With former students like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Google’s Larry Page and Sergei Brin, you might think Montessori schools cost an arm and a leg. However, Montessori is a style of teaching rather than any specific school, and there is a broad range in the cost of Montessori schools.
Montessori schools have average annual costs ranging between $12,000 and $15,000 for tuition. The price depends on several factors, such as:
- The age of the child
- Whether it is a half or full day program
- The location of the school
- The type of school (public, private, or charter)
Montessori education prices vary on several factors, including demographics, exclusivity (public vs private), and your child’s age/grade. Outlined below is some helpful information that will help you determine your budget suited to enroll your child.
How Much Does a Montessori School Cost?
Contrary to popular belief, Montessori isn’t just for kids of the rich and famous. Nor does your child have to have a 160 IQ or be a 9-year-old world chess champion to attend.
Montessori schools are for children of all backgrounds and abilities. In fact, Dr. Montessori created the Montessori teaching method with the underserved, rowdy, and impoverished children of her community in mind.
Typically, a Montessori education tuition varies by demographics.
- California residents can expect to pay between $13,000 and $14,000 per year for toddlers and preschool/kindergarten children
- New York City residents can expect to pay an average range of $28,000 and $35,000 for the same.
- An annual Montessori education in Chicago can be as high as $15,000 and $17,000 per year
- In southern states such as Arkansas and Mississippi, average annual tuition costs are significantly lower at about $7,000 and $7,300.
Related: Are Montessori schools worth the cost?
Are Montessori Schools Free?
The best things in life can rarely be had for free, and a good Montessori education is rarely different.
If you’ve been searching vainly for a reasonably priced Montessori school for your child, you are likely convinced that one doesn’t exist. Let alone one that can be had for little or no cost to you at all.
Before giving up, there are ways to educate your kids with Montessori teaching methods available today without breaking the bank.
Here are a few:
- Publicly funded Montessori schools throughout the U.S. offer early literacy programs for underprivileged children
- Homeschooling the Montessori method can be done for a fraction of the cost, or for free
- There are private and public schools with similar teaching styles to Montessori methods and that have its philosophies, even if they are not explicitly Montessori
There are hundreds of publicly funded Montessori schools, as well as private institutions that offer assisted tuition through private donations, scholarships, and low-income family tax credits. That way a quality education can be had by all children, as envisioned by Dr. Montessori.
Another financial assistance alternative is to join the Montessori school teaching staff. Many schools offer reduced tuition and or discounts to their educators.
Are All Montessori Schools Private?
As mentioned above, Montessori schools can either be private, public, or chartered. Their unique similarities are that they adhere to the Montessori Method of teaching.
While many public and charter schools are less expensive options and may have larger class sizes, they can still offer the same high standards as private Montessori schools.
Are Montessori Schools Expensive?
Yes, a Montessori schools can be expensive. But providing a high-quality education for your child is priceless. Paying tens of thousands of dollars for your child’s education might seem absurd, but a good education can be worth paying for.
Think of it as an investment in your child’s future.
Children taught in the Montessori way tend to be more advanced in math and reading literacy than non-Montessori students. Interestingly, lower income Montessori students scored higher in math and literacy tests than low-income, non-Montessori students.
Why is Montessori School Expensive?
Why Montessori is so expensive boils down to the following reasons:
- They have high-quality teaching staff. It’s an unfortunate reality that teachers are very underpaid in public institutions. Montessori schools are able to offer much higher salaries due to their income from tuition, which in turn tends to attract very high-quality teaching staff!
- It takes extra training to teach in the Montessori way. In addition to just having high-quality teachers, those staff also need to be trained properly in the most effective Montessori methods. This adds to the cost, but also accounts for the very high level of education Montessori students receive.
Montessori educators are vetted and chosen for their individualism. Teachers and assistants must hold a relevant bachelor’s degree and are required to complete a rigorous 2-year Montessori certification training.
Another reason why Montessori schools are so expensive is the teaching material used. Students are taught language, math, and science through sensory aided, neurologically stimulating, and handcrafted materials such as sandpaper, letters, moveable wooden alphabets, and phonics cards.
Do Montessori Schools Offer Financial Aid?
Montessori schools do offer financial assistance as well as other funding programs that you might be eligible for. Parents are encouraged to inquire about the various financial aid programs, even if their child is midway through the school year.
Some of the financial aid opportunities are described below:
- Financial aid for needy families offered by private schools. Eligibility requirements vary from school to school, so you’ll need to contact the specific school you are interested in.
- School voucher programs offered in some states may help you to offset your child’s education costs. Consult your chosen Montessori school for requirements and eligibility.
- State sponsored individual tax credits & deduction programs reimburse a portion of a private school’s tuition. Reimbursement amounts vary from state to state.
- Some states allow you to use your Education Savings Accounts (ESA) to pay for your child’s education at a private Montessori school (up to $10,000).
- Special Needs children (students) with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be provided a free public education as mandated by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Can You Write Off Montessori Tuition?
Unfortunately, you cannot deduct Montessori school tuition according to federal tax law in the United States. The exception is if your child is in nursery school, preschool, or has incurred expenses for any grade below kindergarten.
This can be recognized as a childcare expense. As of the time of this writing, Federal tax statutes allow up to $3,000 for childcare deductions and a maximum of $6,000 for 2 or more children.
On the State level, Montessori tax deductions are state law dependent. Meaning, if your state has an income tax, you can claim childcare as an expense. It is strongly recommended that you consult your tax advisor or state tax office.
There are several certain circumstances that must be fulfilled in order to be able to claim a child’s school tuition, and it varies from location to location. Always consult your tax advisor first.
Picking the Right Montessori School
There are a number of ways to choose the right Montessori school for your child. Among them are making sure their teachers are well qualified, sitting in on a class session, and making sure that that school’s child development values match yours.
Additional ways to pick the right school are:
- A good daily schedule. Are the children receiving an interrupted 3-hour work period?
- Class demographics and differences. Is there a smaller or larger age gap between students?
- How are the children motivated? How are students rewarded for good work, and do they feel a sense of pride afterwards?
- The level of parent dedication and attention required. Are you willing to physically watch, listen, and learn everything there is to know concerning Montessori and your child?
Montessori is a Wise Investment
If your child is independent and self-motivated and is comfortable working alone or in groups a Montessori education might be a good fit. It could also be ideal for children with noise and chaos anxiety.
Expect more schools, be they private, public, or charter, to adopt the Montessori Method. Its timeless approach teaches children the importance of independent thought, creativity, thinking outside of the box, and to be goal-oriented.
The Montessori experience is not cheap, but what price would you pay for your child’s success?
To learn more, check out our article on determining if Montessori is right for your child.
The international Montessori Index
National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector