The Hidden Cost of Sending Your Children to Preschool


When a child is turning three years old, it is time for the parents to decide whether he or she should be enrolled to a preschool or not.

Basically, there are two types of preschools in Indonesia; the first is the early child's education and the second is kindergarten. The early child's education is designed for children aged 3-4 years old, while kindergarten is designed for children aged 4-5 years old, where both are meant to prepare the little ones before they enter elementary school.

With this in mind, parents not only need to prepare the expensive tuition fee but also need to reach their pockets deeper to fund the additional expenses that are often overlooked. Find out what those expenses are:    

Cost for extracurricular activities

In preschool, besides playing and learning, children are encouraged to stay active. Some of the extracurricular activities during this time are ranging from marching band to dancing. Lisa, 31, said that she spent around Rp 30,000 per semester for dancing lesson at her daughter's preschool, which is located in West Jakarta area. Also, since she enrolled her daughter in an Islamic preschool program, there will be manasik (rituals) of hajj, which is held every year and would cost up to Rp 300,000.

"There are also school picnics, which usually cost around Rp 300,000 per semester," Lisa said.  

Evy, 35, had a different experience. She said she doesn't spend a lot for her child's activities in school. "All expenses in school are included in the total fee we paid during the registration," she explained.

Evy said the registration fee in a preschool located at Ciputat, South Jakarta, is about Rp 1.7 million and doesn't include the monthly school fee. Moreover, if there are any extracurricular activities that her child wants to do, she has to pay extra. So far, she is paying for extracurricular "art and fun" activities as much as Rp 100,000 a month. 

During a national holiday, e.g. Kartini day, parents must dress their children with costumes to support the festival –which means another cost of at least Rp 100,000.     

Cost for various competitions

Besides having several extracurricular activities, some early childhood education also teach children about sportsmanship through various competitions. Normally, these competitions are facilitated by the schools, but parents still need to pay for the registration fee. 

According to Evy, she could spend between Rp 100,000 and Rp 200,000 within a year, just for joining these competitions. Lisa also affirmed this, although so far she only spent about Rp 40,000 per competition. 

Cost for transportation and meals 

Career women may not have the time to send their children to school and pick them up from school every day. Therefore, you need to include the transportation fee in the budget. Lisa said her transportation fee to rent a motorcycle taxi service reached as much as Rp 90,000 per month. 

For Maya, 31, who chose to place her kid in a kindergarten located in South Jakarta, it is easier to hire an assistant to accompany her child every day. That way, she not only has to pay a salary of Rp 25,000 per day but also prepare transportation fee, either by public transport or private driver.                 

Evy, who already has a permanent household assistant, can ask the help from her assistant. However, this doesn't mean that her expenses will be much less. Evy said she has to give her child pocket money of Rp 7000 per day. More than that, she has to fulfill her kid's request to buy worksheets that would cost around Rp 100,000 per month. "The school does provide the worksheets, but the students can't take them home," she explained.

Also, when the household assistant is accompanying the child at school, she will not be able to work on other household tasks and that means you have to hire a nanny or one more assistant at home.     

Plan in details

It is surely not an easy task to calculate all the expenses that parents need to spend for extracurricular activities outside the school and many more. Therefore, you can start by doing a small research –by asking friends and relatives about a particular school.

It is a good idea to take small factors into consideration, so that you will not be surprised when adding up the total cost. For example, to minimalize the commuting fee, it is better to choose a preschool located nearby –without neglecting the quality and reputation of the school.        

Read also: Schooling Options for Unique Children

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