Contained in the World’s Most Unique and Costly Preschools

So you want to give your little one the best start in life? We’re talking serious bragging rights at the private members’ club and networking opportunities that’ll make Ivy League admissions look like a breeze. If money is no object, the world’s most elite and expensive preschools offer state-of-the-art amenities that make the average daycare look little more than a cardboard box.

We’re talking chef-made organic meals, sprawling campuses, and field trips to the Galapagos. Admission is highly competitive, often requiring interviews, assessments, and six-figure donations. For the one percent of the one percent, these exclusive early education experiences are less about ABCs and 123s and more about the connections and privilege. Curious to see how the other half learns? Here’s an inside look at the 10 most expensive preschools in the world.

The crème de la crème of preschooling

From the UK’s Willcocks Nursery School attended by British royals Prince George and Princess Charlotte, to the Buckley School in New York — which caters to the offspring of celebrities and business moguls — these upscale preschools are designed for holistic development amid luxury. There, children aged three to eight can enjoy art lessons, ballet classes, and learn languages. They can focus on their creativity, hone their emotional intelligence, and make some of the most influential connections needed for that quick start in life.

Over in Hong Kong, the preschool programme at Yew Chung International School, Kowloon Tong charges fees ranging from HKD 140,679 to HKD 239,569 (SGD 24,560 to SGD 41,820/ USD 18,000 to USD 30,631) a year, taking the crown as one of the region’s most expensive kindergartens. Its violin programme starts for children as young as age four. Talk about cultivating prodigies!

From learning new languages to developing essential life skills, these exclusive preschools provide children with unique opportunities in unparalleled surroundings. While the fees may be astronomical to the average joe — for those able to afford them, the long-term benefits of such a prestigious early education are priceless. If the past presents any metric of their success, one can only expect these toddlers to grow up to to rule countries, innovate industries, and shape our world.

Here are the most expensive preschools in the world

1. Willcocks Nursery School in London- USD 14,000-19,000 per year

Inside the Willcocks Nursery School in London. (Image: Zak Hussein/Newscom)

Here’s a preschool with the royal stamp of approval. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s youngest son Prince Louis enrolled in the Willcocks Nursery School in 2021 —a few miles from his Kensington Palace address at the Holy Trinity Church in London. His elder sister, Princess Charlotte had also attended the female-run institution. Deemed as the preschool that teaches royals how to walk and talk, Willcocks’ curriculum features developmentally-inclined classes that are befitting of its status.

Facilities and curriculum

Founded in 1964, the nursery school “strives to maintain its ethos for high standards, excellence, and good manners,” according to the school’s website. The students follow a course designed for the “Early Years Foundation Stage,” which focuses on a child’s social and emotional development, physical development, communication, and language. The morning school is available for children ages two to five years and activities like free play, singing, poetry, acting, show and tell, and snack time. The structure also incorporates afternoon school which caters to younger children and includes activities like sports, cooking, painting, and playing with musical instruments. The lunch club is another special course which allows lessons in cooking, painting, and drama. From professionals teaching these advanced classes to local educational outings, there are only exceptional resources packed into its course design.


For parents to get their children into the school, they must register them and pay a nonrefundable £125 (USD 167) fee. Parents can register their children starting at birth if they choose to. If their children are selected, the school sends an email with a formalised offer. Parents will then pay a £2,000 (USD 2,472) deposit.

Once accepted, parents can sign their toddlers up for morning classes which come at a cost of £3975 (USD 4914.81) per term, afternoon classes at £2400 (USD 2967.43), and lunch club for anywhere between £525 (USD 649.13) per term for one day per week,  to £2100 (USD 2596.50) for all four days. The nursery operates for three terms per school year starting in January, April, and September.

Find out more here.

Address: Holy Trinity Church, Prince Consort Road, Kensington, London SW7 2BA

2. Le Jardin Academy in Hawaii – USD 25,000 Per Year

most expensive preschools in the world
The children enjoy a day outside the classroom in Le Jardin. (Image: Le Hardin Academy)

Le Jardin Academy is one of the world’s most expensive preschools, with an annual tuition of USD 25,000. This private school located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu focuses on developing confident, caring, and well-rounded students through innovative programmes and small class sizes.


The curriculum at Le Jardin emphasises creative thinking and problem-solving. Students as young as three years old learn computer coding and robotics. They also study Hawaiian culture, language, and hula dancing. Small class sizes of just 12 students ensure each child receives individualised attention. As part of the enrolment, iPads and e-books are handed out to seamlessly and safely introduce kids to the digital world.

Le Jardin provides a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop students’ talents and passions outside the classroom — one of the key focus areas of the preparatory course. Options include gymnastics, tennis, chess, yoga, and various musical ensembles. The school also has a strong focus on community service, with students participating in beach cleanups, fundraisers, and other events to help people in need.


Admission to Le Jardin is extremely competitive. The application process begins when children are just 2 years old, and families go through interviews, school visits, and testing to determine if they’ll be accepted. Only about one in five applicants are successful. Once enrolled, students enjoy state-of-the-art facilities including an indoor swimming pool, libraries, playgrounds, and spacious classrooms.

While the tuition at Le Jardin Academy is undoubtedly steep, families find the school’s nurturing environment, high academic standards, and lifelong benefits to be well worth the investment. For those able to afford it, Le Jardin offers an unparalleled start on the pathway to excellence.

Find out more here.

Address: 1004 Kailua Road, Kailua, Hawaii (HI) 96734

3. The Hong Kong Academy in Hong Kong – HKD 195300 Per Year (USD 13,000 – USD 26,000)

With a multicultural backdrop like Hong Kong, its schools and kindergartens naturally gravitate towards a global programme. The Hong Kong Academy, founded in 2000, prides itself as a non-profit, IB World School committed to providing an inclusive educational experience for students from pre-K until Grade 12.

Facilities and curriculum

The playgroup and pre-K classrooms offer environments that are interactive, and fun for every child. Teachers have developed a play-based curriculum that inspires curiosity, collaboration, and enthusiasm. Young learners are encouraged to express themselves through movement, art, music, language, and literacy. The Early Years learning environment is sensory-rich and visually appealing, inviting children to take the lead and drive their own exploration through the use of a range of materials. There is also an incorporation of Mandarin into the programme to encourage bilingualism. Community service is seen as an important learning area and is exercised through organic farming and outdoor playscapes that offer developmentally appropriate challenges. The outcome is to enhance the student’s physical, social, and cognitive learning skills.

In terms of facilities, the school boasts a sleek, glass-panelled building. HKA’s campus was built on sustainable principles and comes lots of with natural light and a space of 23,700 square metre. There are seasonal programs, extra-curricular clubs and after-school classes that help in bringing out the best in any kid.


Hong Kong Academy has rolling admissions and accepts applications all year round, placing new students throughout the year as spaces become available. Apart from completing the standard application form, the process includes a visit with 30 minutes in one of the school’s pre-K classrooms and increases to 40 minutes for the primary school entrants.

Find out more here.

Address: 33 Wai Man Road, Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR

4. The Co-Op School in New York – USD 28,000 Per Year

the most expensive preschools in the world
Kids enjoy a hands-on class of arts and crafts. (Image: The Co-op school)

The Co-Op School in New York City is one of the most prestigious preschools in the world, with an annual tuition of USD 28,000 per student. To even be considered for admission, children must be at least 2 years and 9 months of age by the start of the school year. The application process is highly competitive, with only about 7% of applicants gaining acceptance.

Facilities and curriculum

The Co-Op School’s facilities are state-of-the-art, with each classroom equipped with the latest gadgets. The curriculum focuses on learning through play and exploration. Core classes include arts and crafts, music and movement, math, science, and literacy. Students also take part in yoga, swimming, and foreign language lessons. The low student-teacher ratio of 5 to 1 ensures each child receives individualised attention and support. Guided by the Reggio Emilia approach which states that “students of all ages are capable, competent, curious people full of potential and knowledge who have preferences, interests, and opinions,” the school allows students from the Pre-K routine to experiment with special classes in categories of science, creative making, music, and movement.

The students can also participate in a variety of after-school programs like dance, gymnastics, tennis, and coding. The school also frequently takes students on exciting field trips to museums, theatres, and cultural events around the Big Apple. These activities and outings aim to expose children to new interests and help them discover their passions early on.

Parental involvement

As a Co-op school, parental involvement is an important part of the experience. Parents are required to volunteer in the classroom, assist on field trips, and help organise school events. While the tuition and time commitment may seem demanding, some parents find that the opportunities for their children and the whole family are well worth the investment. The tight-knit community and life-long friendships formed at the school make it a life-changing experience.

Attending an elite preschool like the Co-op School provides children with advantages that can shape their development and open up opportunities for years to come. For those able to afford the high costs of admission, the Co-op School offers an unparalleled early education and community that money simply can’t buy elsewhere.

Find out more here.

Address: 644 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221

5. Yew Chung International School in Hong Kong – From HKD 239,569 (USD 30,600) Per Year

Yew Chung International School (YCIS) looks at education through a local yet global lens, implementing bilingual and co-cultural learning through a co-principal and co-teaching model. Some of the notable alumni from the school include fencer Chu Ka Mong, singer and actor William Chan, and professional footballer Jared Sean Gallagher. Its Shanghai branch is popular among Taiwanese and Hong Kong celebrities the likes of Wu Chun, Ada Choi, Yumiko Cheng, and Jordan Chan and Cherrie Ying — all of whom have all sent their kids there. 

Facilities and curriculum

YCIS provides high-quality, bilingual learning and through-train education to students with the school’s philosophy focusing on providing a fully rounded and balanced education for each child. Teachers emphasise on dual language acquisition to produce confident, balanced, and socially responsible individuals. YCIS courses are offered in both English and Mandarin from early childhood, through primary and secondary classes. The institution also has schools in Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Qingdao in China, and Silicon Valley in the United States.

YCIS Kow Loon is equipped with flexible learning spaces, including a Global Learning Centre and Learning Communities. It also has an auditorium, a gymnasium, an indoor swimming pool, computer labs, music rooms, art and design studios, an exercise room, a basketball court, a cafeteria, and outdoor playgrounds.


For kids, the grades are marked Early Childhood Education for 6 months to 4 years, and Lower Primary from ages 5 to 7. Admissions require hopefuls to register online on the school’s portal, followed by a placement test or interview, application review, and decision notification. For the infant and toddler programme, 4 full days of learning per week is matched with an annual price tag of HKD 239,569 (USD 30,622.69). To move on to primary school, a one-time deposit of HKD 1,000 (USD 127.82) is required, proceeded by ten instalments amounting to HKD 251,420 annually. (USD 32,137.54)

Find out more here.

Address: 3 To Fuk Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

6. EtonHouse in Sentosa, Singapore – From SGD 38,534 (USD 28,180) Per Year

The toddlers of Singapore are not going to be left behind, especially the little ones graduating from the prestigious EtonHouse in Sentosa. The state-of-the-art school gives kids the best infrastructure needed for being ahead of their peers.

Facilities and curriculum

The Reggio Emilia-inspired programme offers a range of specially-curated hands-on experiences to support the development of children aged between 12 to 18 months. The curriculum encourages developing critical and creative thinking skills, social competence, and bilingual skills apart from competencies around literacy and numeracy. The course is designed to bring out collaborative understanding and build life skills through physical, social, and sensory encounters. For later years, the child-focused curriculum turns to a bilingual environment with a focus on dialogue, singing, movement, drawing, painting, designing and constructing, collage, dramatic play and music.


For preschool applications, EtonHouse Sentosa Pre-School requires parents to pay a one-time, non-refundable registration fee of SGD 2,600 ( USD 1907.23, excluding GST). A refundable preschool deposit (SGD 5,559 i.e. USD 4077.80 for Step-Up to Year 1) is also charged. An assortment of documents needs to be furnished by the parents which include all of the ward’s information including immunisation, and learning records among others. The admission is competitive, and if selected, a formal Letter of Offer is issued. For those parents looking to admit their child to this exclusive preschool, termly charges run somewhere in the late eight-grand bracket. If you’re looking for pre-nursery i.e. 18 months to 2 years old, the 5-day charge comes to about SGD 9,633.42 per term( USD 7066.60).

Find out more here.

Address: 33 Allanbrooke Road, Sentosa, Singapore 099981 (5 mins from Sentosa Cove and Harbourfront)

7. The Australian International School in Singapore – From SGD 39,567 (USD 29,000) Per Year

AIS’s truly global education begins with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) from preschool to year 5. With a tuition fee of over USD 25,00o per year for their early year education programme, rest assured you’re doing the best for your child.

Faculty and curriculum

The only school in Singapore which provides a mix of Australian and international curricula, AIS students entering the first few years of education are neatly categorised based on infant care schedules and those of ages 18 months to 5 years. For infants, the qualified and experienced educators create an ambiance of caregiving that focuses on one-on-one time, observing and understanding the infant’s communications and their needs. For later years, the course takes the form of an inquiry-based curriculum that encourages children to explore concepts rather than themes, weaving in skills and knowledge from many disciplines, including early numeracy and literacy skills, science, technology, engineering, or art. The understanding is to create partnerships with the pupils that stimulate the most creative and scientific corners of their minds.


With quality education comes quality waiting time. For Singaporeans looking to enroll their kids, the standard documentation process applies. This would require them to hand in forms like the latest NAPLAN test, references, and other important visa and immunisation records. For the 2-year Nursery Program and the 3-year preschool session, applicants have to be two and three years old respectively while joining school in January. Priority is given to siblings of existing students.

For the Early Years programs catering to children aged 2 months to 5 years, a one-time enrollment fee of SGD 3,897 is levied. For 5 full days in the nursery, each term costs around SGD 13,354, whereas the school year comprises two terms, adjusting the annual tuition to approximately SGD 26,708. For the preschool structure with 5 full days of school, the costs escalate to SGD 17, 835 per term.

Find out more here.

Address: 1 Lorong Chuan Singapore 556 818

8. The Avenues School in New York – USD 40,000 – 65,000 Per Year

This New York institution will set you back a cool USD 65,00 per year in tuition for their five-full-day preschool programme. The luxurious and expensive preschool is located in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan and is one of the most sought-after in the city. If the steep fee has you seeing dollar signs, The Avenues does offer some need-based financial aid for families who qualify.

Facilities and curriculum

The Avenues World School’s preschool program focuses on developing creativity, critical thinking, and global awareness in young children. Their inquiry-based curriculum teaches kids through hands-on exploration of topics like world cultures, sciences, and the arts. The school has state-of-the-art facilities, including a rooftop playground, art studios, a theatre, and a culinary space for cooking classes. The curriculum focuses on developing skills like creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and cross-cultural communication that will prepare students for an increasingly connected world. Added to the curriculum is the focus on bilingual education — their goal being for students from nursery to 5th grade to spend 50% of their time learning in English and 50% learning in a second language: one day in English, one day in Mandarin or Spanish.


Getting into The Avenues is an extremely competitive process. Admission is based on an application, interview, and assessment of each child to evaluate developmental readiness. The school looks for intellectually curious kids with strong social-emotional skills who will thrive in their nurturing yet academically rigorous environment. The preschool programme is for children 2 to 5 years old. Class sizes are small, with a 6:1 student-teacher ratio, so each child can get personalised attention to meet their needs.

Find out more here.

Address: 11 Madison Square North, 16th floor, New York 10010-1420

9. The Riverdale School in New York – USD 54,000 Per Year

Children enjoy a gardening class on campus. (Image: The Riverdale School)

Considered one of the most expensive preschools in the world with annual tuition fees upward of USD 50,000 per year, The Riverdale School in NYC is the best money can buy. To even be considered for admission, children must be between the ages of 2 and 5, and you’ll need to submit an application during the admission period, usually September through November for the following school year.

Facilities and curriculum

The school encourages hands-on learning right from the start. Riverdale’s eight-acre campus encourages independence and active learning. Field trips are also an important part of the experience. Students visit museums, parks, theatres, and businesses around New York City. The school aims to spark children’s natural curiosity about the world around them.

The facilities are state-of-the-art. Classrooms are filled with the latest educational toys, books, and technology to support interactive learning. Security is also a top priority, with a guard at the entrance, security cameras, and an ID check for all visitors. The school provides a safe, nurturing environment for young children to learn and grow into independent thinkers.

Admission Process

The admission process is highly competitive. You’ll need to schedule a school visit and classroom observation, and your child will be evaluated. There are only 16 openings in pre-K and 44 in kindergarten, so the school looks for children who seem socially, emotionally, and intellectually ready for their program. They consider your child’s maturity level, ability to participate in group activities, communication skills, and enthusiasm for learning. Schools look for students who will thrive in a rigorous environment, so demonstrating your child’s talents, skills, and interests is key. Having a sibling already enrolled or being a legacy family can help.

Find out more here.

Address: 1 Spaulding Lane, Bronx, NY 10471

10. The Buckley School in Manhattan, New York – USD 58,000 Per Year

An independent, K-9 day school for boys located on the Upper East Side of New York’s bougie Manhattan district, the Buckley School is the proud alma mater for an incredible number of world leaders, industrialists and artists alike. A few members of the Rockefeller family, and kids of former US Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Donald Trump, are all graduates of this institution. Such is the clout associated with Buckley that even Succession characters Kendall Roy and Stewy Hosseini are portrayed as alumni.

Facilities and curriculum

Founded in 1913, this boys’ elementary school was established with the aim of offering a classical curriculum — a more traditional route that focuses on liberal arts, natural sciences, classical literature, the fine arts, and the history of civilisation. As the school expanded to higher classes, so did the amenities provided to its students. From an early age, kids are exposed to Spanish and French as part of their course. Over time, they decide which language they want to study more intensively and develop the skills for a bilingual education. Buckley also offers a wide range of athletic activities which include football, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, strength training, wrestling, baseball, gymnastics, lacrosse, and track. However, the tougher sports options are available for older kids.


The Buckley School website reveals that tuition for all grades in the 2023-2024 academic year is USD 58,500. This includes lunch, books and supplies, activities, student accident insurance, and athletic uniforms for inter-scholastic sports. For the admission process, parents and guardians first need to register on the school’s portal, followed by an open house where they’d meet and interact with the Head of School, Director of Lower School, faculty, students, and other alumni. After the tour, parents are called in for an interview, succeeded by the child’s school visit. Siblings of current or former batches are given preference in this process.

Find out more here.

Address: 113 East 73rd St, New York, NY 10021

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): 

What age is best for preschool?
Ages 3 to 5 are considered preschool age. The age range for preschool differs slightly around the world. In Singapore, some preschools offer playgroup classes, which start from 18 months old. Most preschools in Singapore admit students up to six years old, before they begin Primary 1.

How to choose a preschool?
It is important to keep in mind certain factors like helpful teachers, supportive staff, a learning environment, and ample play space among others.

What is the most expensive private school in the world?
The Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland is considered the most expensive private school in the world with an annual fee of USD 157,000.

Which country has the best preschools?
France, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are all examples of countries with high-quality public early childhood education programs that are open to all children.

(Main and featured images: Le Jardin Academy)  

Source: Prestige Online

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