All parents seek to provide the best preschool education for their children. However, there are some factors that parents have to consider when making the choice between private or public preschools including income constrains or specific educational goals.
It is important to note that there are good public preschools and good private preschools. The reverse also holds true in both cases. Herein is a simple but comprehensive comparison of the two types of preschools and key differences that parents need to know.
One of the main distinctions between public and private preschools is their different sources of support. Private preschools are often supported primarily by tuition payments. Sometimes they can receive funds from non-public sources such as grants, endowments, charitable donations as well as religious organizations. Public preschools depend mainly on federal, state and local government funds.
However, in some states, private preschools may be granted public funds for specific services such as transportation. Tuition at private preschools will vary considerably depending on the nature of the educational programs offered. Religious affiliation also has a role to play in the private preschool fees. In schools with religious affiliation, the fees are often significantly lower than in sectarian preschools.
The notion of school choice has conventionally been associated with private preschools. Today however, there is some degree of choice in public preschools. All private schools are attended by choice, but choice is limited to the private sector. Nonetheless, the fact remains that private preschools provide more alternatives to parents than public preschools.
Also, school choice becomes more limited as annual income reduces and vice versa for many families. Since most private preschools charge tuition, only families with the financial means to pay for the tuition and complementary fees truly have the choice of a private preschool.
The ways by which public and private preschools differ is reflected in the child population. Public preschools tend to have ethnically and racially diverse child populations. This is good news especially for a developing child. Diversity is known to produce a more all rounded student.
Private preschools on the other hand have a more controlled admittance system. Enrollment into private preschools is quite selective and demands are considerably higher. However, this aspect is gradually changing with more and more private preschools admitting children from all cultures and backgrounds.
Additionally, public preschools will have more children per class than private preschools. This may put a strain on the ability of the daycare givers and teachers to provide effective services.
All the teachers in public preschools are required to have some form of regional, state or federal certification accompanying a Bachelor’s degree. However, private preschools are more likely to employ teachers with higher level education and who are highly qualified.
Although this may have a bearing on the quality of education, it does not mean that public preschool education is lacking in any way. In fact, higher level education does not translate to being good at something.
There are several other distinctions between private and public preschools including school organization and management, school size, school climate, academic programs and support services. For any parent, it all boils down to preference and thorough analysis of individual preschools. It is up to them to decide based on these and other criteria.
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