(KGTV) - Many parents begin looking into potential preschools once their child reaches 3-4 years of age but choosing the right school or program can be a difficult task.
For some, choosing between a preschool or daycare facility is a matter of personal preference or financial-based -- but is there a significant difference between the two?
Preschool is typically for children age 3-4 (sometimes 5) and it prepares them to handle the transition to kindergarten curriculum. Research has shown that children who attend preschool often succeed in kindergarten, which in turn can lead to successful learning experiences and educational growth in subsequent grade levels.
Additionally, a quality preschool can get a child mentally and emotionally ready for what lies ahead in the kindergarten world.
Children can often attend preschool on a part-time basis (several hours a day, select days of the week) or on a full-day/every day schedule, depending on what the school offers.
BabyCenter -- citing statistics from the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, reported preschool costs range from $4,460 to $13,158 per year (or $372 to $1,100 monthly), depending on the quality of the school and where you live.
Before you choose a preschool for your child, view ChildCareAware’s “Preschool Program Checklist” of questions you should ask or things to consider when you visit a preschool.
Daycare facilities primarily focus on the care of children as young as infants and up to 10 years old, and most times there is an emphasis on developing social skills with some informal learning.
For many families, daycare is the right choice based on parents’ work schedules and the potential for a child to interact with other children in a controlled setting.
When it comes to cost, BabyCenter says families can expect to pay an average of $733 per month for daycare for preschool-age children. However, that average price could rise (or lower) depending on where you live.
For those looking into daycare options and financial assistance programs, a visit to ChildCareAware.org is recommended.
How they're the same
According to the blog Mom Junction, daycare facilities and preschools have many similarities:
- Several preschools have an extended daycare, where the children can stay back after the school hours.
- Daycares and preschools require licensing and accreditations to run them.
- Safety of the children is a top priority in both the cases.
- They need to have qualified and trained staff to educate and train the children. The fee structure is almost the same.
Some suggestions when trying to choose between a preschool and daycare facility:
- Plan a visit: Arrange a tour of a school or facility and meet with teachers or other employees that will be interacting with your child.
- Decide what you believe your child needs at the moment: Additional social interaction, more time spent on educational fundamentals, or both.
- Do your research: When considering schools in your area, gather as much information as you can about costs, hours of operation and ratings/reviews.