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Preschool vs. Daycare: How Are They Different?

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All parents are aware that choices related to early childhood education shouldn’t be made hastily. If your child is getting to the age of starting either daycare or preschool, you may be wondering which one is best for your child. 

The reality is that the needs of every family are different – what worked best for your friend’s child may not work for yours. With that in mind, parents must do their research into each child care option before diving in headfirst. 

Let us guide you through the pros and cons of preschool vs daycare and discuss how they differ so that you can make an informed choice for your family. 

Preschool vs Daycare: What’s the Difference?

While the words preschool and daycare are often used interchangeably by parents, these child care options are not the same. Yes, they may both be licensed and regulated by the same state agencies but that doesn’t mean that they operate similarly. 

Not sure what the differences are? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Below are some of the main considerations to keep in mind when looking at preschool vs daycare. 

What is Preschool?

Preschool is a child care option intended to prepare your child for kindergarten. It’s typically for kids between the ages of three and five. However, some preschools may admit children younger than this. Preschool programs aim to promote your child’s development by offering an early childhood education program that focuses on your child’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. They track developmental milestones as your children learn and grow to ensure they are on track for kindergarten. 

A preschool’s scheduling tends to be similar to that of elementary school, meaning that they close for the summer and on public holidays. Parents have the choice of opting for half-day or full-day attendance for their children. For the most part, preschools are focused on the educational needs of your child rather than providing additional child care services that working parents may need. 

What is Daycare?

A daycare center, on the other hand, accepts kids from as early as six weeks old until they are old enough to attend kindergarten. These child care facilities provide a safe environment for your child to socialize and play with other children of the same age. Unlike preschool, daycare centers typically provide a flexible day schedule that may be more suitable for working parents. 

Some daycare centers focus less on providing early childhood education and more on offering services that address a child’s daily needs such as feeding and napping. These facilities also look to provide more opportunities for your child to partake in free play than preschool would. 

Pros and Cons of Each Child Care Option

It’s normal to have plenty of questions for child care providers that you’d like answered before deciding between preschool and daycare. Our advice is to always arrange a tour of the preschool or daycare you’re considering. Get answers to your questions and see the environment your child might be in with your own eyes. Explore how each option works with children and helps them develop.

If you’re still on the fence once you have all the information in front of you, the next step is to weigh up the pros and cons of each child care option. 

Pros of Preschool
– Offers an early learning program based on various methodologies (e.g. Montessori)
– Opportunities for children to socialize with different age groups
– Structured routine
– Ability to experience stimulating activities
Pros of Daycare
– Dependable care & licensed child care providers
– Longer & more flexible hoursBuilds social & developmental skills
– Costs less
Cons of Preschool
– Less flexible schedule
– Lack of one-on-one-time
– More expensive
– More school closures for holidays etc
Cons of Daycare
– Strict sick policies
– More germs and illness
– Not suitable for every child’s temperament

There is no right or wrong answer when weighing up the choice between preschool vs daycare. In the end, every parent needs to make the right choice for their child. Be honest with yourself about the needs and wants of your family – and remember, you can always change your child care provider at a later date to suit you and your child’s needs. 

Vivvi: Offering You The Best of Both Preschool and Daycare

At Vivvi, we offer the best of both preschool and daycare. Our early learning center makes exceptional full-time and backup child care more accessible and affordable. We meet families where they are by offering a range of child care services across the country including in-home, on-campus, and virtual tutoring. 

Vivvi’s Learning Model is based on the findings of renowned educational influences and recognizes the curiosity and potential of all young children. All of our early childhood educators are vetted by us and have exceptional qualifications in early childhood care. Vivvi is also committed to providing unrivaled flexibility. With no drop-off and pick-up times, our early learning center offers you a schedule that suits your family’s needs best. 

For more information about our early learning center or to schedule a tour of our campuses, get in touch with our team today. 

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