Children – a majority of married couples want to have children at some point in their life. Whether a couple starts planning for a child right after marriage, or whether they decide to wait for a few years is a decision that is based on a lot of factors – age of the wife, nature of jobs of both husband and wife, global location, etc. However, take it from us – the only thing (or perhaps the first thing) that you should worry about is financial stability and security.
Gone are the days when raising a child was easy and cheap. Most couples now want nothing less than the best for their children – premium diapers, best feeding chairs, comfortable strollers, toys that enable brain development, quality baby food, and so much more. A couple more years, and a whole list of other expenses get added to the list – school expenses!
Yes – your child's early years are most crucial in terms of growth and development, and a lot depends on which school you send your kid too in these early formative years. But how far are you willing to go to ensure your child gets nothing but the best?
Preschools, Playschools, Daycare and Creches – The Rising Demand
The nature of employment has certainly changed over past few decades – as women are stepping out of the house to join men in the professional field, a typical couple may now comprise 2 individuals both committing close to 12 hours of their time to jobs. The nature of these jobs also demands that couples migrate away from their hometowns in order to get better opportunities... so that most couples live alone, in the form of nuclear families.
When such couples decide to start a family, they have to rely on external sources for support. Many a times, parents of either partner try and pitch in to help take care of the little baby. However, this may not always be possible. The support that such couples seek then comes in the form of daycares and preschools – institutions that promise to be the foster parents for your child in your absence.
Typical Fee Structure of Daycares and Preschools
There was a time when most children did not step inside school premises till they turned at least 3 years old. Now children as young as 12 months can be sent to 'schools'; schools that promise to ensure your baby is taken care of and given individual attention to. These schools take care of all of your child's needs – learning, nutrition, growth and development, including social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Seeing as it is a rather big responsibility, and a job that requires a LOT of patience and dedication, preschools and daycares literally charge a bomb. But how much do they charge exactly?Here is a typical fee structure of playschools and crèches in India:
One Time Registration Fee
– in the range of INR500 to INR1000
– in the range of INR500 to INR1000
One Time Admission Fee
– in the range of INR5000 to INR 10,000
Monthly Tuition Fee
– in the range of INR5000 to INR8000 (may or may not include school supplies like stationery, books, notebooks, etc.)
– in the range of INR2000 to INR3000
– up to INR1000
– in the range of INR10,000 to INR20,000
So how much does that come down to?
Add it all up, and the Annual Fee for a Preschool or Daycare falls in the range of INR 84,000 to INR 160,000
What Are Your Options?
That might have been too big a number to come to terms with, and we don't blame you if you need a moment!
However, having that, there are a lot of options you can choose from.
Total annual fee: in the range of INR150,000 to INR300,000 per annum
These are the top-end, most-sought premium preschools. They offer the best of facilities – from air-conditioned classrooms, to technology assisted teaching, organic food, low student-teacher ratio (typically 10:1) – they are the dream schools for most couples where the husband and wife both have highly demanding and stressful jobs. These schools will take care of all of your child's needs; you can rest assured that your child is in good hands.
Different schools charge different amounts – however, a typical international preschool will charge in the range of INR 1.5-3.0lakh per annum. Some schools are even known to charge up to INR 5lakh per annum!
Reputed Local Preschools
Total annual fee: up to INR 250,000 per annum (depending on facilities offered)
These are schools that started small but have earned a good reputation over the years. They usually have branches in all the major metro cities in the country. Seeing as their popularity is increasing and still on the rise, fee structures may not be static. As the school opens more and more branches, and further expands on their list of services or facilities, you can expect annual fees to increase by an amount anywhere between INR 10,000 and INR 20,000.
Lesser Known Local Preschools
Total annual fee: under INR 100,000 per annum
These are the local preschools that usually are limited to a particular city. They may not be as famous as the reputed or international preschools; however, many of these will offer competent services. These schools – many parents believe – are in fact better than the previous two categories because they are 'small', and so they are able to take care of all details. They will have lesser administrative problems, they will have a more dedicated staff (that is not 'in it for the money'), and most importantly – they cost less money! Chances are also good that these schools will follow some of our traditional methods of raising and engaging children – in terms of the kind of games they are taught, the habits that are developed, the value that are imbibed, etc. Many parents believe that these schools are more 'homely', and offer a better learning environment for their child.
It is quite difficult to rule in favour of one particular type of preschool. However, one thing is for sure – no matter what kind of preschool or playschool or daycare you enroll your child into, you cannot remove yourself from the equation!
The school will promise you scores of things... but ultimately at the end of the day, if you do not take the time and effort in your child's care, upbringing and education, it will affect your child's growth and development, no matter how good a school you enroll him in!
Do not feel pressurised to 'live up to a standard' or conform to current trends. Have faith in your abilities as a parent, and your child's innate intelligence and abilities. Do not feel coerced into seeking admission in an expensive school by the lure of having the opportunity to offer 'the best' to your child. Put this expense into perspective – would you rather spend a lakh on your child's preschool, or perhaps invest the same money to reap good returns for future educational expenses, perhaps when your child might want to go abroad for further studies?
Keep calm, it’s just preschool!