Author Topic: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent  (Read 7219 times)

fiskars007

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While this article makes a good point about the class-based achievement gap, hearing these families say how expensive it is to send their kid to Ivy League Preschool when their rent is $4400/month made my Mustache senses explode.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/08/when-class-became-more-important-to-a-childs-education-than-race/279064/

AlmostIndependent

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How is a preschool Ivy League? These people are fucking insane.

fiskars007

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I'm of course referencing this: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/ , and how in the article I posted in which people with a 3 year old are planning how the kid is going to go to somewhere like Columbia. Because if he goes to State he's (aka "they are") a failure.

Joshin

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This article almost uncovered the real point of the class gap and education, but missed the mark IMHO.

I know nothing of New York, but I have a hard time believing their are no free/low cost opportunities for kids. My relatively small city is full of options, but as a parent I have to know how and put in the work to find them and take advantage of them. Personally, I think my kids would have less opportunities if we had opted for the expensive preschool/private school route because they wouldn't have had time for everything else they do.

As younguns, we had museum groups, where we took advantage of free museum days for group field trips, we had community camps and classes that were inexpensive (or free if your income was low enough), we went to free monthly kids classes offered by adult hobbiest groups (astronomy, rocket clubs, art clubs, outdoor clubs). Library groups and classes, reading clubs, playgroups. They were all available if you spent just a few minutes searching online each week.

Now that they're older, they belong to some of those adult hobbiest groups, even though they are often the youngest members. Heck, my 8 year old has befriended a retired astronaut and a physics professor through his astronomy club (cost for membership: $25 a year. Benefits: Meetings, lectures, classes, free telescope rentals). If he maintains these relationships, he'll have some awesome reference letters come college application time. That plus the hours and hours he puts in each month doing astronomy outreach and teaching at schools and community events should make any application he sends in stand out a bit. No fancy preschool required.

The problem is that many middle and lower income parents depend too heavily on the public schools for all things educational, while higher income parents know you have to actively search out the best opportunities. There are opportunities available for all income levels, if the parents are willing to put in the legwork to find them and the effort to take advantage of them. Sure, it may be easier to find good ones with a higher income, but no one said that life was going to be easy.

yahui168

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There are opportunities available for all income levels, if the parents are willing to put in the legwork to find them and the effort to take advantage of them. Sure, it may be easier to find good ones with a higher income, but no one said that life was going to be easy.

Exactly. You can pay someone $80 for a science lesson or do a little research on the Internet, buy the same supplies at home for $5 and do the experiments together with your kids. It costs almost nothing to teach basic chemistry or Newtonian physics.

People have a hard time seeing what's in front of their faces. The great thing we have today is that information is practically free and so easily accessible. We are literally swimming in it. Want to teach your kids about castles from 1200? Easy. Teach them about Lagrange points? YouTube will teach you so you can teach your kids.

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

http://moreintelligentlife.com/story/david-foster-wallace-in-his-own-words

oldtoyota

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While this article makes a good point about the class-based achievement gap, hearing these families say how expensive it is to send their kid to Ivy League Preschool when their rent is $4400/month made my Mustache senses explode.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/08/when-class-became-more-important-to-a-childs-education-than-race/279064/

?? The Brooklyn Botanic gardens have "free" days on Tuesdays. The Brooklyn Children's Museum offers free admission for kids before 11 am on Saturdays (at least they used to). Prospect Park is 100% free all the time and offers places to ride a bike and play in water on playgrounds. Also, there are horse stables. Although the riding lessons are expensive, it can be fun to visit a horse stable for free.

I don't even live there, and I know that. So, this leads me to wonder if they have an internet connection? I presume they do since they went to a tech school.

Also, the Brooklyn Public library. Come on!

And they could take the kids camping in Red Hook or out to the Coney Island Museum (which is always free) and to Coney Island to visit the beach and learn about the ocean or the geography of New York, etc.

A quick Google search only adds to the list of items by showing me I could take a free canoe ride or "pay what I can" to ride a barge. Both seem like great activities for kids!

http://brokelyn.com/7-cheap-free-things-you-havent-done-yet/


No Name Guy

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Quote
They do well enough to pay $4,400 a month in rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights, one of the borough’s most-coveted neighborhoods, to pay for a full-time nanny in addition to their spending on preschool, and to take the family on regular vacations to see relatives out of state.

“I’m a middle-class New Yorker, and upper-class anywhere else,” Klaitman says. “I know how astonishingly privileged we are, but at the same time we’re dipping into savings for housing. I don’t go out and buy shoes, but my kids have tons of classes.”

(plays sob song on a tiny violin.)

Sounds like they need to cut the nanny back to part time and cut out a few of the classes and actually parent their own spawn themselves instead of outsourcing it to nannies and paid for classes.  Talk about lazy asses.

AlmostIndependent

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blake201

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OK, so that $4,400 rent is ridiculous, all those pricey extracurricular children's classes are a WASTE and there ARE plenty of awesome free educational things to do in NYC with your kids (library, gardens, parks, bike trails)...

But trying to find reasonably priced full-time weekday childcare in NYC for kids too young for kindergarten when both parents work full-time 9-5 type hours is a HUGE challenge. 

My husband and I live in Brooklyn (though in a small apartment with $1,250 rent) and have a 3-year-old daughter. Our little girl has severe food allergies to many super common foods that make finding SAFE childcare as important as anything else.

We both love our jobs (I work at a nonprofit I'm really passionate about, my husband is a graphic designer) and really need that money if we are ever get out of debt and be financially independent, so one of us quitting isn't really a top-tier option.

The cheapest child-care option we have been able to find in our area that can accommodate our daughter's food allergies is a wonderful little preschool that focuses on play and learning through experience... but it costs $1,700/month... and that is AFTER we got scholarships for our low income and worked out some bartering of design services to reduce tuition (it's usually $2,300).

Typical child-care centers in our neighborhood charge similar or greater prices, the local Waldorf and Montessori schools charge even more (even $29K/year), and sometimes not even for full-length days. And they all have wait-lists of maybe two or three times as many kids as actually can enroll.

I know some local frugal parents have set up child-care coops, but that usually requires at least one stay-at-home parent. Some people do nanny shares, but from the math I've done that isn't cheaper than what we're doing. We do take the summer off and have grandparents take turns caring for her, but it's not a year-round possibility because they live a few states away and have to come stay with us.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 11:22:21 AM by blake201 »

MrsPete

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I could relate to exactly ONE of the expenditures mentioned in the article:  Museum memberships.  When I was a kid, my wonderful grandfather used to give our family a museum membership for Christmas every year.  We visited so many times, and it was a wonderful experience for us kids and an inexpensive outing for our parents. 

When my own children were young, we used to purchase a zoo membership one year, and a science museum (with reciprocal admission to a nature center) the next year.  The alternating years thing was great -- they'd become burned out on the zoo, but they'd be ready for the museum the next year.  Our kids gained so much from these trips! 


I totally agree that these programs aren't providing anything that parents can't provide on their own -- for little or no cost.  The example of a science experiment is a good one.  My daughter was a counselor at a science camp this summer, and she tells me that the parents paid over $300/week for their kids to attend, although all the experiments that she described were very low-cost.  She didn't choose the activities herself (that was the responsibility of the teachers -- she was just a helper), but almost all the materials were things that you'd have around your house.   


If you need creative educational ideas for your kids, I strongly suggest that you subscribe to Family Fun Magazine (published by Disney).  It's only about $10/year, and my kids and I thoroughly enjoyed the experiments, crafts, games, and recipes in that magazine.  For example, I remember the girls LOVING tiny dollhouses made from milk cartons; wrapping a wide piece of "backwards" duct tape around their wrists when we went on a nature hike (so they could collect little bits of rock, acorns, or feathers for discussion later); making super-cute little purses from the back pockets of worn-out blue jeans.  So many ideas!  It was by far the best parenting magazine I ever had.  If it's still around when my girls have children, I will buy them a lifetime subscription!   



oldtoyota

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Re: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2013, 09:52:52 PM »
OK, so that $4,400 rent is ridiculous, all those pricey extracurricular children's classes are a WASTE and there ARE plenty of awesome free educational things to do in NYC with your kids (library, gardens, parks, bike trails)...

The cheapest child-care option we have been able to find in our area that can accommodate our daughter's food allergies is a wonderful little preschool that focuses on play and learning through experience... but it costs $1,700/month... and that is AFTER we got scholarships for our low income and worked out some bartering of design services to reduce tuition (it's usually $2,300).


Sounds like a financially challenging place to live!

killingxspree

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Re: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2013, 12:56:27 AM »
maybe the issue is time... The way I see it is lots of poor to middle class parents are too time poor to do these cheap/easy things with their kids. Lots of rich parents are also time poor but rich enough to afford enriching programs.

zhelud

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Re: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 11:04:30 AM »
I really wish we would dispense with the term "Ivy League Preschool."

Child care is expensive because it is labor-intensive. Differences in costs among child care providers are generally due to only two things- the child-caregiver ratio (in some unlicensed situations this is dangerously high) and caregiver quality (more educated, experienced caregivers are more expensive).

Any "extras" that may be offered at a child care center (computers, language instruction, whatever) are probably only a teeny part of the center's budget. Salaries and benefits are usually 80 percent or more of costs. (Little known fact- child care centers tend to be in free or subsidized space, since otherwise most would be unaffordable.)

Bigote

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Re: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2013, 01:11:16 PM »
I have to admit my son took classes at that very same kids club in the heights mentioned in the first paragraph.   And his preschool wasn't one of the more fancy ones yet still cost close to 20k.   It's not like there are cheaper options down the street, there really aren't. (As the OP mentioned)

Now we're in the burbs and preschool is <6k.  Though its 3hrs a day instead of 6 like is common in the city.


Its worth recalling the MMM post where he talked about living in these high COL areas.  Many people do it since it affords them access to seriously high-paying jobs.   That was me pre-retirement.   If you're not in one of those jobs then its basically an expensive lifestyle choice.

fiveoclockshadow

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Re: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2013, 02:06:18 PM »
The thing that jumped out at me was the parents taking the kid to the $47 session which was a big room of toys and paying $650 for a bunch of structured "classes" to go along with it.

It seems that there is something much worse than spending too much money going on here.  An industry is convincing parents to spend money on activities that are developmentally worse for their kids.  All this structured, adult managed "play" is not giving kids any agency.  In fact it isn't even "play" anymore.  And we wonder why the children of the affluent (most subjected to this junk) end up as hollow shells in their teen and college years...

Anyway, that's probably a side issue to the article about the probably very real gap between the haves and have-nots.  Be aware though, money is not the answer.  The rate of pretty severe dis-function in adolescents is nearly as bad for the very affluent as it is for low income intercity kids.  Too much money and coddling is bad too.

Bigote

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Re: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2013, 02:44:49 PM »
I'm not sure that a 45 minute gym class once a week is 'too much coddling', but different people have different views about all aspects of parenting.   With a class purchase you also had access to a number of 'open play' session in their gym, so at least in my sons case most of the time there was unstructured. 

Anyway, I was and remain a fan of the place.


Edit to add:  the price stated is a bit of an exaggeration too.  They don't have a per-session rate, you pay for a class for the fall or spring.  With that class you get access to their open play times as well.   Checking just now online, a 45minute class is 650 per semester, I suppose it works out to 47 a class if that's all you do.  If you sign up,for a few open play sessions every week, it cuts the hourly rate considerably.

All in all it was a great option to have in colder months, especially for an only child.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 02:49:21 PM by Bigote »

fiveoclockshadow

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Re: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2013, 05:31:10 PM »
@Bigote:  Hey sorry, my post was sort of all over the place.  Yes, I think the example given in the article (kids provided with lots of things to play with and undirected) is exactly the right kind of thing.  And probably a good place for socialization.  And it wasn't entirely clear from the article what the package includes, sounds like you've got direct experience.

The larger point I was making, which maybe wasn't apropos to the example, is that there is a trend to overly structure kid's time.  Constantly sending them from one organized activity to the next without any time for real discovery and self directed play.  This is often sold as a "service" and parents encouraged to think they are doing the best for their kids by providing such services for them.  It adds cost where there doesn't need to be one and worse still actually retards development rather than encouraging it.  But that's the broader concern of what is being marketed to busy and affluent parents, not necessarily specific to any one program.  Rather the trend to fill up all the child's time with one program after another.

And I for one certainly am not going to be overly critical of most parenting decisions.  There are many right answers and many compromises. 

MountainFlower

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Re: "My Ivy League Preschool is too expensive", says family with $4400/mo rent
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2013, 12:04:16 PM »

The larger point I was making, which maybe wasn't apropos to the example, is that there is a trend to overly structure kid's time.  Constantly sending them from one organized activity to the next without any time for real discovery and self directed play.  This is often sold as a "service" and parents encouraged to think they are doing the best for their kids by providing such services for them.  It adds cost where there doesn't need to be one and worse still actually retards development rather than encouraging it.  But that's the broader concern of what is being marketed to busy and affluent parents, not necessarily specific to any one program.  Rather the trend to fill up all the child's time with one program after another.


This needs to be emphasized!  I remember an NPR story a few years ago that suggested that the best thing for brain development at the preschool stage is unstructured, imaginative play and that here is research to support this.  I am purposely keeping my son out of the local popular Montessori program until he is 4.5 years old and ready for more structure because I want him to PLAY PLAY PLAY!  The Montessori program is AWESOME, by the way, my daughter is there, but I don't want my son in such a structured environment just yet. 

However, all kids are different and as  fiveoclockshadow pointed out, there are many right answers and compromises.