When trying to decide between daycare vs. preschool for your child, only the best will do. The selection process can seem intimidating, but rest assured, it doesn’t have to be. How can you know what environment is ideal for your unique little one? If you’re debating between daycare and preschool, ask yourself a few simple questions that can help you make a choice that both you and your child can feel great about.
Daycare vs. Preschool
When considering daycare vs. preschool, do I believe that one option is inherently “better” than the other?
People tend to use the word ‘daycare’ in a derogatory way, but that’s a misconception in popular culture. If the facility is well run, has a great staff, and meets your family’s needs, then it may be a good fit. Young children learn most effectively through play and social interaction, and both daycare centers and preschools will stimulate your child’s development in a creative and positive way. However, the use of curriculum and the presence of more highly qualified teachers in a preschool can make a big difference in the impact on your child. Ask about these things when you are talking with preschools and daycares.
What does my family’s schedule look like?
Are you a working parent who needs child care year-round? Or would a program that only meets two or three days a week be a better fit? Preschools usually follow a more traditional school schedule, taking summer and holiday breaks. Daycares are available year-round, and some offer extended hours. Finding a schedule that meets your family’s needs will go a long way toward choosing the right facility for you.
What kind of values do I want to be communicated to my child?
If your religious beliefs are core to your family life, a faith-based facility could be the perfect fit. There is a lot of comfort in knowing that the core principles taught at home are being reinforced by a caring, trustworthy support system during the day.
If you can answer these three questions, you will be well on your way to choosing the right option for your child. And more than anything else, trust your instincts. If you feel even a little bit uneasy about a facility, walk away. The right place will fit like a glove, and you and your child will both feel comfortable, safe, and encouraged.