In the world of childcare, there are a lot of words thrown around. It can get pretty confusing if you don’t know all the vocabulary associated with this industry. That’s ok though, especially if this is your first time interacting with the childcare industry as a whole. 

When you’re looking for a good childcare program, there’s a good chance that you’ve at least seen the words preschool and daycare, and maybe you didn’t understand what the difference was. If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that that is, in fact, the case. 

Being sure that you know that you’re using the correct words for these sorts of things can help you be more sure that you’re putting your child into the program that you intended to, and not being sure can just make things more confusing than they really need to be.

So, that’s why we’ve written today’s article. We’re going to be covering both of these kinds of childcare and determining whether or not they’re actually the same thing. By the time we’re done here, you’ll have all the tools that you need to make sure that you‘re getting your child to the right place.

Why is Childcare Important?

Before getting into preschools and daycare programs, it’s worth looking over why exactly childcare is important. Of course, we’re going to be referring to good programs that have the child’s needs in mind, rather than just being somewhere you can drop your child off for the day.

As you may have already heard, childcare has all sorts of benefits both to you as a parent and to your child. Many studies have been done on this by child psychologists over the years, so the effects of a good childcare program are confirmed. Here are just a few:

Improve Your Child’s Social Skills From A Young Age.

Social skills are important and you use them every single day. Getting your child into a good childcare program helps them develop these skills with other children at the same age before they have to go to kindergarten.

Increase Your Child’s Performance In School.

Students that were enrolled in a good childcare program that is focused on teaching children outperform students that did not at all levels of school on average.

Get Some Peace Of Mind About Who’s Taking Care Of Your Children. 

Childcare programs are businesses, and as such their employees are vetted before hiring. You can leave your children there and be sure that they’re being watched by people who care about children.

Boost Your Child’s Immune System.

Humans get sick, it’s just a fact of life. There are a lot of reasons why and it’s very complicated biochemistry, but getting your child around other children helps strengthen their immune system later on in life.

Teach Your Child Important Skills.

There are many other important things that children learn in good childcare programs that can help them out later in life. Independence and problem-solving are just two of them, this part really depends on the program though.

These are just some of the most famous benefits of using a good childcare program for your children, and it can make a world of difference in the long run. That’s why the kind of research you’re doing right now by reading this article is important.

No matter the age of your child, knowing the benefits they can get from going into a childcare program can help you make better choices about what you want to enroll your child in before they go off to kindergarten.

What is Daycare?

Looking at what exactly daycare is will help us determine if it’s the same thing as preschool programs. Without first understanding what a daycare is, how could we possibly hope to compare and contrast it to preschools? It would most certainly be difficult, that’s definitely for sure.

A daycare is defined by the age range of children that are enrolled in it just as much as it is defined by the kind of care that it provides to children who are a part of the program. These two factors are the most important when determining if it’s a daycare.

Daycares typically cater to children that are infants and toddlers. They exist to help take care of children that aren’t even old enough for pre-school but still need to be somewhere while their parents are going about their daily duties, whether those include work, school, or the occasional spa day that we all know parents deserve.

The vast majority of daycare programs are full time and, depending on where you live, you could probably find one that could watch your children no matter what your schedule might look like, regardless of if you open or work the third shift. 

With all of that in mind, some daycare centers do also offer after-school care. That might not make as much sense with the definitions that we’ve covered so far, but it will make a lot more sense once we go over what a preschool is in the next section.

What is a Preschool

As you may have suspected by this point in the article, preschools and daycares are not the same thing. They do have the similarity of existing within the childcare industry and there are even some facilities that handle both, but they do entirely different things for children. 

Preschools are for children that are older than toddlers but are still too young to enroll in kindergarten. Where daycare is primarily concerned with making sure that your child is taken care of while you’re busy, preschool has an entirely different goal while also making sure that your child is taken care of. 

Their other goal is to make sure that your child is ready for kindergarten as well as the years of schooling that exist for them beyond kindergarten. They do this by getting the children that are enrolled used to the kind of experience that they’ll have in academia.

So, if you enter a preschool classroom, it’s going to feel like a classroom for young children. There’s a curriculum involved and everything. It’s a lot like school except for the fact that it’s not quite a part of their at least 13 years of schooling they have ahead of them.

But that’s to be expected, every kind of schooling feels different than the others. Kindergarten feels different than elementary school, elementary school feels different than middle school, middle school feels different than high school, high school feels different than college, and college even feels different than any post-grad programs one could be enrolled in. 

While your child is enrolled in this sort of program, they’ll be taught the basics of all of the subjects that they’ll have to learn about when they get to kindergarten. For example:

  • Reading.
  • Writing.
  • Mathematics.
  • English.
  • Science and technology.
  • Social studies.
  • Fine arts.

There’s a lot that your children will learn once they enter the education system, so being sure that they get a good headstart on all of these topics is incredibly important to ensure their success throughout their entire academic career.

How to Find a Great Daycare or Preschool Program

If you’ve decided that you want to enroll your child in a daycare or preschool program, you’ll probably need some tips for picking a good one. There are a lot of programs to choose from and they are not all of the same quality, so picking a good one is important.

Do keep in mind that “good” and “expensive” aren’t always synonymous. A lot of parents seem to think that the price of a program and the quality of the program are related, and they are not. Of course, some of the more prestigious programs that will look good on a college application will cost more, but that doesn’t mean that cheaper ones aren’t always good.

The first place you could try looking is at the childcare.gov website. This website exists specifically to help parents find good childcare options, no matter the kind that they’re looking for or their budget.

You could also give your local school district a call. They can refer you to good programs for any budget as well, and they have a vested interest in getting your child ready for school because there’s a good chance that your child will be attending school in their district. 

Understanding Childcare

The world of childcare is definitely an important one. There’s a lot to know about it if you want to be sure that your child is going to get as much out of it as possible. Researching this is important if you want to make the best possible choice. 

Whether you’re looking for daycare for your toddler or a preschool for your slightly older but still young child, both you and your child deserve to have the best possible childcare program so that your child can have the best possible chance to succeed both in their academic and professional careers.