2022 Cost Guide for Los Angeles Daycares and Preschools

Cost of child care in Los Angeles, CA

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 Los Angeles can be a difficult decision -- and an expensive one. 

To help in your search, we found and analyzed websites for 997 daycares and preschools across Los Angeles. 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. 

Los Angeles 2022 Child Care Costs Summary

For full-time, full-day care in Los Angeles, the average cost across age groups ranged from $268 to $4,220 per month -- with an average price of $1,430 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?

Los Angeles 2022 Early Education Costs by Zip Code

Most affordable Austin metro area neighborhoods

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

  • 90001: Average of $322 per month.

  • 90003: Average of $340 per month.

  • 90069: Average of $428 per month.

  • 90044: Average of $435 per month.

  • 90037: Average of $441 per month.

More expensive neighborhoods

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

  • 90023: Average of $4,804 per month.

  • 90077: Average of $2,682 per month.

  • 90010: Average of $2,420 per month.

  • 90095: Average of $2,357 per month.

  • 90048: Average of $2,246 per month.


How much does infant daycare cost in Los Angeles?

Most child care centers define “infant” as less than 18 months old. Infant daycare in Los Angeles costs, on average, $1,571 per month for full-time, full-day care.

Los Angeles 2022 Infant Daycare Costs

Full-day rates for infant daycare in Los Angeles

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,571. Ranges from $290 to $2,965 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $1,151. Ranges from $440 to $2,160 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $869. Ranges from $335 to $1,375 per month.

Half-day rates for infant daycare in Los Angeles

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,254. Ranges from $620 to $2,274 per month.

  • 3 days a week: Average is $909. Ranges from $360 to $1,970 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $683. Ranges from $435 to $1,400 per month.

Drop-in rates for infant daycare in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, hourly drop-in rates for infant daycare average $24 per hour. Daily rates for infants average $52 per day.


How much does toddler daycare cost in Los Angeles?

Child care center websites in Los Angeles often define “toddler” as any child between the ages of 18 and 36 months old. Toddler daycare in Los Angeles costs, on average, $1,388 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. 

Los Angeles 2022 Toddler Daycare Costs

Full-day rates for toddler daycare in Los Angeles

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,388. Ranges from $209 to $2,900 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $991. Ranges from $110 to $2,160per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $804. Ranges from $310 to $1,300 per month.

Half-day rates for toddler daycare in Los Angeles

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,167. Ranges from $580 to $2,274 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $835. Ranges from $360 to $1,970 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $671. Ranges from $340 to $1,200 per month.

Drop-in rates for toddler daycare in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, hourly drop-in rates for toddler daycare average $31 per hour. Daily rates for toddlers average $56 per day.


How much does preschool cost in Los Angeles?

Across most preschool websites in Los Angeles, the average age for preschool is typically defined as between 3 and 5 years old. Preschool in Los Angeles costs, on average, $1,413 per month for full-time, full-day programs.

Los Angeles 2022 Preschool Costs

Full-day rates for preschools in Los Angeles

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,413. Ranges from $287 to $6,265 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $1,004. Ranges from $297 to $2,640 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $774. Ranges from $229 to $2,470 per month.

Half-day rates for preschools in Los Angeles

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,031. Ranges from $160 to $2,274 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $726. Ranges from $318 to $1,970 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $510. Ranges from $255 to $936 per month.


How much does Pre-K cost in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles, the average cost for private Pre-K is $1,348 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 Los Angeles, there are both private and public Pre-K options. We dive into both of them here. 

Private Pre-K costs in Los Angeles

Los Angeles 2022 Private Pre-K Costs

Full-day rates for Pre-K in Los Angeles

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,348. Ranges from $287 to $4,750 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $971. Ranges from $297 to $2,640 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $778. Ranges from $229 to $2,470 per month. 

Half-day rates for Pre-K in Los Angeles

  • 5 days a week: Average is $1,012. Ranges from $160 to $2,274 per month. 

  • 3 days a week: Average is $704. Ranges from $318 to $1,970 per month. 

  • 2 days a week: Average is $530. Ranges from $297 to $920 per month. 

Public Pre-K options in Los Angeles

For 5 year olds, LAUSD offers a Transition Kindergarten (TK) program. This is a full-day program (6 hours per day) that operates during the regular school year, and it is available at all LAUSD elementary schools that offer kindergarten. Enrollment is not restricted to any income thresholds. You can see the full list of elementary schools as well as enrollment instructions here.


Most common daycare and preschool fees in Los Angeles

Top 3 fees

As we searched through hundreds of Los Angeles 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

Los Angeles 2022 Child Care Costs Annual Fees

When we combined these 3 fees together for daycares and preschools, we saw that the average total fees ranged from $25 to $4,000 -- but the average was $637 per year. 

Diving deeper into each of these fees: 

  • Application (or waitlist fee). Application fees ranged from $25 to $2,500, with an average of $375 for each new student. 

  • Enrollment (or registration) fee*. Enrollment fees ranged from $25 to $2,550, with an average of $422.

  • Supply fee. Supply fees ranged from $15 to $1,850, with an average of $320. 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 Los Angeles was the sibling discount. Maybe having more siblings isn’t that bad after all. The sibling discount ranged from 2.5% 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.


Subsidized child care in Los Angeles

Paying for child care is expensive, and Los Angeles does provide options for families to receive financial assistance for care. California offers voucher-based child care through CalWORKs, which means that you’ll be able to choose the center for your child -- either a licensed or a license-exempt center in Los Angeles. CalWORKs offers three types of child care payment programs, and you can read more about the eligibility requirements here.  The California Department of Social Services website shows the maximum reimbursements you can receive, based on your income and need. For example, in Los Angeles for full-time monthly preschool programs, you could receive up to a maximum reimbursement of $1,253 per month.