Cost of Montessori Education

I don’t like to use my blog to rant, but this might be close. We never planned on sending Baby D to preschool. We can teach him to count and read and PutThingsBackCarefully. Then I got to thinking maybe half days in a Montessori Infant Community would be beneficial and not take him away for too long. Then I saw the price. I knew Montessori schools were expensive. I didn’t realize half day preschool would cost over $9,000 per year. That is slightly more than in-state tuition at our state college. Full day preschool is over $13,000, as is Primary. Elementary is $14,000. This school is fully recognized by AMI and looks to be just what we would choose if Baby D did go to school. I understand that teachers must be paid a living wage, schools must carry a lot of insurance, and materials cost quite a bit. But do the operating costs of the school really add up to $9,000, $13,000, or $14,000 per child per year? The first Casa dei Bambini was in a tenement. Dr. Montessori made the materials herself. How did Montessori education go from serving the poorest children to courting families who either can afford to pay that much for pre-school and elementary school or are willing to go into debt? How can we make Montessori education available to a wider community? Peace through education can not come about if so few people are included. Do we need non-profit, donation supported schools? Volunteer teachers? How do we accomplish this?

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  1. We felt the same with looking in to sending our daughter to Steiner. Alternative seems to have become the new ‘cool’ and there are so many schools willing to cash in on that. Its a real shame. Maybe look for some alternative schools in your area. We were suprised to find so many schools which have been self started and have some wonderful values, including free (minimal cost) education to all. It is a sad day when sending a child to a school where they can collect the eggs from the chickens, carry fire wood in to their classroom chopped by the teacher, and play with wooden toys becoming more expensive then the ones were they sit at their desks with individual ipads???? when did this happen??

  2. It seems ludicrously expensive even if Montessori is good. Home education for as long as possible maybe even better. You can get your baby to socialise in other places than a school. I was a teacher and I never thought that schools were necessarily very good places for most children. You wouldn’t send a child to learn piano in a class of thirty with one piano and a teacher who doesn’t know how to play, especially if you had to pay for it. Quite a lot of class time is like that.

  3. One reason I, a Montessori trained teacher, am now going backward to obtain state certification is so that if I do end up back in the classroom I can take a position in a charter school. That, I think, us one of the most feasible ways to make Montessori education available to everyone – and it has been successful in some locations.

    I have always held the position that the early years, since they create the foundation upon which adulthood is built, are the most important when it comes to education and therefore preschool is more valuable than college. I can also say that, yes, it does cost that much to run a proper school, unfortunately. It’s all very sad, though, and I think Dr. Montessori would agree. Serving only the elite is not something she could have stomached, and to be honest, I don’t want to do it anymore either. One of the reasons I’m happy to stay home for now!

    • Thanks for the reply, Melissa. It is good to hear from a Montessori trained teacher. I agree with you that the Montessori charter schools have been quite beneficial. Good luck with your stae certification. Thanks for pointing out that the formative early years are more valuable than college– we need more people willing to say that. It is troubling that it really does cost that much to run a school. I’ve been thinking lately about how to go about organizing a community supported school that would operate through fund raising and a percentage-of-income based contribution of families whose children attend. Hmm…


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