When parents review options for childcare, they often see the terms preschool and daycare used to describe similar types of programs. However, each option is different in terms of age group, education and childcare services. If you’re uncertain how to tell preschool and daycare apart, read on to learn what each has to offer.
Preschool Age vs. Daycare Age
One of the biggest differences between preschool and daycare is the age group for which each service is intended.
Daycare is meant for babies and toddlers and will generally accept children between 18 months and three years old. However, preschool-age children tend to be between two and five years old.
Preschool Schedule vs. Daycare Schedule
Another contrast between preschool and daycare is how each program is scheduled. Daycare is offered year-round and operates on a Monday to Friday schedule to accommodate working parents. Usually, daycare services will end in the early evening, depending on the needs of individual parents.
However, because preschool operates within an elementary school setting, it is only available during the school year and closes during the summer. Furthermore, many preschools are offered for only half of a school day (between 8 am and 12 pm, for example) though some preschools remain open during regular school hours.
Childcare vs. School Setting
The environments offered by preschools and daycares also differ considerably. While daycare focuses primarily on providing childcare services for working parents, preschool is intended to get young children used to a traditional school setting.
Daycare workers are sometimes trained to provide early education; however, teaching is not the main point of daycare. Instead, daycare is where children are looked after while participating in a typical daily schedule for their age group, such as playing with toys and games, watching children’s programming and taking naps.
Preschool has a stronger focus on early childhood education such as basic math, art, social skills and reading.
Do You Know the Difference?
One of the many reasons preschool and daycare are often confused is that preschool is not required for children to begin elementary school. Therefore, many view preschool as simply a childcare service rather than an educational environment.
It is essential to be aware of the differences between preschool and daycare so that you can choose the best option for your child’s age and development, as well as your own personal and work schedule.
If your child is not quite old enough for a preschool setting, you may want to consider a daycare service. However, if your child has reached the right age to thrive in a school setting, preschool is an excellent choice to boost their learning skills.
Choose Rothwood Academy for Your Children
At Rothwood Academy, we offer both daycare and preschool options, and we will gladly help you choose which option is best for your child. Our school provides individualized and personalized learning for every child, ensuring they feel safe and comfortable while getting the most out of their time with us.