Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Daycare vs. Preschool

I was reading a message board from a parent that was looking for a preschool for her 2 year old child in the city where I live. She felt that we did not have preschools here, since they did not meet a specific criterion that she was looking for.

She wanted a school that provided care for ages two and up, she felt that schools who had infant care were Day-cares and not Preschools.

In my opinion, there is a difference between a Preschool and a Daycare and those differences are based on the requirements within the school setting. Some schools have all day, half day and daily programs which could consist of 9-10 hour days for full day care, 4-6 hour days for half day care, and schedules that consist of certain days of the week, for example; a  child might come only Tuesday and Thursdays or Monday, Wednesdays and-Fridays.

I believe that these types of schedules do not constitute as being Day-cares, since students are still in a learning environment and although they are not given structure learning all day, on some level they are still learning because they are playing and working with the toys in different ways. Although some of the part-time schedules can be constituted as Day-care since missing days can keep students from participating in the entire aspect of the curriculum.

Any school can be perceived as a Daycare, if there is no structure or guidelines that are followed. For example; a school where students are assigned to one teacher, but they are being transferred from class to class based on ratios and are never in the class that they were registered for, could be considered a Daycare. Or centers that do not have potty training requirements for students that are older than 3, might also be considered a Daycare.  Some might even consider a school that doesn't have parent teacher conferences, assessment standards and monthly meetings and professional development days for teachers as Day-cares.

In my opinion, preschools prepare each student for their next level of school, for example;  a 2 year old class gets students ready for the 3 year old class and so on, until the  student is ready for Elementary school.
If a school is not preparing students for the next phrase of school readiness, no matter what the age group, then it is a Daycare, a place where a child can be watched with no set curriculum, lesson plan or structure.

Although each school can be a safe and nurturing environment for students, each depends on what parents are looking for, so if a school does not meet the parent’s criterion they might consider it a Daycare and not a Preschool.

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