Choosing the best daycare or preschool for your child is one of the most important decisions that you can make in your child’s early years.
After all, it could be the place where they spend the majority of their waking hours!
As most of us don’t have an unlimited budget when it comes to childcare, you’ll also want to consider the fees for the various childcare centers in your area.
With the average cost of childcare in the US coming in at $8,355 per child, you’ll want to make sure that your hard-earned money is well spent.
In your search for the perfect childcare facility, you’ll probably have come across The Learning Experience.
These centers have great reviews, but is The Learning Experience worth it? Here’s a full review.
Overall, parents love the curriculum at The Learning Experience and generally offer high praise for the staff. Plus, they enjoy direct communication through the Show ‘N Tell app.
Some parents have complained about high turnover at some TLE schools, or found that their kids were shuffled from room to room without an organized plan for moving them up intentionally.
In this guide, we look closely at what the Learning Experience has to offer for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
We’ll also consider how much a place at The Learning Experience costs, to help you to decide whether it’s worth it for your family.
What is The Learning Experience?
The Learning Experience is a childcare franchise offering early education for children.
It caters to babies as young as six weeks through kindergarten.
The Learning Experience has over 300 purpose-built centers that are located right across the United States, with 75 to 100 more set to open each year.
Also known as TLE for short, The Learning Experience was founded by the Weissman family in 1980 when Michael Weissman opened his first childcare center.
Today, his son Richard is the CEO and chairman of the company which has its headquarters in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
The Learning Experience Teaching Philosophy Explained
So what and how do they teach at The Learning Experience shools?
The Learning Experience offers its own unique curriculum by the name of L.E.A.P.
This stands from Learning Experience Academic Program. The curriculum is designed to encourage children to learn by exploring and doing.
Each Learning Experience center has a cast of characters that are to become your child’s educators and friends each day.
There are over 90 characters in total, including Bubbles the elephant, doggy duo Grace & Charity, Flex the fitness-loving flamingo, and a green llama by the name of Phoebe.
There are six curriculum programs that are tailored to the ages and stages of early childhood development. Here’s what you can expect from each…
Infants (6 weeks to 1 year)
- Talent Sprouts – Learning their own names and getting acquainted with the characters
- Dancing Feet, Music 4 Me, and Yippee 4 Yoga – Encouraging babies to move their bodies
- American Sign Language – Communicating before they learn words
Toddlers (1 to 2 years)
Same as for infants, plus:
- Manners and etiquette – Sharing, taking turns, and being kind
- Physical fitness – Starting to identify healthy choices
Twaddlers (2 to 2 and a half years)
Same as for toddlers, plus:
- Group circle time – Encouraging social participation
- Potty training – Guiding them through the toileting process
Preppers (2 and a half to 3 years)
Same as for twaddlers, plus:
- My Little L.E.A.P. Books – Learning letters, shapes, colors, and numbers
- Computers and technology – A very basic introduction to tech
- Suddenly Science and Marvelous Math – Presenting STEM concepts in a fun way
- Movin’ N Groovin and Super Soccer – Understanding healthy habits and team-building skills
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years)
Same as for preppers, plus:
- L.E.A.P. Books: Preschool 1, 2, and 3 – Using workbooks to connect kids to curriculum themes
- Journal Writing – Learning the basics of writing
- Fun With Phonics – Connecting letters and sounds through poems and songs
- Technology and L.E.A.P. Interactive – Using interactive smart boards and workbooks
- Manners and philanthropy – Learning the importance of charity work
- Foreign Languages – Beginning Spanish or Mandarin lessons
Kindergarteners (5 years)
Kindergarten students learn from state-certified teachers and are prepared for the jump to first grade.
This program focuses on the core subjects of:
- Social Studies
- Journal Writing
The Learning Experience Day To Day Procedures/Typical Day
A typical day at TLE is different for each age group.
You can see a full daily schedule for each class on the Learning Experience website. There are set times assigned to work on different skills throughout the day.
Children can arrive at any time between 6:30 am and 8 am and can be collected between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm.
Communication with parents is enhanced with an app called the Show N Tell app.
Parents can receive updates and photos throughout the day as well as staying organized by being notified of events or closures.
Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are all provided.
What else is provided (e.g. formula milk, diapers, bedding) may vary depending on the individual center.
As each TLE center is an individually owned and operated franchise, there may also be some differences in how things are run across the different locations.
Therefore, if you have any questions, you should get in touch with your local center to ask.
Bring along this extremely helpful list of questions to ask during your daycare tour to be sure you don’t forget anything important!
The Learning Experience Tuition Examples
Like most childcare franchises, The Learning Experience doesn’t publish its fees online.
Instead, prospective parents are invited to take a tour of their local center and get the fees for their child in person.
We did a bit of digging online to see if we could find out roughly how much a place at The Learning Experience costs.
This Forbes article says that the average tuition at The Learning Experience is $860 per month.
However, this article is from 2015, so you can expect that prices have raised a little since then.
We also found that tuition at one particular branch of The Learning Experience was available to buy on Groupon!
The price for one month of tuition plus the registration fee was listed as having a value of $1,125. Although you could get it with the Groupon deal for $449.
Childcare costs vary a lot by state, with parents in Washington, D.C. spending over four times what parents in Mississippi spend, according to CNCB.
Therefore, looking at averages and estimates probably isn’t that useful for you to plan a budget.
To get an accurate quote for how much it costs for your child to attend The Learning Experience, you really need to take a tour and ask the question.
The answer will likely depend not only on the location, but also the age of your child and how many days they will attend.
What Real Parents Are Saying About The Learning Experience Schools
On the whole, The Learning Experience has excellent reviews online from thousands of happy parents who recommend the school.
To get an understanding of what real parents love (and don’t love!) about The Learning Experience, we read through hundreds of online reviews to pull together the common themes.
Remember, as TLE is a franchise, experiences can vary across the different centers.
So, you should be sure to check out the reviews of The Learning Experience school in your area.
Also, owners and managers can change over time, so be sure to pay attention to the dates of any online reviews that you read.
These are the things that many parents mention that they like about The Leaning experience:
“I really like that part of their curriculum includes sign language, English, Spanish, Chinese, and philanthropy.”
Every TLE center teaches sign language from babies and as kids get older either Spanish or Mandarin, although many centers offer both.
Communication with parents
“There’s also an app where we receive updates (e.g. diaper changes, meals) and also receive photos. It is wonderful being able to get snapshots of her day digitally.”
Parents love to see photos of their kids throught the day and to know exactly what they’ve eaten and how long they’ve napped for.
“We absolutely love the staff at TLE – my wife and I feel very assured that our son is getting the best of care and they are genuinely concerned for his well being.”
Reviews of The Learning Experience are full of praise for individual staff members and how sincerely they care for the children.
Here are a couple of areas where parents think that their local TLE could improve…
“The regional manager Chris M comes across as a terrible and uncaring person. He probably shouldn’t be in the Child Care business.”
Although the caregivers are often praised, the same can’t always be said for managers higher up the business at every location.
Just remember that the individual managers and staff are different at every single location. Yours might be great! Just make sure you meet them first.
The consistency of teachers and rooms
“The main problem we had was the CONSTANT new faces that were in and out of the infant room. There was absolutely NO consistency with trying to keep the people consistent.
“Yes, they had two main teachers but when they went on break or left for the day there was no dedicated person that would cover them”
A couple of parents had issues with teachers working across different rooms, rather than children being cared for by the same people each day.
A similar issue is caused by moving children to different rooms…
“Most other daycares move kids up to the next class with their entire class and their friends-TLE would moves kids willy nilly most of the time with not a lot of notice to the parents.
“They constantly shuffle kids around from room to room and there is absolutely no consistency with teachers or classes.”
The Learning Experience is a rapidly expanding franchise of childcare centers, with new locations opening almost weekly.
Parents who send their kids to TLE are generally very happy with the experience.
Kids seem to love the structured curriculum and the use of fun and engaging characters throughout their day.
TLE is more than a daycare, it’s a place where your child can be educated in languages, enjoy yoga, and get a head start in preparing for elementary school.
But is The Learning Experience worth it for your family?
The only way to know for sure is to take a tour along with visiting several other facilities in your town or city to compare the prices and what you get for your money.
For some The Learning Experience alternatives to consider, check out:
- Discovery Point review
- Children’s Lighthouse review
- Kids R Kids review
- Goddard School review
- KidsPark review
- All the best national daycare chains
Hope this helps!