As a parent to a young child, you want to make sure you make the right educational and childcare choices. One of the choices you may need to make is whether to enroll them in a daycare or a preschool. If you aren't sure which is the right choice for your family, the following guide can help.
What is your overall philosophy on early child care?
Being clear in your own expectations can help guide you to the right choice. If you see early childhood as a chance to get a jumpstart on reading, early mathematical skills, or classroom behavior patterns, then preschool may be the correct choice. On the other hand, if you see the younger years as a time to focus on play and socialization without any classroom learning, then daycare is likely the better option. There are also many variations between these extremes, including play schools and forest schools, as well as educational philosophies to explore like Waldorf or Montessori.
What is your schedule?
Your personal schedule must also play a major role in your decision. Many preschools, for example, are for set hours each day. This can be a problem for some working parents if their child starts school after the work day begins on is out of preschool before the parent is done with work. In this case, you will need to opt for a daycare, make arrangements for your child to be taken to a second caregiver after school, or you will need to find a preschool that offers after-hours daycare services for working parents.
Are you able to participate?
Preschool typically requires more parental involvement compared to a daycare. For example, while both often have field trips, daycare field trips are completely managed by the staff while a preschool trip may put out a request for volunteer parent chaperones. There will also be after school family activities to attend, as well as classroom presentations that request parent involvement. A preschool, since it is first and foremost a learning environment, is also likely to have stricter illness and behavior rules, which means you may sometimes need to pick your child up earlier.
Is transition a concern?
For some parents, the ability to keep the child in the same care environment for all of the early childhood years, from infant to late preschool age, is important. In this case, a traditional preschool, which generally begins at age three or four, may not be the best choice. Instead, either go with a dedicated daycare or choose a care center that offers both daycare for younger kids and early education services for older children.
For more help, talk to a preschool or daycare in your area, such as Kid's Country Learning Center.
When I wanted to work from home, the very first thing I could think to do was start a home-based child care. I had no idea how much paperwork would be involved. From safety inspections to licensing, there was a lot to do. I spent a lot of time researching and working with the licensing professionals locally to be sure that everything was in order. That's when I knew this site had to happen. I created it in the hopes of making the process easier for others who decide they want to pursue the same thing. The pages of this site are full of information from my experience as well as other child care topics that may be beneficial.