Difference between Daycare and Preschool

Difference between Daycare and Preschool

This article is focused towards deciding the best childcare option for your child. We will discuss what Daycare and Preschool are and how they differ from each other.

Daycare is simply a homely environment for a child who has working parents. The primary goal of daycare is to keep the child happy and healthy by regular food intake, nap times and toilet training for child on time. At a Daycare, the child enjoys story time, plays with toys, listens and sings nursery rhymes and is taught self-feeding. However, in a Daycare, there is no major vocabulary learning, general knowledge or sensory motor development.

Preschool or Playgroup focuses on a child’s education and starts building a child’s general knowledge and language skills. All 5 days in the week are divided to educate the child on different aspects of life. A child’s sensory and cognitive development is the focus of different activities based on five senses (see, touch, taste, feel and smell). The child is taught to learn different types of fruits, vegetables, leaves, trees, animals and birds. There is a thematic play center where the child learns about post office, ironing, gym, table manners, outdoor play and sports. The child is encouraged to play with sand, sponge, play dough, scissors (under supervision of course) and light to learn the art of cutting, pasting, sticking, threading, folding, coloring and shadows. Personalized attention is given to each student and flash cards are also used to make the child learn quickly and effortlessly. Since it’s a Preschool, no actual writing and reading is involved, however children are familiarized with the art of writing by activities such as coloring and chalk writing.

Main differences between Preschool and Daycare
The purpose of this article is to raise awareness on how a preschool and daycare differ. There are many mothers who send their babies to Daycare and even after they have reached the age of Preschool, do not bother to transfer them to Playgroup. This way, the children miss out on all the skills they could have learned in Preschool. Following are main differences between the two while choosing your child care option:
1.     The Hours:
A Preschool has shorter number of hours as compared to Daycare which accommodates work schedules. Daycare will have fewer vacations and days off. Its schedule is similar to that of offices to cater to working parents’ schedules.
2.     Philosophy:
Most Daycares don’t have a specific education philosophy whereas Preschools do. Preschools have a goal in mind for a child’s early development and learning. The main goal of a Daycare on the other hand is to only cater to a child’s wellbeing in terms of food, sleep and play times. A Daycare only wants the child to stay happy and healthy in a homely environment.
3.     Ages:
The age bracket of students in a Preschool and Daycare differ. Each institution has its own set pattern. At Sarah’s Playgroup and Daycare, the Preschool age bracket is between 2.2 – 6 years whereas in its Daycare, 1.2 months to 6 years is the age group. Daycare mostly has a wider age range of students and may start admitting very young children too. Preschool in most institutions is between 2-6.
4.     Parental Involvement:
A Daycare is designed so that parents have minimum interference by the management. So that the parents can rely on the Daycare completely to take care of the child while they go off to work. At Daycare, unless there is a serious issue, the child’s parents won’t be called or notified about the child. In Preschool, a child’s progress is communicated to his parents periodically. There are parent-teacher meetings set up where there is interaction between the two.
5.     Fees:
Preschool fees is slightly more than that of Daycare because of the fact that it focuses on educating children and offers various activities to promote their motor sensory and cognitive skills.


In light of the above, it is advisable for parents to make the decision of childcare option wisely to know which option is best suited for their child.
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