S.X. asks from Carpentersville, IL on August 30, 2007
Do You Think There Are Differences Between Daycare and Preschool?
My son only attends daycare very limited hours but I wonder if there's a difference between that a "preschool". I realize it would depend on the daycare but every place tries to make their sounds so child and education focused, i just wonder what others have experienced. I worry he'll just be "watched" vs Taught. But maybe I'm being optomistic about pre-school. I like to think my boy is smart and he's learned some things early... and he is around alot of other children so it would be for socializing. Just can't decide if he'll need the EXTRA hrs at pre school on top of a few hrs at daycare. ???
J. answers from Chicago on August 31, 2007
I agree, it depends on the center. I know my nephew went to a great center with a certified preschool on premises. You can start by looking at any certifications the teachers and the center have. How is the day (or the preschool part of the day, if it's preschool in the morning, daycare in the afternoon) structured? Do the teachers have early childhood certifications and go to continuing education classes?
I'm not a hard-ass about accreditation, but you should look at the NAEYC standards for preschools and compare with what your daycare says they do. NAEYC has a brochure, which I can't find online, but here's a website: http://www.naeyc.org/academy/standards/
Also, look at your district's Kindergarten readiness requirements. Here are the Illinois standards: http://www.isbe.net/earlychi/pdf/iel_standards.pdf.
I'm a child-driven education kind of person - not into rote-memorization/flashcards sort of things. BUT, it's pretty obvious that there are early childhood skills that kids really do need beyond just the being in a group stuff. They need a lot of small-motor practice to get ready for writing, for example.
S.S. answers from Chicago on August 31, 2007
There is absolutely a difference between the two! Preschool teachers are trained to help your child grow, both academically and socially. I'm sure that most daycare centers teach children things, but it is still not the same as preschool. Preschool is meant to be 2-3 hours, hence the name "pre" shool. When a child is there for 8 hours, that is not school! That is daycare. 8 hours is even longer than a regular day of grammar school. Good luck to you with your search.
K.F. answers from Chicago on August 31, 2007
100% agree with the previous posts. You need to make sure that there is structure and not just babysitting. I found that a few places I went to look at were baby sitting. There was barely any teaching, just fun and games.
It's a tough decision but you'll make the right onw.
J.S. answers from Chicago on September 01, 2007
I stay at home with my kids, so I don't have the need for daycare. My son was screened for the preschool program that the school district offers, and they told me he was too advanced for their preschool program so he would have to wait until next year when he would attend kindergarten. Obviously, I was pleased to hear that he was in that status, however I was also disappointed at the same time. In my personal opinion, I believe my children need that extra year before going into school. I think it prepares them for kindergarten and on. Since I was unable to get him enrolled in the school district, they recommended I put him in a daycare. I called just about every daycare center in my area. I came across some who offer "preschool" but it was for the full day that someone would need childcare--which I don't. Finally, I found a daycare that also operates a Nursery School in it. I found this to be exactly what my son needs. They offer this program all 5 days, and the hours are 8:45am-11:45am. I have my son attending 3 days a week. In my situation, he is walking away with everything he would walk away with in an actual preschool. I have made "surprise visits" to my son's classroom just so I can see what they do during the day when they aren't expecting me, and I have been 100% pleased every time I showed up. In my experience, it appears as though it depends on the center your child would be placed in. I agree with a previous poster, that it is PRE school, and preschool should not mean spending 8 hours in a daycare center.
Good luck, and I hope you find this information helpful!!
S.A. answers from Raleigh on August 31, 2007
I agree with Amanda - it all depends on where you are sending your son. Ask to see the centers curriculum, or a weekly activity plan - they should be doing music, art, free play, reading/language (flannelboard counts), and physical activity.
Also.. something to note... not all centers in a chain are created equal. A couple years ago, my son went to Kindercare in Woodridge, but I was not happy with them. I pulled him out and tried a couple other solutions (nanny, home daycare, babysitter). I was hesitant to put him in a Kindercare again - but we moved. He goes to Kindercare (on College St in Lisle) and the difference is like night and day. This center is very clean, the toys are all in great condition, and the staff if very friendly and helpful. He's a schoolager now and only goes before and after school, but they help with homework and practice writing letters, etc.
Even if you only send him to a daycare with a pre-k curriculum for a few hours a day, he will still benefit from it. If you can afford to leave him in longer, then maybe that could be an option. I used to work at a daycare/preschool and we had very busy days of learning everyday - some kids came 2-3x a week but stayed for the full day so they could experience everything. For that age, routine is important, so while the activity itself might be different, the type of activity should always be the same. (for axample, we had breakfast, then 15 minutes of free play, then music, then storytime, then freeplay, then art, then outside time, then lunch, then nap, then snack, then free play, then reading/language, then math (counting, etc) then outside play, then free play.... so in the course of a day, a child does many activities. If your child only goes mornings or only afternoons, he could be missing out on a lot. Every class is different and has a different routine - thats just the one we did.
Check with the classroom teacher and see what he's missing by only going the limited hours he's going. good luck!
V.G. answers from Chicago on August 31, 2007
My Daughter goes to a day care with structured lerning and play time.. works as day care and preschool. Be stringent in your day care selection.
J.H. answers from Chicago on August 31, 2007
My son goes to a daycare but in my opinion it is Pre-school. Yes there is downtime at the center but they also have structured "learning time" They have spanish class once a week and they teach them their letters,numbers and everyday experiences. So I guess it all depends on the center that you choose. Like the other posters suggested you should ask the center for a layout of their day-
B.F. answers from Chicago on August 31, 2007
both of my kids went to 2 years of preschool. They did learn stuff, but it was mostly for them to socialize with other kids, learn how to listen to school rules. They were run by Churches. My 3rd will start preschool this Tuesday. They have this at our primary school in town. Since she is in the 3 year old, they do work but mostly learn life stuff.