgary, Alberta||$12,200 - $14,300|
|Lynn-Rose Heights Private School||Mississauga, Ontario||$13,770|
|MacLachlan College||Oakville, Ontario||$9,100 - $27,500|
|Magnificent Minds||North York, Ontario||$16,000 - $21,400|
|Maples Academy||Amaranth, Ontario||$8,700 - $10,400|
|Meadow Green Academy||Mississauga, Ontario||$12,990|
|Momentum Montessori||Toronto, Ontario||$20,400|
|Monkey See Monkey Do Montessori||Vancouver, British Columbia||$4,500 - $7,500|
|Montessori Country School - Milton Campus||Milton, Ontario||$13,230|
|Montessori Country School - Nobleton Campus||Nobleton, Ontario||$16,550 - $17,465|
|Montessori Jewish Day School||Toronto, Ontario||$14,000 - $17,900|
|Mulgrave School||West Vancouver, British Columbia||$17,195 - $21,370|
|North Broward Preparatory School||Coconut Creek, Florida||$24,200 - $28,400|
|Northstar Montessori Private School||Mississauga, Ontario||$11,700 - $13,300|
|Oakville Christian School (OCS)||Oakville, Ontario||$12,160|
|Olivet School||Etobicoke, Ontario||$10,150|
|OMS Montessori||Ottawa, Ontario||$13,776 - $20,388|
|Peel Montessori Private School||Mississauga, Ontario||$14,500 - $15,000|
|Peoples Christian Academy (PCA)||Markham, Ontario||$10,140|
|Prairie Christian Academy||Three Hills, Alberta||$325 - $900|
|Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus||Richmond Hill, Ontario||$9,850 - $15,000|
|Queen Margaret's School||Duncan, British Columbia||$5,325 - $14,525|
|Richland Academy||Richmond Hill, Ontario||$16,500 - $17,800|
|River Valley School||Calgary, Alberta||$13,100|
|Roots and Wings Montessori School||Langley, British Columbia||$7,245 - $12,000|
|Rowntree Montessori Schools (RMS)||Brampton, Ontario||$4,300 - $11,700|
|Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School||Mississauga, Ontario||$11,000|
|Shining Light Montessori School||Maple, Ontario||$9,900 - $10,950|
|St. Clement's Early Learning School||Toronto, Ontario||$10,300 - $20,500|
|St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School||Oakville, Ontario||$15,000 - $26,300|
|Sunrise Montessori School||Markham, Ontario||$11,500 - $19,800|
|Taddle Creek Montessori School||Toronto, Ontario||$16,300 - $17,300|
|Tall Pines School||Brampton, Ontario||$14,530 - $19,748|
|TFS - Canada's International School||Toronto, Ontario||$17,600 - $31,100|
|TFS - Canada's International School (West Campus)||Mississauga, Ontario||$21,420 - $26,150|
|The Mildenhall School||Etobicoke, Ontario||$16,300 - $19,500|
|TMS||Richmond Hill, Ontario||$20,250 - $25,440|
|Toronto French Montessori||Toronto, Ontario||$12,150 - $15,396|
|Toronto Waldorf School||Thornhill, Ontario||$17,900 - $20,900|
|Trillium School||Markham, Ontario||$9,400 - $19,500|
|Unionville Montessori Private Schools||Unionville, Ontario||$11,750 - $13,550|
|V.I.K. Academy Ltd||Calgary, Alberta||$5,000 - $10,000|
|Vancouver Waldorf School||North Vancouver, British Columbia||$5,940 - $14,760|
|Wesley Christian Academy||Markham, Ontario||$9,880 - $12,200|
|Westside Montessori Academy||Vancouver, British Columbia||$9,125 - $10,750|
|Wishing Well Schools||Markham, Ontario||$12,370 - $12,620|
|Woodbridge Montessori School||Woodbridge, Ontario||$8,500 - $9,000|
|Yip’s Music & Montessori School||Unionville, Ontario||$10,850 - $11,200|
|York Montessori School||Richmond Hill, Ontario||$11,800 - $12,500|
In Canada, there are different ways to pay for private school. And there are many types funding and aid available. This includes schools with preschool and daycare programs for infants, toddlers, and children between three and six. The main sources of funding and aid for preschool are:
If you can demonstrate need, some schools will help finance your child’s education. They might offer you a subsidy or a bursary to help defray the costs of tuition. This can make all the difference in the world for some families.
Needs-based financial aid, for preschools or other private schools, is not tied to any merit-based criteria. Moreover, applying for needs-based aid won’t affect your child’s chances of admission. Usually, a school will first decide who they want to admit, and only then turn to the question of aid. Also, most schools will have a third party assess your financial aid application.
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for aid, you should ask. Schools tend to offer aid to more families than many people think.
There are lots of community, charitable, and non-profit organizations. These outfits can help finance your child’s education by covering part of your child’s tuition.
For instance, the Prosser Charitable Foundation’s Parent Choice Bursary pays for 50 percent of school tuition, up to $3500 annually for each child from a low-income household. Moreover, groups, such as the Rotary Club, can also help cover private school expenses.
There are also some faith-based organizations that can help you cover the cost of preschool for your child. For instance, the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC) provides financial assistance to help with the costs of attending a Christian or Catholic school. And the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) provides financial assistance to families with children in a Jewish day school.
Some preschools, like other types of private school, offer sibling discounts. The idea is that if you send more than one child to a school, you’ll may get some kind of reduction in tuition.
Some schools with this policy offer escalating discounts based on the number of children you have in a school. For instance, if you have 2 kids in a school, you receive a 10% discount in tuition. If you send 3 kids, you get a 20% discount (and so on). In some schools, though, multiple-child discounts start only when a third child enrolls.
Sibling discounts (sometimes called “sibling bursaries”) are offered by many schools and preschools. You should contact schools directly to learn whether they offer this type of financial relief.
Another way to reduce the expense of school is through a tax deduction. Many private preschools and daycares offer a tax deduction or credit. These schools allow you to deduct expenses incurred for the childcare part of the day.
In some cases, preschool tuition also counts as a tax deduction or credit. For instance, in religious-affiliated schools, parents may be able to claim a tax credit for tuition, as a charitable contribution. This applies to all schools that are registered as charities.
To get more specific information about tax relief, you should speak with an accountant. You can also read our guide to tax breaks.
“Our school’s annual tuition for preschool to SK is $9800-10,750, which includes our full-day program. There is also a $250 one-time registration fee that is applied to all new students joining our school. Additional costs include school uniforms, textbooks, school supplies, transportation (if needed), participation in school trips, and some extracurricular activities. Included in the cost of tuition is daily breakfast and hot lunch for our preschool to SK students, as well as before and after school programs. We also offer tax breaks and sibling discounts to provide some compensation for fees.” Debbie Keough, teacher at Prestige School, a gifted school, in Richmond Hill, Ontario
“Our tuition is $12,960, which is just slightly above the average in Ottawa ($12000). Our preschool tuition is slightly more than daycare and nursery school, but less than one-on-one caregivers. Some preschools offer subsidies and sibling discounts, but we do not. However, 100% of our Early Years fees can be used toward the maximum childcare cost deduction, as allowed by CRA (Canada Revenue Agency).” Elise Aylen, teacher at Elmwood School (the early years program), in Ottawa, Ontario
“Our fees are comparable to other private and public schools. Our yearly fee is $12,950, with a one-time registration fee of $500. All snacks and lunches are included in our fees. At the present time we do not offer subsidies, but we are looking into it. We do give tax receipts, and we offer sibling discounts.” Marcel Pereira, director of Century Private School, a Montessori school in Richmond Hill, Ontario.