Where did the time go? It feels like just yesterday you were holding your new little baby in your arms and now you are looking at Preschool!
Now you might be saying to yourself, “Why should I worry about Preschool? My child has been in daycare all of their young life.” That’s a fair question! Daycare is a great way to get your child prepped, but preschool does have some differences that you should be aware of to make sure your child is fully ready!
The Purpose of Daycare vs. Preschool
The major difference between daycare and preschool is their respective purposes. Daycare is typically designed as a way for your children to be safely supervised throughout the day. While these days are not just all play and your child will still learn a ton while they are with us, lesson plans are not completely set in stone. This is mainly because young children are all over the place in their development.
The difference between two one-year-olds in their development can be quite large, even though both children are completely normal. As children get older, they become much closer together in their overall development, making structured education much easier.
And that is where preschool comes in! When children reach the age that they are ready to have a more structured education, that is when they move up into Preschool. Preschool-aged children also have some milestones that they have to hit, such as being potty trained. This is just one of the items we use to show that a child is ready to take on that next stage.
Once in preschool, the goal of the day starts to shift. Don’t worry, your kids will still have a BLAST during their day, but now more formal and proven education techniques come into play.
We begin to measure milestones a little more to see when your child might be ready for kindergarten and beyond! Think of preschool as that intermittent step to getting your child ready for a classroom setting.
How days are structured at Daycare vs. Preschool
Because of the difference in the purpose of the day, things become much more structured as your child moves from normal daycare to preschool.
During your average day of daycare, there is much more time for open play. This allows the little ones to discover new things, begin to use their imagination, and learn how to properly socialize with other children.
There are still many structured activities that happen throughout the day like coloring, singing, and dancing they are not required for each kid to participate in. Overall, the day is much more open.
Preschool is when we start to add structure into the classroom. When children do an activity, they all do it together such as story time or an art project. They also begin a more structured lesson plan where the ideas build on one another.
For example, they may learn how to count to 5, and then 10, and so on. These are the foundational elements of formal education that will help them be better students, not just in kindergarten, but also throughout their entire education.
Should my child be in daycare or in preschool?
This is a great question asked by many parents! As long as your child meets the age and developmental milestones that they need, they are ready to be in preschool! While this does typically happen around the ages of 3 or 4, most kids aren’t ready at the exact same time (and that’s ok!). We would much rather wait a little longer to move your child into preschool than to move them up before they are ready. Every child is different and it is important to watch their development to see if they are ready!