How To Afford Quality Child Care & Early Childhood Education
Quality child care and early education programs are important investments in your child’s future. But they can also put a squeeze on your family’s finances. That’s why we at Tender Years, Inc. are pleased to offer this guide. Below, you’ll find insights into the value and costs of quality early childhood programs, as well as ideas on how to make child care more affordable for your family.
An Investment In Your Family
The Value of Quality Early Childhood Education – An Investment In Your Child’s Future
Study after study has concluded that early childhood education programs have a significant and positive impact on a child’s future. And it’s no wonder. Learning begins at birth, with critical neural and cognitive development occurring in the first three years of a child’s life. It’s during these early years when children are most curious and impressionable, and when learning and education can reliably provide a solid foundation for lifelong growth and success.
Children who participate in early learning programs consistently show…
- Better Social Skills
- More Cooperation with Others
- Improved Focus and Patience
- Greater Language Skills
- Improved Literacy
- Better Math Skills
- And Many Other Positive Traits
In addition to preparing children for success in school, the impact of early education continues long into adulthood, even resulting in higher earnings. For parents who want the best outcomes for their children, both now and in the future, early learning programs are a worthy investment.
The Costs of Quality Early Childhood Education – An Investment in Excellence
While it’s easy to understand the benefits of early learning programs, the costs to support them (and the resulting tuition fees) may not be as apparent. A lot has changed since we opened the doors of our first center in 1983. From industry regulations and business requirements to parent expectations, the reality is that operating a high-quality child care center requires substantial resources. As a result, tuition fees must cover…
- Staff Costs
- Competitive Salaries
- Annual Pay Increases
- Medical & Dental Insurance Benefits
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- 401K Retirement Program
- Ongoing Training
- Continuing Education
- Staff Appreciation
- Classroom Supplies, Books and Toys
- High Quality, Brand Name Nutritional Breakfast
- Facility Maintenance
- Professional Cleaning Services
- Heating & Cooling Systems
- Playground Upkeep
- Facility Renovations
- Administrative Costs
- And More!
When you invest in your child’s early education at Tender Years, you’re investing in a system of proven success!
10 Ways To Make Early Education More Affordable
The first step in managing your child care expenses is to budget for them. As many new parents quickly discover, budgeting for a child usually means re-prioritizing your money. Parents sacrifice for their children, and nowhere is this truer than perhaps your budget. That may mean cutting back on dining out, driving a different car, taking less costly vacations, or any number of other things. When you take a closer look at your overall spending, you may realize you can afford more than you thought for your child’s care.
2. Early Enrollment
The early bird gets the worm… or in this case, more opportunities to save money. Whether you’re just starting to look for care, or you’re looking to enroll your child for the next school year, be sure to take advantage of special “early bird” offers, which could include reduced tuition, reduced or waived enrollment fees, and other incentives.
3. Tuition Pre-Payment
When the opportunity arises, consider pre-paying for your child’s care. As an example, at Tender Years, prepaying twelve weeks of Summer Camp will save you 10% on tuition. That comes out to nearly $300 in savings over the course of the summer!
4. Dependent Care Account (Flexible Spending Account)
Ask your employer if they offer a Dependent Care Account. This type of Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows you to set aside up to $5,000 (pre-tax) for child care. When you contribute to your account, the amount deducted from your paycheck is deducted before taxes are deducted. Depending on your tax rate, this could save you up to $2,000 per year.
There are caveats to consider when using an FSA, but when properly planned, you needn’t worry. Just bear in mind that you’ll want to set aside the amount you’ll actually need since any remaining funds in the account at year’s end will be forfeited. You’ll also need to keep records, as you’ll need these when requesting reimbursements from your account.
5. Child Tax Credit
You may qualify for a federal tax credit on child care expenses with the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Up to 35% of your child care related costs (up to $3000 per child) could qualify. This could mean a tax savings of up $600 per child. And although the maximum tax credit available is capped at $6000 per family, this could still provide you with up to $1200 in tax savings. For details, and to see if you qualify, speak with your tax preparer.
6. Employer Benefits/Subsidies
Many employers recognize the challenges that working parents face in terms of child care. As a result, some organizations offer reimbursements or subsidies to help their employees cover these costs. Speak with your human resources department to find out what benefits might be available to you.
7. Child Care Subsidies for Students
If you or your spouse is a student, your school/university may offer financial assistance to help you pay for child care. These programs normally have eligibility requirements pertaining to income, course enrollment, GPA, and other factors. Speak with the registrar’s office at your school to find out what if offered.
Additionally, students in Pennsylvania may qualify for a child care subsidy through the Child Care Works program referenced below.
8. Child Care Assistance for Military/DoD Families
Tender Years, Inc. participates with Child Care Aware® of America. In addition to providing a variety of informational resources, Child Care Aware® of America is partnered with the United States Military and Department of Defense to serve and support their families through the Fee Assistance and Respite Child Care Programs. Click Here to visit their website.
9. Pennsylvania Child Care Works Subsidized Child Care Program
Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Resource Centers offer information resources in your local area. They also administer the Child Care Works subsidized child care program. This program assists parents by paying a portion of their child care costs. Eligibility requirements include residency status, income, work status, and other considerations.
To contact your area’s Early Learning Resource Center, call the Child Care Works Helpline at 1-877-4-PA-KIDS or Click Here to visit their website.
10. TFEC Scholarship
The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC) offers early education scholarships of up to $2500 for eligible Pre-K students ages 3 to 5 years. Click Here to learn more. Apply by August 1, 2022!
11. Tender Years Friends & Family Referral Program
If you have a child enrolled at Tender Years, you can earn a FREE week of tuition when you refer a new family who enrolls one or more children with us. Earn an unlimited number of free weeks! Plus, every family you refer will receive FREE Registration – a $100 Value! It’s a win-win! Click Here to learn more.