Choosing a kindergarten for Grace ; how hard can it be ?

Careful what you pay for....

Damn hard as it turns out. Cambodia is strictly pay as you go for education and the money starts flowing out the door as soon as your kid turns 3. If you want to send your 3 year old to a mostly white kindergarten where they serve lattes and croissants for little lunch and come and go in UN Landcruisers, it is going to cost you about$500 to walk in the door and then $2500 a year for learning .Plus plus plus for uniforms, snacks and whatever else. I shit you not ! Can some of you in the west tell me if that is OTT ?

We did the rounds of about 6 schools and in the end we procrastinated so much that we actually missed out on morning slots at most, leaving us with only afternoon options which is when Grace usually crashes out. Then we came across Tree and Garden International School which is a new school that has just opened up in quiet, easily accessible street in BKK1. Leakhana and I went and saw them and right now they are waiving most of the entry fees and heavily discounting the tuition fees. It is set in a nice spacious villa and has a pool and large playground and at the moment only has a total of 25 kids – only 8 of which are Grace’s age. Paula and Tra have already been to look at it and will most likely send Vichea there and Ice and William might send Grace’s best buddy Alex there which means Gracie would have a cousin and a pal there straight up. Wednesdays they have an optional Mandarin lesson which is great because it is a language I would love her to learn.

I am no bloody expert but I think a 3-5 year old really just needs to be having fun singing and drawing and playing with other kids whilst also learning their ABC and 123 ( most of which Grace know already ) via fun activities. I might be wrong but can’t we save the serious shit( and some money in the process )  until they are 5 ? I mean…it is Kindergarten for god sake. Anyways…as we only have to stump up a $100 entry fee and then $250 term by term ( 4 x per year ), as I said to Leakhana we can suck it and see and if TGIS doesn’t cut the mustard we can proceed to look elsewhere.

Stay tuned.

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3 Responses to Choosing a kindergarten for Grace ; how hard can it be ?

  1. LaudJohn says:

    Price comparison for you.

    Lissa my 27 month old started child care in Melbourne a few weeks ago. 3 days per week. This place also does kindergarten as wel.

    Cost is $80 per day (in a working class suburb), Govt rebate is $40 plus more based on your income – quite generous income based rebates I may add. It will still cost me $30 per day minimum so that her mother can study.

    Your place at $250 per term is cheap in comparison, especially in relation to income.

    Anyhow thanks for this; it is good info for when (if) we move back to Cambo. I consider what you are paying to be very cheap if it is a half way decent place.

    Wait until she starts school .. $1000pa will seem like nothing!

  2. Alistair Speirs says:

    Thank you – very interesting – we are arriving in October with 2 kids (4 & 2) so this has been helpful – emailing the kindergarten next!

  3. Leah Soldner says:

    I’ve lived in Cambodia for 9++ years and am well aware of the heavy fees and exorbitant prices attached to most kindergartens. For this reason my partner and I have just opened a preschool/kindergarten with the intent to keep the cost affordable and negate the ‘doorway’ fees usually found at schools in PP . We use a specialized digital learning program for teaching reading and mathematics. Find info on fees and curriculum at or on Facebook at

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