School for Babies Teaches Play and Self-Feeding for $33K a Year

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New York’s Explore+Discover school is focused on infant and toddler education, but the price tag is staggering.

For about $33,500 a year, you could send your high school senior to college or your infant to a private baby school in New York City.

Yes, you read that correctly. Explore+Discover, a private school for infants, is opening this fall in Manhattan’s affluent Gramercy Park neighborhood. Catering to infants ages 3 months to 23 months old, the school will charge tuition ranging from $10,488 for two half days a week to $33,492 for full time, from 8 a.m. to 6 pm.

So what does your baby get for the price tag? The Explore+Discover website boasts that the baby school provides “an environment that’s ideal for babies to crawl, walk, rest, have meals and make friends.” The teachers will provide feeding and diapering, as well as encouraging children to explore. The school will also focus on music, language (including Spanish) and other educational activities.

According to New York’s DNAinfo.com:

“Teachers will be constructing the curriculum with the children,” said Jacqueline Marks, director of the Gramercy location. “Let’s say the teachers notice that the child keeps going back to the same basket of rocks day after day. They’ll watch to see what they’re doing with them. Are they knocking them together or lining them up?”

The Gramercy infant learning center is the first of 26 centers planned for New York, DNAinfo.com said. Renee Bock, the school’s education director, said they’re filling a gap in children’s education:

For too long infant and toddler education has been invisible in New York City and at Explore+Discover this is the first time we are able to gather a team that has the expertise to put the infant toddler perspective on the map and to shift the way early care is provided across the city.

I have a son who just celebrated his first birthday. He stays home with me with the exception of one morning a week, when he goes to day care. He crawls, climbs on things, explores, plays with his 4-year-old sister, puts himself to sleep in his crib, feeds himself, dances to music, babbles nonsensical words (except dada, mama and his sister’s name), and generally acts like a typical 1-year-old.

I love the idea of a “school” whose primary focus is infants and toddlers — teaching music, language skills and more to eager little learners. The curriculum at the Explore+Discover learning center sounds amazing. But it is mind-boggling to me that anyone would pay $2,791 (or even $1,000) a month for a glorified day care.

I pay $84 a month for my 4-year-old to go to preschool two days a week for a couple of hours. I know that full-time day care can be costly, but $2,791 seems excessive. If I had an extra few thousand dollars in cash lying around each month – like the tuition Explore+Discover is charging — I would invest it in a college fund for my kids, not a baby school.

Would you send your child to an exorbitantly priced infant school? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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