For Parents

The Difference between Daycare and Preschool

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Life has become complicated, and parents are busy with their jobs more than ever. Due to the busy schedule, parents have to find ways to take care of their little kids while working.

Daycare and preschool are highly famous among parents as the best childcare options. But many parents are more often confused and have less knowledge about the difference between daycare and preschool. 

Daycare and preschools do not work in the same way, and they do have different missions and goals. While preschools are education-oriented, daycare centers are focused on child safety. Working hours, daily schedules, outcomes, fees, and service-providing experts are different from one to one. Although they work in two different ways, both can assist you in the early childhood development of your child.

It is essential for parents to know more about the difference between daycare and preschool as it is one of the main concepts in early childhood development.

Therefore, I decided to start my blog with this important topic. Keep reading for more information.

Are daycare and preschool the same thing?

Today morning I got a call from a friend of one of my close relatives asking more about daycare and preschool. She was thinking that daycare and preschool are working in the same way.

If someone asks if daycare and preschool are the same things, the answer is no; they are not the same. 

There are so many differences between daycare and preschool. Namely, the age limit of the children, working hours, daily schedule, teachers’ qualifications, and fees. You will get to know more about these differences by scrolling down.

Basic differences between daycare and preschool

As I mentioned in the previous chapter, there are identical and basic differences between daycare and preschool. Below I have listed them with a short explanation. 

Daycare Vs. Preschool age requirements

 The minimum and maximum age limit of the kids is one of the main differences.  Daycare centers accept children from 6 months to grade school children.

Since this allows children to socialize with children from different age groups, this can be identified as one of the plus points for daycares. Further, this can help your kid to have a better relationship with his or her siblings. 

Preschools accept children from 3-5 years old, and in other words, these kids are a couple of years behind to start primary schooling. Since preschool has a specific and education-oriented goal, the age range is limited and comparatively narrow. 

Day care Vs. Pre School hours

The second main difference between day care and pre school is the duration of the program. Generally, both day care and pre school are open every weekday, while some daycare centers provide additional services on weekends. 

In many countries, day care centers open and accept kids from 7 or 7.30 in the morning, and children can stay until 6 or 7 at night. Day care has quite long working hours, and one of the main targets is covering parents’ work hours. 

School day of pre schools starts at 8.30 or 9 and ends at 3 or 3.30 in the evening. But some pre schools additionally provide pre care and aftercare for an extra one for the convenience of the parents.  

While day care centers are open the whole year long, pre schools’ school year starts in September and ends in May or June. 

Daycare caregivers Vs. Preschool teachers

Another main difference between daycare and preschool is the difference between the facilitators or the service provider. Caregivers or the first-aid and hygiene-trained adults who are interested and trained to take care of kids are working at daycare centers. 

Since the preschools are learning activities oriented, teachers who have completed higher education in teaching are working at preschools.  

Daycare routine Vs. Pre School timetable 

Since making sure the safety of the children is the primary goal of the daycare centers, they just have a daily routine that encourages kids to spend their day happily in a safe environment.

But pre-schools have a daily schedule or daily timetable that includes many activities to develop children’s skills and knowledge. Further, these activities get the kids ready for primary school. 

As a matter of fact, I do not believe in executing a tight schedule for kids. Kids must learn while playing or through educational games. There should be enough free time for them to think and be creative.

You will get to know more about the best educational activities for nursery-age kids by staying tuned with me. 

Daycare Vs Preschool Learning Outcomes 

Another difference between daycare and preschool is the learning outcomes. Since daycare and preschools have different objectives and goals, their learning outcomes are different. While daycare centers focus on “child care”, preschools are focused on “early education”. 

Daycare teaches and trains your kid to be independent and socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten or preschool. The preschool syllabus is created to make kids ready for primary school.

It teaches them how to make decisions, be creative and become self-confident. This makes their transition from early education to primary education easy and smooth.

Is preschool better than long day care?

Is preschool better than long day care?

If you ask me if preschool is better than long day care, I won’t be able to give you a yes or no answer. One parent may think that keeping the kid home with them is better than keeping him with caregivers or teachers.

On the other hand, another parent might think that it is good to teach the kid to be independent by keeping the kid in a day care center and letting the kid have a long day outside of the house. 

Due to the busy work life of parents, both day care and preschools provide their services for more or 8 working hours. In other words, no matter you decide to send your kid to any of these options, your kid can spend a long day in both places.

The hours your kids stay will depend on your schedule, and you can decide it based on your requirement. 

As someone who has mastered kids’ minds as a mom and a teacher, I always believe that kids love to be around their parents. Since adults’ lives are getting more complicated economically and socially, parents have to depend on long day care or per school to make sure their kids’ safety and wellbeing. 

Since both preschool and day care provides professional services to make sure your kids’ safety and development, both options are excellent and appreciable.

As a teacher, child caregiver, and mom, I do not have the heart to criticize any of them. I highly believe that both these places can add value to your kids’ lives. 

Is daycare cheaper than preschool?

As all of us already know, childcare options are relatively expensive. Since every kid’s life is precious and highly valuable, each child care service provider tries to give the best service by hiring highly experienced and qualified staff and providing the best infrastructure. 

We won’t be able to come to a conclusion by comparing the fees of daycare and preschool. Fees always depend on the services they provide, and since some daycare centers follow curriculums, they also charge relatively high fees.

On the other hand, if you go to a preschool that offers service only for 6 or 5 hours, it might be cheaper. 

Although all of my readers are aware, I would like to remind you about the government’s supports for parents. Many governments financially support parents regarding their children’s education, and also, you would find low-cost or free-of-charge government daycare or preschool options.

Therefore, I highly recommend you to do your research regarding these supports. 

Ultimately, I would advise you to visit or contact your local area daycare center or preschool and ask about their charges before you make your decision. Also, do not forget to take into account their services before you compare the charges.

How to decide between daycare and preschool?

After reading the article, now you may feel a little relieved, and you might be ready to take your decision regarding sending your kids to either daycare or preschool. But if you are still stuck, this section will help you to make your decision. 

Since we have discussed the difference between daycare and preschool, you have enough knowledge about both concepts.

In order to make your decision and decide between daycare and preschool, you must compare the characteristics of daycare and preschool with your requirements. 

If you have long workdays and are not financially ready to hire a nanny, daycare fits your needs. But do not forget that preschools also provide pre-care and aftercare to cover parents’ working hours, and in that case, a preschool is also a good option for you. 

If your kid is a few years behind going to primary school, you can definitely think about sending him or her to a preschool. Also, if you feel that your kid must develop his or her social skills, daycare is good. 

You might want to ensure your kid has a smooth transition from early education to primary education. If so, preschool must be your call.

Also, I would like to draw your attention that some daycare centers follow a curriculum and make the kids’ days filled with different learning activities. 

Now you can compare your requirement with services that are provided by daycare and preschool, as I explain above. Hopefully, this will guide you to make your decision. 

FAQ – What is the difference between a creche and preschool?

Now you might be wondering about the difference between a creche and preschool. If you are thinking of sending your kids to a creche, it is important to know about this. 

Creche is a facility given by organizations or employers to their employees or to particular communities to keep their kids safe while they are at work. 

Sometimes creche might charge a fee for kids food and other basic need. But relatively, this is a low-cost or totally free facility that allows parents to ensure kids’ wellbeing. 

The main difference between a creche and preschool is; while preschool follows a curriculum, creche lets kids have free play times all day alone. Creche is not responsible for kids’ early education or social and emotional development. 

Since this is a free or a low-cost option, some parents might find this helpful. Suppose you believe that your kid is brave enough to have a smooth transition from early education to primary education without going to a preschool.

In that case, you can definitely go to this option. Also, if your kid has time to start early education, this would be a reasonable option. 

Conclusion – The difference between daycare and preschool

As I discussed throughout the article, daycare and preschool are 2 different concepts and have 2 various missions. Both entities are responsible for kids’ safety and wellbeing. Necessarily, preschools are learn-oriented and get the kids ready for primary school.

Daycare centers are open and facilitate until parents come back from work. It ensures kids’ safety and helps them to develop their social skills. Both daycare and preschool teach kids to independent. 

Parents can decide where they will send their kids after considering and comparing the services they provide with the parent’s needs. Although daycare and preschool facilitate differently, both of them make a significant impact on kids’ lives.

 If you find this article useful, stay tuned with Edu Nursery for more valuable content. 

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