Is Kiddie Academy Worth It? (Review)

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Choosing the right preschool or daycare for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in their early years.

You’re essentially trusting a group of strangers with the safety, wellbeing, education, and happiness of your child. Eek!

Many parents wonder whether childcare chains like Kiddie Academy are worth it or not.

Sure, they have their own curriculums that are developed by expert educators. But is the standard of care actually better than your local independent nursery or church-run daycare?

Let’s take a look at a full Kiddie Academy review.

Parents give Kiddie Academy high marks for its curriculum, included meals, and strong communication with parents. However, like many national daycare chains (including Primrose, Goddard, and more), Kiddie Academy can be quite pricey and seems to raise tuition fees regularly.

If you’re on a tighter budget, you might want to look into local or church-run daycares in your area. But if you can afford Kiddie Academy, your child will likely love it!

Let’s take a closer look at the tuition, procedures, curriculum, and more at Kiddie Academy.


What is Kiddie Academy?

Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care is a franchise of over 250 childcare centers that are located across 31 states of the USA.

With headquarters in Abingdon, Maryland, the first Kiddie Academy was founded by Pauline Miller in 1981, and the company began expanding as a franchise in 1992. 

Kiddie Academy offers daycare for children from six weeks to six years of age on a full-time or part-time basis.

For school-age children between five and twelve, there’s the choice of a full-day program, or before- and after-school care.

There’s also a fun summer camp for your summer childcare needs. 

Kiddie Academy encourages each independently-owned franchise location to secure accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as well as any state-level accreditation programs. 


Kiddie Academy Teaching Philosophy Explained

Kiddie Academy has its own teaching philosophy called ‘Life Essentials’. This is made up of four pillars:

  1. Developmentally appropriate curriculum – Activities are specially designed to meet the needs of every child and their stage of development
  2. Technology education – Using the latest technology to make learning engaging and fun
  3. Health and fitness – Teaching children to make healthy food, fitness, and hygiene choices
  4. Character essentials – Teaching character-building traits such as respectfulness, sharing, manners, compassion, and friendship

At Kiddie Academy schools, children are grouped into the following age-specific programs:

  • Infants – 6 weeks to 12 months
  • Toddlers – 13 to 24 months
  • Early Preschool – 2-year-olds
  • Preschool – 3-year-olds
  • Pre-Kindergarten – 4-year-olds
  • Kindergarten – 5-year-olds
  • School Age – 5- to 12-year-olds
  • Summer Camp – 5- to 12-year-olds

Activities are tailored to the developmental stage of each child.

For example, the focus for babies will be on cognitive development, language, motor skills, and social growth.

At the preschool level, literacy, math, and science are added to the mix.

For school-age children, the focus is on character education, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and health and fitness.

Children spend time outdoors every day that the weather permits.

Occasionally, children aged four and over are taken on field trips. There may be an extra fee for these.

(Not sure if you need preschool? Read what experts say about whether it’s OK to skip preschool.)


Kiddie Academy Day To Day Procedures/Typical Day

As each Kiddie Academy is an individually-owned franchise, there are some differences between each center in terms of opening hours, policies, and facilities.

Many Kiddie Academy schools have classroom cameras that parents can see at any time via a mobile app, but not all have this.

For infants, parents are usually asked to provide:

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • formula or breast milk
  • and bottles.

Meals and snacks, however, are provided each day.

As Kiddie Academy doesn’t publish much information about each school online, the best way to get a feel for your local school and to find answers to your questions is to book a tour.

Before your visit, you should prepare yourself with a list of questions to ask, such as how many children and teachers are in each classroom, and what the policy is regarding vacations.


Kiddie Academy Tuition Examples

Kiddie Academy doesn’t publish any fees online because, as they say, there are many factors that may affect the rates.

These may include the location, the hours of attendance, and the age of the child.

For an accurate quote, you’re encouraged to contact your local center.

According to this enrollment form, there’s a non-refundable registration fee of $150, plus a yearly re-registration fee of $75.

This form is from 2016, so it’s likely that these fees will have increased since then.

Some Kiddie Academy schools also charge a fee of $10 per week for access to the live streaming camera feed.

We’ve searched through forums and review sites to try to find out how much parents are currently paying for their children to attend Kiddie Academy.

While this question most often went unanswered, this review reported that the fees for all children as of September 2020 were $475 per week plus a $125 annual fee.

However, the business owner added a comment to say that those fees were incorrect.

This important question was answered for another Kiddie Academy on Yelp.

The business owner replied that “Our Infant program is only $300 weekly”. Generally, the fees reduce as a child gets older because the staff-to-child ratios can be higher.

One parent commented, “It cost a lot to send our kids here (and that was with a military discount)”.

Again, for the most accurate quote, visit or contact your local Kiddie Academy.


What Real Parents Are Saying About Kiddie Academy Schools

We’ve sifted through hundreds of reviews of different Kiddie Academy locations to pick out common themes in the feedback from parents.

Remember, that as each school is an individually owned and operated franchise, any issues that are present at one school may not be found the next.

When reading reviews online, it’s also important to consider that childcare franchises can change owners over time.

You’ll therefore want to be mindful of this as any older reviews may not be as relevant.

Pros

Here are some of the things that parents regularly praised their local Kiddie Academy for…

The communication

Parents regularly commented that they were pleased with the level of feedback about their child’s day.

The ability to watch the cameras throughout the day is also a big hit with moms, dads, and grandparents alike.

“I love that they are always communicating to the parents.

“We get several updates throughout the day through pictures and the daily reports to let you know how their day went.

“Calls from Ms. Rosemary on any incident, even if it’s something so small you wonder if it was even worth the call (this is a good thing). I also secretly stalk my children on the cameras – another great feature for parents.”

Jimin O

The opening hours

The opening hours vary for each academy but they’re generally around 12 hours per day, which is great for parents who have long working hours or a long commute.

“The hours are great(7 AM-6:30 PM); they have fewer holidays compared to the other daycares in the area. This is great if you’re a working parent!”

Sheba K

The inclusions

Parents are pleased that they don’t have to pay any extra for meals or snacks at Kiddie Academy.

“Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are included in the price and 2 year olds are not charged extra for not being potty trained.”

Linny H

Cons

While the reviews of Kiddie Academy schools are generally good, there are a few issues that have been raised.

The tuition fees

Several parents commented how Kiddie Academy was more expensive than other schools.

Although some believed that the fees were worth it, not all agree.

“They are money hungry. It’s ridiculous how they hound you for money each week.

“In addition, they just now raised tuition for all children to $475 weekly with $125 annual fees for all children no matter the ages.

“They sent the notice on August 1 with it being effective beginning September 1. A month’s notice.  Are you kidding me?! You can’t run a business like that.

“It’s a pandemic and they want to raise the prices and use it as leverage to make more money.  No way this center is worth $475 weekly.”

Pretty C

The contract

One parent was unhappy reading the small print in the enrollment contract.

This is something that you should certainly take the time to do too, and query anything that you’re unsure of with the school.

“Be sure to read the terms and conditions of their enrollment agreement carefully and do not enroll your child here unless you understand what they are asking you to agree to.

“We did not enroll our child as Kiddie Academy tried to get us to sign an outrageous contract, then refused to negotiate when we pointed out that their agreement would require us to defend their franchise against any lawsuit with our own money – regardless of whether we caused the lawsuit.

“If you do not have access to a lawyer, I suggest you read the contract carefully and make sure you understand what you are agreeing to before enrolling your child here.”

Adam R

The staff turnover

It’s worth asking your local school about the staff turnover.

If the same teachers have worked there for years, this is usually a very good sign. However, if most of the teachers are new, young, and inexperienced, this could be a red flag that’s indicative of deeper issues.

“The staff seem to do their best, but the turn over of all staff (teachers, kitchen, deputy-directors), particularly of anyone remotely qualified, has been excessive, which we believe is a strong indication that something is not quite right with the way things are run at the school and most importantly for us, it’s a lot of change constantly for the kids.”

Kate L


Wrapping Up

Kiddie Academy schools offer a structured learning approach that exceeds state standards.

While the cheapest daycares offer a service that’s similar to babysitting (i.e. passively watching kids play), Kiddie Academy goes above and beyond to deliver a well-rounded curriculum.

If you’re trying to decide whether Kiddie Academy is worth it, your first step would be to book a tour of your local Kiddie Academy as well as any other childcare options in your area.

This is the only way to get accurate and up-to-date info regarding tuition fees, as well as getting a feel for the facility.

Whether you’re currently pregnant, are looking for a preschool or Kindergarten place, or want to explore opportunities for your school-age child, your local Kiddie Academy should certainly be on your list of options to explore.

For more daycare and preschool reviews, check out:

Hope this helps!

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