What is the difference between daycare and preschool?

It’s one of the biggest decisions a parent needs to make for their child. When a parent must part with their child to go to work each day, they need to decide if that child is going to a preschool or a daycare.

There are many ways that these two choices are the same. You don’t need to worry about state safety guidelines. Both the center and school are licensed and regulated by the same stage agencies. Both usually provide different learning and play activities for children. Many of these learning activities prepare the children for kindergarten. The cost is about the same for both of them. There are private preschools that can cost more, but overall they are usually in the same ballpark. The most important thing that is the same is the love and care that most providers give to the children at both entities. Teachers and caregivers at these places usually do it for their love of children.



These hours are usually flexible to accommodate working parents’ needs. They need to open early before people go to work and close later for caregivers that get off work late. They’re also usually open throughout the year. Sometimes you can personalize your child’s schedule depending on your work schedule.

Potty Prerequisites

Children are usually accepted in diapers. Many times they work with the children towards potty training.


The day is based more on play than learning. Since the day is so much longer than a normal school day, there is a lot of socializing.

Age Requirements

Babies can usually begin as early as three weeks old. Each has its own age requirement. Most centers allow children of all ages from infants to grade-schoolers. After children get out of school, they’re often picked up by a bus and brought back until a parent is able to get them. The littlest kids will get a chance to play with bigger kids.



The day is usually shorter starting around 8 or 9 AM and ending at about 2 PM. Many times they close on holidays and throughout the summer. Some will offer camps for kids when school ends. Sometimes you can choose between a half-day or a full day. You can also choose only certain days for your child to go to school.

Potty Prerequisites

Many times children are expected to be potty trained before they can enter a classroom. The teachers do not usually work with children towards potty training.


Since the goal is to get children ready for kindergarten, there is usually a tighter schedule. Children will still have time to play, but will have a lesson plan each day.

Age Requirements

Most preschools accept children from ages 2 to 5. This is different in different schools, of course. Age groups are usually separated into different classrooms. They may play together at the playground or go to certain classes together.

Ask Questions

You can get a better insight into what is best for your family by asking questions. Take a tour of the facility and meet the director. Talk to teachers and caregivers about what they do throughout the day. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the care of your child. Find somewhere that you find comfort in leaving your child. Ask staff members about the cleanliness of the facility and what safety measures they have in place. Make sure the staff is friendly and knows how to handle all kinds of children. The state standards are high, but it’s your responsibility to make sure the staff is working towards these standards on a daily basis.

These guidelines will only take you over the learning threshold. Do your own research before you choose a place. The best program out there for your child is the one that fits your entire family. It’s a tough decision, but you’ll have a gut feeling for what your child needs the most.


Top Daycare Centers was started with a simple mission - To help parents like us find the safest, most reliable and trusted daycare and child care centers and services near your area.

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