2022 Cost Guide for Philadelphia Daycares and Preschools

written by Brightwheel | June 09, 2022

Cost of child care in Philadelphia, PA

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 Philadelphia can be a difficult decision -- and an expensive one. 

To help in your search, we found and analyzed websites for 711 daycares and preschools across Philadelphia. 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.

Philly 2022 Average Child Care Costs

For full-time, full-day care in Philadelphia, the average cost across age groups ranged from $467 to $2,271 per month -- with an average price of $1,143 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 2021 and 2022, we saw an average increase of 8% (based on websites that listed tuition for both years).


What’s included in this guide?

What does daycare cost near me?

Philly 2022 Child Care Costs by Zip Code

Most affordable Philadelphia metro area neighborhoods

Based on monthly average costs across schools, we noticed that the most affordable Philadelphia metro area zip codes for full-time, full-day care were:

  1. 19134: $225

  2. 19149: $462

  3. 19127: $503

  4. 19124: $718

  5. 19111: $751

More expensive neighborhoods

On the more expensive end of the spectrum, the Philadelphia metro area zip codes with higher average monthly costs for full-time, full-day care were:

  1. 19118: $1,907

  2. 19103: $1,706

  3. 19125: $1,670

  4. 19106: $1,470

  5. 19130: $1,402

See more childcare cost information in Philadelphia


How much does infant daycare cost in Philadelphia?

Most child care centers define “infant” as less than 18 months old. Infant daycare in Philadelphia costs, on average, $1,208 per month for full-time, full-day care.

Philly 2022 Infant Daycare Costs

Full-day rates for infant daycare in Philadelphia

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,232. Ranges from $560 to $2,236 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $1,087. Ranges from $636 to $1,680 per month.

  • 2 days a week: Average is $861. Ranges from $440 to $1,200 per month.

Half-day rates for infant daycare in Philadelphia

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,108. Ranges from $898 to $1,639 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $835. Ranges from $561 to $1,398 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $491. Ranges from $381 to $600 per month.

Drop-in rates for infant daycare in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, hourly drop-in rates for infant daycare average $20 per hour. Daily rates for infants average $58 per day.

See more childcare cost information in Philadelphia


How much does toddler daycare cost in Philadelphia?

Child care center websites in Philadelphia often define “toddler” as any child between the ages of 18 and 36 months old. Toddler daycare in Philadelphia costs, on average, $1,222 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. 

Philly 2022 Toddler Daycare Costs

Full-day rates for toddler daycare in Philadelphia

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,222. Ranges from $700 to $2,274 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $1,054. Ranges from $540 to $1,679 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $853. Ranges from $400 to $1,225 per month.

Half-day rates for toddler daycare in Philadelphia

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,169. Ranges from $514 to $1,770 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $806. Ranges from $388 to $1,398 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $608. Ranges from $375 to $896 per month.

Drop-in rates for toddler daycare in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, hourly drop-in rates for toddler daycare average $17 per hour. Daily rates for toddlers average $75 per day.

See more childcare cost information in Philadelphia


How much does preschool cost in Philadelphia?

Across most preschool websites in Philadelphia, the average age for preschool is typically defined as between 3 and 5 years old. Preschool in Philadelphia costs, on average, $1,093 per month for full-time, full-day programs.

Philly 2022 Preschool Costs

Full-day rates for preschools in Philadelphia

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,093. Ranges from $388 to $2,065 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $926. Ranges from $355 to $1,554 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $770. Ranges from $360 to $1,141 per month.

Half-day rates for preschools in Philadelphia

  • 5 days a week: Average is $957. Ranges from $514 to $1,621 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $735. Ranges from $388 to $1,160 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $580. Ranges from $337 to $836 per month.


How much does Pre-K cost in Philadelphia?

In Philadelphia, the average cost for private Pre-K is $1,048 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 Philadelphia, there are both private and public Pre-K options. We dive into both of them here.

Private Pre-K costs in Philadelphia

Philly 2022 Private Pre-K Costs

Full-day rates for Pre-K in Philadelphia

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,048. Ranges from $220 to $2,510 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $881. Ranges from $355 to $1,554 per month.

  • 2 days a week: Average is $719. Ranges from $360 to $1,141 per month.

Half-day rates for Pre-K in Philadelphia

  • 5 days a week: Average is $963. Ranges from $623 to $1,621 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $725. Ranges from $493 to $1,160 per month.

  • 2 days a week: Average is $556. Ranges from $337 to $836 per month.

Public Pre-K options in Philadelphia

The School District of Philadelphia offers free, full-day pre-kindergarten to eligible 3, 4, and 5 year olds who live in Philadelphia. Most pre-k programs operate following the school district’s schedule (September through June), and hours vary by location. There are three types of programs: Head Start, Bright Futures, and PHL PreK. Both Head Start and Bright Futures have income eligibility requirements, but PHL PreK is free to any child, regardless of income. You can learn more about your options here.

See more childcare cost information in Philadelphia


What are the most common daycare and preschool fees in Philadelphia?

Top 3 fees

As we searched through hundreds of Philadelphia early education websites, we noticed a lot of different fees. But the 3 most common annual fees were: 

  1. Application (or waitlist) fee

  2. Enrollment (or registration) fee*

  3. Supply fee

Philly 2022 Child Care Costs Additional Fees

When we combined these 3 fees together for daycares and preschools, we saw that the average total fees ranged from $25 to $400 -- but the average was $96 per year. 

Diving deeper into each of these fees: 

  • Application (or waitlist fee). Application fees ranged from $25 to $75, with an average of $50 for each new student. 

  • Enrollment (or registration) fee*. Enrollment fees ranged from $25 to $400, with an average of $89.

  • Supply fee. Supply fees ranged from $135 to $350, with an average of $243. 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. 

Additional fees

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. 

Discounts

Sibling discount. The most common discount we saw in Philadelphia was the sibling discount. Maybe having more siblings isn’t that bad after all. The sibling discount ranged from 4% to 10%, but mostly commonly, we saw 7.5% 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.

See more childcare cost information in Philadelphia


How to get subsidized child care in Philadelphia

Paying for child care is expensive, and Philadelphia does provide options for families to receive financial assistance for care. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services offers a Subsidized child care program called Child Care Works, that helps lower income families to receive help with their child care payments. You can see the income eligibility requirements, as well as forms and instructions for applying on the Child Care Works Subsidized Child Care Program page.

See more childcare cost information in Philadelphia