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||$5,140 - $10,850|
|Académie St-Laurent Academy||Ottawa, Ontario||$13,000 - $17,000|
|Agate Private School||St Catharines, Ontario||$350|
|Albert College||Belleville, Ontario||$18,700 - $36,900|
|Alexander von Humboldt German International School||Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec||$9,950 - $12,350|
|Alive Montessori & Private School||Toronto, Ontario||$10,000 - $16,500|
|ArtsCalibre Academy||Victoria, British Columbia||$4,750 - $5,850|
|Ashwood Glen||Burlington, Ontario||$9,900 - $18,900|
|Aurora Montessori School||Aurora, Ontario||$19,400 - $22,150|
|Avalon Children's Montessori School||Toronto, Ontario||$7,200 - $22,275|
|École Montessori||Pickering, Ontario||$8,400 - $17,000|
|Balmoral Hall School||Winnipeg, Manitoba||$15,450 - $19,210|
|Bannockburn||Toronto, Ontario||$17,975 - $27,300|
|Bayview Glen||Toronto, Ontario||$20,950 - $31,050|
|Bishop Hamilton Montessori School||Ottawa, Ontario||$6,183 - $17,840|
|Bond Academy||Toronto, Ontario||$13,500 - $16,800|
|Braemar House School||Brantford, Ontario||$14,810|
|Calgary French & International School||Calgary, Alberta||$7,900 - $15,100|
|Central Montessori Schools||Toronto, Ontario||$12,500 - $20,000|
|Century Private School||Richmond Hill, Ontario||$16,550 - $27,000|
|CGS (Children's Garden School)||Toronto, Ontario||$12,000 - $25,500|
|Children's Garden Nursery School||Toronto, Ontario||$8,000 - $24,000|
|Clanmore Montessori School||Oakville, Ontario||$8,250 - $17,500|
|Community Life Christian School||Toronto, Ontario||$8,000 - $14,000|
|Cornerstone Montessori Prep School||Toronto, Ontario||$15,800 - $18,960|
|Dearcroft Montessori School||Oakville, Ontario||$8,500 - $20,500|
|Delano Academy & Delano High||Maple, Ontario||$16,700 - $19,700|
|Durham Elementary, Durham Academy and G.B.M.S.||Oshawa, Ontario||$1,020 - $11,500|
|Elmwood School||Ottawa, Ontario||$15,540 - $29,700|
|Enquiring Minds Montessori||Scarborough, Ontario||$16,775 - $17,200|
|Fern Hill School - Burlington||Burlington, Ontario||$11,742 - $24,550|
|Fern Hill School - Oakville||Oakville, Ontario||$11,177 - $24,550|
|Fredericton Montessori Academy||Fredericton, New Brunswick||$9,500 - $14,500|
|German International School Toronto||Toronto, Ontario||$10,085 - $20,385|
|Halton Waldorf School||Burlington, Ontario||$17,600|
|Hatch House Montessori School||Whitby, Ontario||$11,250|
|Hawthorn School||Toronto, Ontario||$14,100 - $25,250|
|Hillfield Strathallan College||Hamilton, Ontario||$19,349 - $32,052|
|Hitherfield School||Milton-Campbellville, Ontario||$13,600 - $16,100|
|Humberside Montessori School||Toronto, Ontario||$12,500 - $19,900|
|J. Addison School||Markham, Ontario||$16,500 - $23,600|
|Junior Academy||Toronto, Ontario||$22,500 - $30,000|
|Kaban Montessori School||Mississauga, Ontario||$15,750 - $16,250|
|Kanata Montessori||Kanata, Ontario||$16,750 - $18,500|
|Kawartha Montessori School||Peterborough, Ontario||$13,920 - $17,785|
|Kendellhurst Academy||Mississauga, Ontario||$14,250 - $17,100|
|King Heights Academy||Thornhill, Ontario||$15,598 - $21,998|
|Kingsley Primary School||Etobicoke, Ontario||$7,000 - $12,000|
|La Citadelle International Academy of Arts & Science||Toronto, Ontario||$16,750 - $20,750|
|La Villa Montessori School||Oakville, Ontario||$8,100 - $15,608|
|Little Owl Private School||Toronto, Ontario||$15,850|
|Lycée Claudel||Ottawa, Ontario||$12,376 - $14,527|
|Lycée Français de Toronto||Toronto, Ontario||$17,700 - $20,200|
|Lycée international de Calgary||Calgary, Alberta||$14,660 - $16,630|
|Lynn-Rose School||Mississauga, Ontario||$16,950 - $21,550|
|MacLachlan College||Oakville, Ontario||$23,043 - $29,395|
|Meadow Green Academy||Mississauga, Ontario||$15,990|
|Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering||Pickering, Ontario||$12 - $13|
|Mulgrave School||West Vancouver, British Columbia||$26,850 - $30,290|
|Northstar Montessori Private School||Mississauga, Ontario||$10,500 - $16,350|
|OMS Montessori||Ottawa, Ontario||$12,864 - $21,384|
|Peel Montessori School||Mississauga, Ontario||$7,500 - $15,000|
|Peoples Christian Academy (PCA)||Markham, Ontario||$13,060 - $16,200|
|Progressive Academy||Edmonton, Alberta||$8,700 - $19,500|
|Queen Margaret's School||Duncan, British Columbia||$14,413 - $21,649|
|Richmond Hill Montessori Private School||Richmond Hill, Ontario||$25,000 - $26,800|
|River Valley School||Calgary, Alberta||$8,470 - $15,040|
|Rowntree Montessori Schools (RMS)||Brampton, Ontario||$15,860 - $16,380|
|Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School||Mississauga, Ontario||$7,070 - $11,960|
|Sidney Ledson Institute||Toronto, Ontario||$12,797 - $13,848|
|St. Clement's Early Learning School||Toronto, Ontario||$8,500 - $20,500|
|Star Academy||Mississauga, Ontario||$16,100 - $19,200|
|Sudbury Christian Academy||Sudbury, Ontario||$55 - $7,950|
|Sunflower Early Learning Society||North Vancouver, British Columbia||$2,400 - $5,500|
|Sunrise Montessori School||Markham, Ontario||$11,500 - $19,800|
|TFS - Canada's International School||Toronto, Ontario||$22,180 - $37,630|
|TFS - Canada's International School (West Campus)||Mississauga, Ontario||$12,130 - $30,180|
|The Children's House Montessori School||Port Perry, Ontario||$9,500 - $11,500|
|The Clover School||Toronto, Ontario||$17,173 - $19,888|
|The Giles School||Toronto, Ontario||$19,900 - $23,705|
|The Maples Academy||Amaranth, Ontario||$460 - $10,400|
|The Maria Montessori School||Surrey, British Columbia||$3,500 - $3,900|
|The Toronto Heschel School||Toronto, Ontario||$8,500 - $19,950|
|TMS||Richmond Hill, Ontario||$19,100 - $32,700|
|Toronto French Montessori||Whitchurch-stouffville, Ontario||$7,782 - $15,396|
|Toronto Waldorf School||Thornhill, Ontario||$12,470 - $23,400|
|Town Centre Private Schools||Markham, Ontario||$7,400 - $17,250|
|Trafalgar Ridge Montessori School||Oakville, Ontario||$8,580 - $14,195|
|Trillium School||Markham, Ontario||$11,500 - $16,500|
|Trinity Montessori School||Markham, Ontario||$11,000 - $13,000|
|Unionville College||Unionville, Ontario||$9,500 - $17,400|
|Vincent Massey Academy||Etobicoke, Ontario||$13,500 - $23,200|
|Walden International School||Oakville, Ontario||$9,850 - $19,680|
|Waldorf Academy||Toronto, Ontario||$4,160 - $19,150|
|Wesley Christian Academy||Markham, Ontario||$11,300 - $13,760|
|Westmont Montessori School||Victoria, British Columbia||$9,565 - $14,945|
|Westside Montessori School||Toronto, Ontario||$18,700 - $20,700|
|Yip’s Music & Montessori School||Unionville, Ontario||$6,750 - $11,200|
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:
As far as financial aid from schools goes, few preschools offer scholarships or merit-based funding. Many, though, offer needs-based financial aid for families who have difficulty covering costs.
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.