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What Are Some Key Differences Between Private and Public Preschools

choosing a preschool

Choosing a preschool is just one of the many important tasks you’ll be faced with as a parent. But because preschool often sets the stage for the remainder of a child’s education, choosing a preschool is something that should be taken very seriously. While the benefits of preschool are endless, parents often struggle to decide between public and private preschools. So to help you make an informed decision, this article is going to look at some of the key differences between public and private schools.

Private Preschools

One of the biggest benefits of private preschools is that they often have more flexibility with their curricula. So private schools can offer specialized courses or classes that cater to their students’ needs and wants, which is appealing to many parents. Students can thrive in classes tailored to their interests and needs and class sizes are generally smaller too. Private schools, in general, tend to be smaller, especially seeing as how they account for 24% of the nation’s schools by enrolling 10% of students from preschool to high school. With smaller classes, more teachers, and different curriculum options, private school students can get the personalized education they need. Furthermore, if parents want to be more involved in their children’s education, they have that option with private schools — parents are often encouraged to be involved as possible. All in all, private schools have immense benefits for students.

Public Preschools

In public schools, the curriculum is typically the same for all students and focuses on core subjects. This can be a solid foundation for beginning an education for students of all learning levels. However, with bigger class sizes and fewer teachers, students may have a more difficult time getting the personalized attention they need. But public school students may have access to tons of extra-curricular activities, like sports, clubs, and other activities that can tailor to the student’s personal interests. In public schools, children will be taught a strict curriculum that will prepare them for kindergarten while focusing on various extra activities to help feed personal interests.

Teacher Qualifications

One significant difference lies in the qualifications of the teachers. According to the Center for Public Education, a majority of teachers in federally funded programs and daycare centers lack bachelor’s degrees, while most school-based preschool program teachers hold bachelor’s degrees. Private schools may have varying requirements for teachers such as prioritizing subject-specific expertise over general teaching certification. Additionally, many private schools seek accreditation for teacher qualifications and may require teachers to hold specific certifications or qualifications. That means that in most cases private schools often have more rigorous hiring requirements and thus higher qualifications for their teachers.

Educational Freedom

Private preschools typically enjoy more autonomy compared to their public counterparts. This autonomy allows private school teachers to design their own curricula, select textbooks, and implement teaching methods that align with the school’s philosophy. In contrast, public school teachers must adhere to state-mandated curricula and teaching standards.

Religious Education

Many private preschools, particularly those with religious affiliations, incorporate religious education into their curriculum. This may align with the values and beliefs of some parents but may not be suitable for others who prefer a secular education for their children.


Private schools often have selective admission processes, considering factors such as academic performance, extracurricular activities, essays, interviews, and recommendations. This selectivity allows private schools to maintain a specific educational environment and cater to students with similar learning styles. Public schools, on the other hand, accept all students within their district boundaries.


Public schools are funded by local, state, and federal government taxes which makes it free for students to attend. However, families may still incur some expenses for things like transportation, school supplies, and extracurricular activities. On the other hand, the cost of private school tuition varies widely depending on the school and location.

Governance and Accountability

Public schools are accountable to the state education board and must adhere to standardized testing and curriculum guidelines. In contrast, private schools are not bound by these regulations and may follow their own assessment methods and curricular standards. However, private schools often undergo evaluations by accrediting agencies to maintain quality standards.

As you can see, there are a few key differences between private and public schools. While both types of schools provide an adequate education, private preschools may be more beneficial. With individualized curricula and a stronger focus on academics, private preschool students will be set for a successful future. So keep these differences in mind when choosing a preschool — but remember, in the end, it’s up to you to decide which school is best for your child.