While most preschools accept new enrollments throughout the year, the primary period of open enrollment falls between January and February. Enrollment typically follows this progression:
- Current families
- Alumni families
- Members (for applicable facilities, i.e. religious-based preschools)
- General public
Once a family is enrolled with a preschool, they will be considered current, or alumni if there is a gap between siblings. This is an advantage for future enrollment periods as these families will get top priority before it is open to the public. When it comes time to enroll for the next academic year, all openings will be filled through either a lottery process or on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once all of the classes have been filled, preschools begin a Wait List. While it can be disheartening to be placed on a wait list, especially for a preschool you are hoping for, the wait list can change quite dramatically at any point of the year due to a variety of circumstances (families move, commit to other preschools before attending, etc.)
Most preschools require a fee at the time of registration. Some are non-refundable to protect preschools from “registrations without intent to attend”, and some are refundable in the event there are no available openings. The fees vary in amount, depending on the policies from each individual preschool. In most cases a deposit is required to hold a spot in the age group/classroom you are registering your child in.
Tuition and Extras
Tuition Fees are often broken down into categories: half day and full day. Each category will be determined by a time frame (e.g. half day may be 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., full day may be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Some of the programs with full-day time frames may also offer early drop-off and late pick-up options. These are generally priced a la carte and are not included in the base tuition fee. Enrichment classes and lunch programs are also extras that may be offered with applicable fees attached to them. It can be overwhelming to add up the expenses when looking at a program’s website, but it is also refreshing to see so many programs doing their best to provide the exact options you may need for your child.
All preschools schedule open houses throughout the year, but individual tours can also be arranged through the Registrar or Director. This is where I come in.