Is The Goddard School Worth It? (Review)

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The Goddard School is one of the largest childcare chains in the United States.

Individually owned and managed, almost all Goddard schools have excellent reviews from parents.

However, due to the popularity of this childcare franchise, you’ll often find that these nursery schools have some of the highest fees of all childcare settings.

Waitlists are long too, with many parents putting their baby’s name down while they’re still in the womb.

So is Goddard school worth it? Or are you just paying for the brand when you choose a pre-school like Goddard?

Here’s a full and detailed review.

Goddard schools are known for an incredible curriculum that challenges children to learn independently through play, first-hand experience, and following their own curiosity. The teachers and facilities are top notch, so you know your Goddard child is going to be in amazing hands.

However, Goddard schools are some of the most expensive options around and some parents feel there are too many hidden costs (paying extra for food, waitlist fees, etc.)

Let’s take a closer look at the costs, pros, and cons of Goddard schools.


What is Goddard?

The Goddard School is a childcare franchise that has over 550 schools across 38 states.

The company was founded in 1988 and has headquarters in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Goddard schools care for more than 70,000 children from six weeks to six years of age.

Each individual Goddard school is licensed in their state and receives annual and semi-annual licensing visits.

The Goddard School is nationally accredited through Cognia (formerly known as AdvancED) as well as Partnership for 21st Century Learning: A Network of Battelle for Kids.


Goddard Teaching Philosophy Explained

The Goddard School philosophy is that children learn best through experience.

Each school uses modern and academically-endorsed methods to enable children to have fun while learning valuable life skills through play and exploration.

The Goddard School has its own unique learning program called F.L.EX. This stands for Fun Learning Experience.

Rather than following a traditional lesson plan, teachers at Goddard schools will use real-life experiences to help little ones learn.

The F.L.EX program also includes modules on science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths (STEAM). As well as the focus on fun, children’s individual talents and personalities are appreciated.

Each Goddard school has been built with exciting spaces where kids can discover the world around them:

  • Classrooms – Unique spaces for infants, first steps, toddlers, get set, preschool, pre-k, junior kindergarten, and kindergarten
  • Outdoor playgrounds – Giving children the freedom to explore and discover the great outdoors every day that the weather allows
  • Gyms – Perfect for yoga, aerobics, rock climbing, and indoor sports like soccer and basketball
  • Computer labs – Providing the technology for kids to learn to code and find creative solutions to problems

(See how Goddard compares to Montessori here, and read about Goddard vs Primrose here.)


Goddard Day To Day Procedures/Typical Day

The Goddard School offers full-time tuition as well as part-time tuition on fewer days each week.

There’s also a before and after-school ‘kids club’ for elementary school children.

Opening and closing times vary by school, but are usually around 7 am until 6 pm, Monday to Friday.

Some schools open and close a little earlier, some a little later.

A typical day at The Goddard School includes exploration time, group activities, time spent playing outdoors, morning snack time, lunch, afternoon snack time, and (for younger children) naptime.

The daily schedule differs for each age group:

  • Babies – The Goddard School follows the care schedule that your baby is used to at home. Babies can enjoy songs, books, sensory sessions, and physical exploration each day.
  • Toddlers – The structure of each day is driven by the curiosity and interests of toddlers as they explore the world around them and flex their independence.
  • Preschool and Pre-K – Children are prepared for school by focusing on academic skills as well as interpersonal and social skills. They learn to communicate their thoughts and feelings, ask questions, and work as part of a team.

(Learn a little more about the difference between preschool and daycare here.)

Reporting

At the end of each day, parents use an online app to see a report that summarises what their child did that day.

It includes information about how long the child napped for, how much lunch they ate, and how they’re doing with the development of their key milestones.

There’s also a note about a special moment from the day.

Parents are also welcome to telephone at any point in the day to check on their children.

Supplies

The Goddard School often requests that parents provide the following supplies:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Breastmilk or formula
  • Change of clothing
  • Bedding for naptime (crib sheet, blanket and/or sleeping bag)

Some Goddard schools provide lunch whereas others ask that you bring a packed lunch for your child each day.

Where to get more info

As each Goddard school can be quite different in terms of its policies and procedures, the best way to get answers to any questions that you have is to take a tour of your local school.

You may find that the school representatives do not like to give out information over the phone – they prefer to get you into the school and show you around.

Before your tour, it’s a good idea to make a list of questions you have.

We suggest that you ask about the parent to teacher ratios in each class, what meals and snacks are provided, and how the drop-off and pick-up procedure works.

You’ll also find a list of useful questions to ask here.


Goddard Tuition Fee Examples

How much does Goddard school cost? It depends.

As each Goddard school is an individually owned and operated franchise, the rates vary.

The Goddard School doesn’t publish a list of rates, but states on the website that the tuition rates are “comparable to others in your local premium childcare market”.

To get an accurate quote for how much it will cost to send your child to Goddard, you’ll need to contact your local school to ask.

FirstQuarterFinance.com contacted several different Goddard schools at locations across the United States to get an idea of how much tuition costs.

The Goddard School representatives quoted rates in the following ranges:

  • Infants: $1,600 to $1,650 per month
  • Toddlers: $1,500 to $1,600 per month
  • Preschool/Kindergarten: $1,400 to $1,500 per month

In your area, the rates could be higher or lower than this.

Large cities like New York City tend to have higher childcare costs in general when compared to smaller cities in the Midwest.

In Goddard School reviews on Yelp, parents regularly ask about the fees but these questions usually go unanswered. However, one particular Goddard school did respond:

“We only do 5 full days in our infant room. The current rate is $1,491 a month.”  – The Goddard School Cave Creek, AZ

Additional costs

As well as the tuition fees, parents whose kids attend The Goddard School will have some extras to budget for.

The rates don’t include food. Some schools provide meals and snacks for an additional cost.

If your local school doesn’t offer this, you will need to provide food for your child to take with them.

While some other nursery schools may provide diapers, wipes, and infant formula, The Goddard School doesn’t provide any of these baby essentials so you’ll need to buy your own and bring them in.

Most Goddard schools won’t make up powdered formula for your baby, which may leave you having to resort to the expensive ready-to-feed bottles of pre-prepared formula. This is pretty common at a lot of infant daycares, though.

The Goddard School has a calendar of events like book fairs, carnivals, and weekly pizza day – In most schools, these also have an extra fee or require some spending money.

There’s also a Teacher Appreciation Week (yes, a whole week!) that requires kids to bring in snacks, treats, and gifts for their teachers each day.

Finally, there is a fee to be added to the waitlist for a place at The Goddard School.

The fee may vary depending on the individual school but is usually in the region of $200 to $250. This fee is non-refundable, even if a place doesn’t become available for your child.


What Real Parents Are Saying About Goddard Schools

You’ll find lots of reviews about individual Goddard schools online and the majority of these are positive. 

I’ve picked out some common themes that run through these reviews to give you an idea of what parents like and dislike about their local Goddard school.

Pros

The program

Many parents are quick to praise The Goddard School’s educational program which focuses on learning through play and recognizing each child as an individual.

“The teachers do such an amazing job of guiding, not dictating routines. They establish such a friendly environment where the kids are encouraged to be more independent and play better together.

“The entire staff is so welcoming and really interested in engaging each child based on his/her own needs and interests.”

Jen G

The communication

Parents love both the app that The Goddard School has and how much effort the teachers put into taking photos of their children to send throughout the day.

“I love how you can track your child’s day via an online app. It lets you know every detail down to the snacks and length of naps. ”

Kristen B

The security

On the whole, Goddard schools are very secure and use technology to ensure the safety of children while at school.

“The added security at the door, being that it’s locked and requires a code and fingerprint to open, helps with our peace of mind.”

Lindsay G

Cons

When reading negative reviews, it’s important to remember that each Goddard school is independently owned, so any issues at a particular school won’t necessarily be present in the others.

You should also consider the dates that the reviews were posted, as many of the reviews that appear at the top of Google are over ten years old.

The owners

The reviews of several Goddard schools mention that while the teachers are friendly, the owners and directors aren’t always as warm and cuddly.

When you take your tour, it’s a good idea to ask if the owners are available for a chat.

“The owners are not as warm and friendly as the teachers they hire. The owners have zero regards for the livelihood of the children, families and staff.

“If you rub them the wrong way, they will continue to be unkind to you. I have witnessed the owners lacking smiles and their unfriendly demeanor while dropping off in the morning to myself, other parents and even staff.”

J.H.

The waitlist

Goddard schools’ waitlists can be very long.

Most parents accept this, but some find it frustrating when their children are still on the waitlist long after they expected to have been offered a place.

“This school charges a $200 non-refundable fee to be on a waitlist.  They never return it.  Even if you are never offered a spot!

“In theory, there could be hundreds on the waitlist. Plus, siblings of existing students also go ahead of others on the waitlist. I believe this school must make a lot of money maintaining a long waitlist. 

“They have very few openings available at any time, yet they happily take your $200 and place you on a waitlist (forever).”

Meghan B

The vacation time

Some parents are unhappy that they are expected to pay fees when they are on vacation and even when the school is closed.

“The school has so many more days off than other schools. For example, the school will be closed from Dec 25th to Jan 1st. That’s the whole week off and they don’t deduct the tuition for it.

“Other school like Kids R Kids and Primrose will give you one week vacation for every 6 months you are there. Goddard School, Big NO NO! Forget about giving you a whole week vacation, they won’t even accommodate one make up day.”

Ei T

The food provision

If your local Goddard school doesn’t supply food, you’ll need to allocate time to make a packed lunch each day. 

“No food included, food costs extra at Goddard. We spoke to other parents who did pay for food and they reported that their children would frequently be served something different than what the parents had paid for/what the menu had promised.”

Eve L


Wrapping Up

The Goddard School offers a popular program centered around learning through play rather than structured lessons.

The indoor and outdoor facilities are excellent and the teachers take the time to learn about every child and treat them as individuals.

As The Goddard School is a franchise, there are some wide-sweeping differences between how each local school works in terms of things like opening hours, whether meals are included, and the rates.

To decide if Goddard school is worth it for your child, you’ll really need to visit your local school to get a quote that you can compare to the prices of other nurseries and preschools in your town. 

The Goddard School is likely to be one of the most expensive options.

So, if you want the best of the best for your child, you’ll need to weigh up how much you can afford to pay each month before you commit to signing up to the waitlist.

Before you go, see more daycare and preschool reviews like:

Hope this helps!

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