2023 Cost Guide for Denver Daycares and Preschools
Cost of child care in Denver, CO
The right child care is an investment that can make a lasting impact on your little one’s life. But finding and choosing the best early education provider in Denver can be a difficult decision -- and an expensive one.
To help in your search, we found and analyzed websites for 377 daycares and preschools across Denver. We brought it all together in this guide to give you a sense of the range of prices you might see as well as the averages that you’ll likely pay based on your needs.
For full-time, full-day care in Denver, the average cost across age groups ranged from $458 to $2,371 per month -- with an average price of $1,575 per month.
We know that cost is just one factor in determining the best daycare or preschool for your child. And, many elements go into a provider’s cost: curriculum, student-teacher ratios, schedule, location, facilities, educational training of teachers, etc.
We hope this guide will help you prepare for the type of investment you’ll be making. Depending on when you’re starting your search, just consider that tuition continues to rise. Between 2022 and 2023, we saw an average increase of 9%.
What’s included in this guide?
What does daycare cost near me? A breakdown by neighborhood.
How much does infant daycare cost in Denver? (0-18 months old)
How much does toddler daycare cost in Denver? (18-36 months old)
How much does preschool cost in Denver? (3-5 years old)
How much does Pre-K cost in Denver? (4-5 years old)
What does daycare cost near me?
Most affordable Denver metro area neighborhoods
Based on monthly average costs across schools, we noticed that the most affordable Denver metro area zip codes for full-time, full-day care were:
More expensive neighborhoods
On the more expensive end of the spectrum, the Denver metro area zip codes with higher average monthly costs for full-time, full-day care were:
How much does infant daycare cost in Denver?
Most child care centers define “infant” as less than 18 months old. Infant daycare in Denver costs, on average, $1,730 per month for full-time, full-day care.
Full-day rates for infant daycare in Denver
5 days a week: Average is $1,730. Ranges from $934 to $2,891 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $1,152. Ranges from $604 to $1,605 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $823. Ranges from $436 to $1,400 per month.
Half-day rates for infant daycare in Denver
5 days a week: Average is $916. Ranges from $811 to $1,125 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $683. Ranges from $708 to $915 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $478. Ranges from $450 to $840 per month.
Drop-in rates for infant daycare in Denver
In Denver, hourly drop-in rates for infant daycare average $12 per hour. Daily rates for infants average $62 per day.
How much does toddler daycare cost in Denver?
Child care center websites in Denver often define “toddler” as any child between the ages of 18 and 36 months old. Toddler daycare in Denver costs, on average, $1,597 per month for full-time, full-day care. We’ve generally seen that costs for toddlers are cheaper than for infants, since at the higher end of the age range, they require slightly less dedicated attention and many times are potty trained. Heads-up: some providers will require that your child is potty trained for certain ages, while others do not -- so just make sure to ask.
Full-day rates for toddler daycare in Denver
5 days a week: Average is $1,597. Ranges from $290 to $2,471 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $1,018. Ranges from $604 to $1,434 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $704. Ranges from $436 to $1,125 per month.
Half-day rates for toddler daycare in Denver
5 days a week: Average is $1,126. Ranges from $600 to $1,645 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $599. Ranges from $400 to $1,159 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $376. Ranges from $276 to $840 per month.
Drop-in rates for toddler daycare in Denver
In Denver, hourly drop-in rates for toddler daycare average $13 per hour. Daily rates for toddlers average $76 per day.
How much does preschool cost in Denver?
Across most preschool websites in Denver, the average age for preschool is typically defined as between 3 and 5 years old. Preschool in Denver costs, on average, $1,435 per month for full-time, full-day programs.
Full-day rates for preschools in Denver
5 days a week: Average is $1,435. Ranges from $450 to $2,497 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $897. Ranges from $575 to $1,380 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $646. Ranges from $425 to $1,125 per month.
Half-day rates for preschools in Denver
5 days a week: Average is $921. Ranges from $425 to $1,613 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $502. Ranges from $350 to $1,159 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $350. Ranges from $268 to $840 per month.
How much does Pre-K cost in Denver?
In Denver, the average cost for private Pre-K is $1,539 per month for full-time, full-day programs.
You might be wondering, “What is the difference between preschool and Pre-K?” Preschool is usually offered to children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. Pre-K is more of a transition from preschool to kindergarten, and is usually offered for children between the ages of 4 and 5 years old. Pre-kindergartens are also sometimes attached to elementary schools and are timed for the school year right before kindergarten. This helps families more smoothly transition to kindergarten.
In Denver, there are both private and public Pre-K options. We dive into both of them here.
Private Pre-K costs in Denver
Full-day rates for Pre-K in Denver
5 days a week: Average is $1,539. Ranges from $518 to $2,695 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $935. Ranges from $600 to $1,380 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $642. Ranges from $434 to $1,125 per month.
Half-day rates for Pre-K in Denver
5 days a week: Average is $897. Ranges from $500 to $1,613 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $552. Ranges from $350 to $1,159 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $377. Ranges from $275 to $840 per month.
Public Pre-K options in Denver
Denver Public Schools (DPS) offers quality half-day and full-day preschool/pre-k for all 4-year-olds (regardless of income) across 80 DPS schools. If your little one turns 4 on or before October 1, they’re eligible. Tuition credits are offered to all families, on a sliding scale based on income. See the tuition rates here in English, and here in Spanish. Check out instructions to apply here. For 3-year-olds, there is a pilot program at certain DPS schools, and enrollment is not guaranteed. You can learn more here.
What are the most common daycare and preschool fees in Denver?
Top 3 fees
As we searched through hundreds of Denver early education websites, we noticed a lot of different fees. But the 3 most common annual fees were:
Application (or waitlist) fee
Enrollment (or registration) fee*
When we combined these 3 fees together for daycares and preschools, we saw that the average total fees ranged from $30 to $2,800 -- but the average was $367 per year.
Diving deeper into each of these fees:
Application (or waitlist fee). Application fees ranged from $35 to $1,000, with an average of $176 for each new student.
Enrollment (or registration) fee*. Enrollment fees ranged from $30 to $2,850, with an average of $285.
Supply fee. Supply fees ranged from $35 to $700, with an average of $307. There were a few child care providers that mentioned an itemized list of school supplies was available, in lieu of the supply fee. So, it might be worth asking if you can purchase supplies (and shop around and save) instead of paying the fee.
* A number of centers had a “facility fee” that was due at enrollment/registration. For our calculations, we included this facility fee in the enrollment/registration fee.
Meals. Some early education providers may provide meals. If they do, ask if this is already included in the tuition. We saw a few cases where meals were an added fee.
Deposit. Although not technically an additional fee, we have seen a number of daycares and preschools require a deposit. We’ve seen that this is many times one month of tuition that is later applied towards the last month’s tuition. Make sure to ask when and how the deposit will be applied or returned.
Penalty fees. There are a number of fees when things don’t exactly go as planned. Here are the main ones we came across when searching each of the websites:
Early or late arrival fee. If you drop off your little one before the scheduled time, or are running late to pick them up, there might be a fee for that. We typically saw a fee of $1 per minute.
Late payments. These ranged from either a per-day fee (e.g. $10 for each day late) and/or a total fee of $25 or $50.
Returned check. Usually around $25-50.
No lunch fee. If meals are not provided, and you forget to pack a lunch for your child, there may be a fee. This one wasn’t as common, though. And the fee we saw was usually around $5/day.
Sibling discount. The most common discount we saw in Denver was the sibling discount. Maybe having more siblings isn’t that bad after all. The sibling discount ranged from 5% to 50%, but mostly commonly, we saw 10% to be the standard.
Lump sum payment discount. Preschool and daycare is expensive. But, if you have the means to pay the annual cost in one lump sum, some schools will give you a discount for that. If it’s not listed on the website, make sure to ask. Where it was listed, we usually saw it range from 1-5% off.
Absence and closures. Providers seem to be divided on this one. If your child will be out due to an illness or a vacation, or if the school is closed for holidays or weather, you may be wondering if you’ll get a credit for those days. Definitely make sure to read your handbook -- or just ask the school. Most often, a school’s policy will likely be that no adjustments will be made. But, we did see a few schools that offered vacation credit or pro-rated certain weeks.
How to get subsidized child care in Denver
Paying for child care is expensive, and Denver does provide options for families to receive financial assistance for care. You can apply for assistance through the Denver city government child care website, found here. There are income eligibility requirements that you can see on the website. For example, for a family of 4, if your gross income (before taxes and deductions) is $4,968.75 or less, you’ll qualify.
If you have a 4-year-old that is heading to preschool, you need to check out the Denver Preschool Program (DPP), which is a nonprofit organization under a contract with the City and County of Denver that is funded by a sales tax. If you live in the city/county, and have a 4-year old, you’re eligible for a tuition credit no matter your income; to see how much you qualify for, check out their calculator here.
If you have a 3-year-old, DPP is piloting a similar program, but there are income eligibility requirements. Check out their eligibility requirements and calculator here.