The little one has been showing progress and growing rapidly and now one faces the dilemma of whether to get them into a daycare or a preschool. While traditional views might suggest a preschool for the best educational opportunities, a daycare can do the same thing now and much more.
But this is when the Preschool vs Daycare problems come into play. Both have their own pros and cons, but how to decide which one would be the best for one’s family?
Preschool vs. daycare
Preschool, like normal school, would end earlier than a daycare and one will have to either pick up their child from there or someone will have to stay at home to receive them. If both the parents are working this can become a problem.
In preschool, one will have to choose between full-day or half-day programs and they also require effort to be put in by the parents. They are often the place to start prepping for kindergarten and help the child to get used to the regimented structure. Since the preschool focuses more on academic content, most preschoolers have an advantage as their pre-reading skills and math skills are being developed beforehand.
Daycares are much more flexible when it comes to timings and they start early and close late. This is a boon for families with both working parents as they can drop their kids early and pick them up when their shift ends.
The timings are a lot more flexible and the staff is much more understanding of this. Also, daycares are open all year round and some of them even allow one to personalize the kid’s schedule so that they can have a balanced week.
In the “Preschool vs Daycare” debate, kids from infancy to an older age can be found at the daycare. This means that the toddler can start the education journey much earlier as compared to a preschool. Also, the different age groups help in peer learning and maximize their social interaction too.
As far as preschool is concerned, they accept admission from the age of 3 to 5 and are separated mostly on the basis of their age. For example, the programs for 3-year-olds will be different from the 4 years old ones. All of them might just play on the playground together sometimes, but that is all the socializing that the kid will do.
Another thing to notice is that most preschools only accept toilet trained kids, while daycares will accept kids in diapers too. This is an important qualifying criterion that one should consider before deciding on which place to send their kids.
Teachers vs Caregivers
In the “Preschool vs Daycare” debate, one will need to pay attention to whether the teachers at both places are qualified. Preschools, more often than not, have minimum qualification criteria and are much more rigorous with their curriculum.
While this might not be the case for daycare, it is quickly changing too. In many cases, the state agencies that govern both the preschools and daycares are the same. The qualifications also overlap and one can find daycare with well-qualified teachers too. They are formally trained on how to deal with children their age and licensed by the same agencies.
Many daycares have started offering prep programs for kindergarten so their curriculum will be as good as that of a preschool, but with the added benefits of daycare.
Each family has a different dynamic and conditions, and one will need to think of these too before deciding on the “Preschool vs Daycare” argument. For example, if both the parents are working, then either one will have to pick the kids up from the preschool mid-work. Also, they will have to figure out where the child stays when the preschool ends as they will have to get back to work.
With a daycare, not only do they open early, but the child can stay there till later hours too. Mostly daycare works for working parents or single parents as they can pick up their children right after work.
There is no one size fits all approach for all the children and one should figure out what would work best for their children. As the 5 years of the child’s life will be formative, in their later years, one should pay special attention to their inquisitiveness and how they interact with the world around them.
Are they interchangeable?
Most parents use the terms preschool and daycare interchangeably, but this is not the case. They might be the place where the children go to learn and prep for kindergarten, but their methods are different.
As mentioned earlier, in many states, the daycare programs have become much more inclusive of education and are no longer places where they just take care of children. They are much more robust when it comes to the socialization aspect, and with top educators joining them, the children can get a head start from an early age.
Preschool introduces the children to the schedule and regimen that they will have to follow in kindergarten from a very early age.
So, the answer to the “Preschool vs Daycare” dilemma lies with the individual and what works best with their children.