Deciding on the right childcare option can feel like an overwhelming task for families with young children. It’s important to remember, though, that there’s no “one size fits all” solution here. Rather than thinking there’s a single winner in the preschool vs daycare debate, parents need to realize that the right choice comes down to the needs of the individual child and the family. Many facilities will even offer both options to facilitate an easier transition and increase their appeal.
That said, there may come a time when you want to weigh your options. Instead of putting together a preschool vs daycare pros and cons list, we’ve put together some key factors you’ll need to consider when making your choice.
- Cost: While the price of your childcare option shouldn’t be the only consideration, it’s one that’s a big priority for many families. In some cases, there may not be that substantial of a difference in costs, which means your decision will come down to other factors. Ultimately, whether you choose daycare or preschool, your final choice needs to be affordable and worth the investment. A costlier program doesn’t always indicate quality, either. That said, there are often times wherein you will get what you pay for. You’ll want to take this figure into account, even if it’s not your deciding factor.
- Hours of Operation: In 2012, approximately 67% of children whose mothers worked part-time or full-time were enrolled in center-based childcare. Working parents will likely need to consider the operational hours of preschool vs daycare options on their list of possibilities. Typically, preschool programs have shorter hours every day; some offer both half-day and full-day sessions, but some programs don’t take place every single day. Daycare centers are often more flexible with their hours and will usually accommodate working parents. They also aren’t as likely to close for the holidays or school breaks. However, if extended or flexible hours aren’t especially important to your family, daycare alternatives like preschool might hold a lot of appeal.
- Enrollment Age: When trying to decide between daycare vs preschool, you’ll need to take the age of your child(ren) into consideration, too. Many daycare programs accept a variety of ages, from infants or toddlers to preschoolers (and even beyond, in some cases). Preschools, though, usually require students to be between three and five years of age. Some preschools may make an exception here and there, but they’re typically a bit stricter about enrollment age. Additional requirements for preschool often include potty-training and other abilities, so your decision may come down to age and personal development.
While these are not the only factors to consider when deciding on childcare or early education, they often play a key role in making this choice. To find out more about our programs, please contact us today.