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11 Unbelievably Expensive Preschools in the U.S.

  • Preschool. It's where your kid plays with blocks and eats goldfish, right? Not for some American families. In urban centers across the country, parents are paying big—and we mean big—bucks so their 3- and 4-year-olds can learn a second language, master the game of chess and experience culture out and about in their cities. Check out these 11 unbelievably expensive preschools from across the nation, and then, perhaps be glad your little one is finger painting and singing "Open, shut them" for much, much less!

  • Lone Mountain Children's Center in San Francisco

    Lone Mountain Children's Center was founded in 1974. According to the school's site, the pre-K program includes "art, science and drama, with a more in-depth emphasis on units of study, such as community, emotions, health and safety, human anatomy, American history and the traditions and holidays of other cultures. There is an extensive music and creative movement curriculum, which includes singing, dancing and performing." Tuition for the rather extensive program will run you $18,100.

  • The Waldorf School in Boston

    Adjacent to the 185-acre Great Meadows conservation land, this school's philosophy is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher from the 19th century: "in an increasingly fast-paced and busy world...an unhurried approach to the early childhood years offers the healthiest and strongest foundation for children's academic, social and personal growth." To that end, preschoolers take part in a "comfortable rhythm of free play, chores, circle time, snack and outdoor play." In fact, play is a big focus for the preschool program. It sounds quite pleasant compared to many of the intense preschools on this list. The downside: your 3-year-old may not speak a lick of Mandarin. Tuition at The Waldorf School costs up to $20,441 for the full-day program, plus after-care.

  • Atlanta International School in Atlanta

    The Atlanta International Primary School offers a full immersion second language program for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. So they learn the curriculum in two languages: English and either French, German or Spanish. Why? Because according to the school's site, "Research overwhelmingly indicates that competence in a new language is best achieved through maximum exposure at the outset of the language learning process." So, it's around the same time the kiddies are learning the days of the week. Annual tuition is $20,647.

  • The Center for Early Education in Los Angeles

    At this L.A. preschool, kids are encouraged to flow between the classroom and yard through various learning centers, like block building, dramatic play, science, music, manipulatives, sensory motor, art, library, language arts, computers, math and cooking. The Center for Early Education's site describes one notable activity for wee ones: "Early Childhood students walk the neighborhood and clean up trash as they wear gloves and carry garbage bags." Kiddies will also venture to many places the City of Angels has to offer, including a yearly visit to see a current art exhibit at a museum. The toddler program costs $18,205, while full-day preschool is $21,858.

  • Columbia Grammar in New York City

    Columbia Grammar is located on New York City's posh Upper West Side and boasts three libraries, six music rooms and seven art studios, and enjoying them will cost $37,000 in tuition. Founded in 1764, Columbia Grammar is rooted in deep tradition, but its program is all about preparing kids for their futures—attending prestigious colleges. The super-focused pre-K pupils will enjoy a private outdoor play space and rigorous academic curriculum.

  • The Little Red House School in New York City

    The Little Red House School is in the affluent Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. It will set you back $37,750 to send your newly potty trained tot there. Fun fact: Robert De Niro is a former student. Of course, kids are doing much more than mushing Play-Doh around. They frequently visit New York City museums and parks and learn subject areas, such as science, Spanish, movement and language arts. Lower School Principal Namita Tolia describes The Little Red School student experience this way on the school's website: "It is a place where their curiosity and enthusiasm is encouraged and supported."

  • Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C.

    If you've heard of Sidwell Friends, it's probably because Sascha and Malia Obama go there. And for just $37,750, your kid can too! Luckily, that price includes hot lunch and textbooks. According to the school's website, the "Lower School provides an academically challenging curriculum with flexibility to meet the needs of individual students. The faculty works to instill a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence in each student while also requiring that he or she recognize the needs of others. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal with a balance between freedom and discipline." Sounds promising. Sidwell Friends also offers five sprawling acres of athletic fields, play areas, gardens, library, computer lab and health center.

  • British International School in New York City

    According to the school's site, full day tuition at the British International School is $42,225. Yes, you read that correctly. "At our school we are committed to fully integrated global education; suitable for all families seeking a international perspective to learning, underpinned by the first-class standards of the English National Curriculum," explains the online literature. And so, preschoolers begin learning French, Latin, Spanish and German before many of them can put on their own socks. Another bonus: little ones are afforded East River views from their rugs, while they sit crisscross applesauce in their British school uniforms.

  • Horace Mann School in New York City

    When your child attends the Horace Mann School, he or she learns so much more than how to properly use a glue stick. Preschoolers are exposed to computers and chess. You know, so they can outsmart and out-manuever you come bath time. Tuition for a 3-year-old ranges from $31,080 for half days to $43,300 for full days. Horace Mann prides itself on diversity and its prime location, which is within walking distance to New York's Central Park. Teachers' child-centered approach is designed to encourage tots to ask questions and explore the world around them, as well as many areas of study.

  • Avenues: The World School in New York City

    According to The Richest, Suri Cruise put Avenues on the map when she attended its Chelsea area location. Of all the preschools in New York on this list, Avenues is one of the newest. At the posh pre-K, kids learn half of the curriculum in another language, like Spanish or Mandarin. Tuition is $45,350 and includes books, activities, field trips and transportation to and from outside activities. Nancy Schulman, head of the Early Learning Center says on the school's site: "The early childhood years are the most important time in the life of a family and the most influential time for children as they start on the road to learning." Interested? At least you get a few cocktail parties out of it during the application process.

  • Riverdale Country School in New York City

    Cities Journal rated the Riverdale Country School the most expensive preschool in New York City in 2014. Maybe because the annual tuition is $45,600. At least that includes books, technology, food and activities, such as visiting The Little Red Lighthouse on the Hudson River. Also foreign language intensive, this school's program is centered around learning by doing. Teachers encourage their peewee pupils to use tools ranging from iPads to hammers to foster and develop problem solving and character skills.

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