Non-refundable preschool application deposits?
I am looking into preschool for my 3 year old and there’s a Montessori school that I am thinking of applying to. However, there is a $260 non-refundable deposit due with the wait list application. The school doesn’t offer an in-person visit or perform the mandatory interview to assess fit for the Montessori style until after the non-refundable deposit is paid. When I asked if the deposit is refunded if the school doesn’t think Montessori is a good fit for the child, they said no.
My child is currently in a traditional daycare/preschool and I’m not sure if my kid will be a good fit for the Montessori structure. My kid likes doing real life tasks, but also really loves playing with other kids, and isn’t great at playing by themselves (at least at home). The reason we are looking to move schools is because my partner and I worry our child is being bullied by other kids, based on things we’ve been told by our child, things we’ve observed at pick-up time, and some conversations with teachers. We are a queer family and our child is not gender normative.
I’m just wondering if a non-refundable deposit at this stage is normal/standard practice or something we should be concerned about? It feels like a lot of money to pay without knowing whether or not this would be a good move for my kid.
Thanks for any feedback or advice.