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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Family Home Daycare = Preschool for Less $$ ??
Growing1atime 05:10 PM 09-15-2011
When did Family Home Daycare become inexpensive preschool?

I do not do a preschool program. Because I am not a preschool. I am a home daycare provider. I don't charge enough to run a preschool program. But it seems more and more that we are expected to provide a full preschool to our little ones.

I have ages ranging from 1 year to 5 years. I do age appropriate games and activities. We play, we sing. But we are not a preschool. I send my own children to preschool at age three. ( another reason I work) Not to mention that none of my kids are full-time and come on different days.

I tell parents up front that I am a Home Care Provider, not a preschool teacher out of my home. I focus on caring and loving the children. I work on social skills with the other kids in the daycare.

But I feel "peer-pressured" (LOL) to become a home preschool.

Anyone else feel this way?
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MsMe 05:31 PM 09-15-2011
Years ago when I started we boasted being a learning center. I bent over backwards to do worksheets, long learning storytimes, and sent tons of paper and 'work' home.

As the years have passed I have let the preschool part of my program fall away.

I still do story time and all children in my program can (entering preschool)
*use sissors
*hold a crayon correctly
*reconize letters in the alphabet
*spell name
*say the POA
*count to 20
*sit 'body basics'
*use table manners
*stand in line
*play in a group setting

My job is to provide a happy healthy safe enviroment for them to grow and play. I get tehm ready for preschool by socializing them with other children and teaching them basic preschool skills and ALL manners.
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nannyde 06:34 PM 09-15-2011
This is a really good thread:

https://www.daycare.com/forum/showth...ght=curriculum

What I think is best for children is what I offer.

We provide excellent supervision. (1 adult to 4 children max)
We provide health assessment (I'm a RN)
We provide the highest quality home made from scratch foods that are purchased locally, directly from the Farmer, in season, grass fed, free ranging, sustainable, and chemcial free.
Daily exercise
Deep restorative sleep
Dedicated space for sleep and play.
Extensive toy collections for each age group.

So we use our fees to provide supervision, food, exercise, sleep, and toy play.

That's what my parents pay for.

Every home day care provider gets to decide what services they offer and what the market can sustain. Of course you must comply with the minimum standards of health and safety in your State. Fortunately my State is very general in their standards and leave a lot of decisions up to us on how we want to execute those standards. I've had two inspections in the last three years and received a 100 percent compliance on both unnanounced. I don't play when it comes to the minimum standards. I do as I'm told.

I think where a lot of the confusiion and line blurring comes from what is the difference between educating the kids and playing with the kids. Those have been muddled together and one has become the other. The new "best practice" is education which in my opinion means "playing" with the kids. I'm sure you early childhood educators will point out that in some cases yes and in some no but from where I sit it smells a lot like playing with kids.

I think the best education you can give a birth to five kid is to leave their education alone and let them have an early childhood of good food, space, exercise, developmentally appropriate toys, visual/proximal supervision when they are out of bed, and time to have a long solid deep afternoon nap. Sprinkle that with the luvins, years and years of TIME with the same child, and a good relationship with their parents and VOILA... you get a kid ready to start Kindergarten.

I think the year before they go to Kindergarten they should have more of the play time be time to shore up on "pre Kindy" skills. That's how I do it.

If a child is with me from birth to the year before they go to Kindergarten then we spend the two semesters before they go off to Kindy where we see where the kid is at and work to accomplish anything that hasn't already come thru in their natural kid generated play. It's usually a pretty simple process because those kids before that child have taught them most of what they need to know.

We look at their basic skill set such as naming and pointing to colors, naming and pointing to basic shapes, knows basic body parts (shoulders, chest, knees, nose etc.), able to place objects in order, sorts objects, counts to 100, points to and names numbers, holds crayons and pencils appropriately, holds scissors appropriately and able to cut out wavy lines, circles, triangles, lines, names all the letter (upper and lower), points to the letters, recognizes name in print, and prints name.

So these are the things I look for in the last year before they go off to school. Usually a child will have 80 percent of that down before the school year before Kindy. We devote adult time to the child to finish up the rest if he/she needs it. I ONLY do this with kids I have raised though. I don't normally have kids who haven't been raised here since birth.

Because they have had a LONG childhood of playing with EACH OTHER without too much adult generated activites they are very quick learners with anything that IS adult generated. They also have the gift of years of playing with YOUNGER children which is IMHO way way way more important than playing with an adult. Younger children (meaning children who are 1.5-3 years younger) can offer the child more than I ever could. They are the best teachers in my home.

So anyway... how it relates to the money is that I charge my fees according to the foundational care of the child supervision, food, exercise, sleep, and toy play. Then when the child is in the last year before Kindy we use a small portion our fees to cover the staff time for shoring up their skill set for school. I say "small portion" because by the time they have been here for four plus years they require very little time to meet the prekindy basic skill set.

IF I had more money per child I could offer more adult generated activities and involvement at a younger age but I've never found parents willing to pay for it. I've actually offered dual rates to include more staff time for "playing with/educating" their kid (with a specific amount of time attached to the fee) and I haven't had a single taker. They parents I work for CAN afford the basics I offer but they don't have any interest in paying more for more "adults playing/educating" kids time. They ALL have the option to pay for that in addition to our fee though so if they feel it is something they want for the child all they gotsta do is pony up the $$$ and I'll be HAPPY to oblige.

I have the unique position too to have YEARS of paying for a second person here when I'm not required to have additional help. I know EXACTLY how much it costs to do adult involved "play/education". I can tell you EXACTLY how much it costs to have children paint. I know EXACTLY how much it costs to have them do play doh. I know EXACTLY how much it costs to do story time. I know EXACLTY how much it costs to get eight kids in full winter gear. I know EXACTLY what it costs to go out for a 45 minute walk. I can get all of that down to the penny.

I also know EXACTLY what it costs to do free play supervision WHILE you are getting other things done that serve our basic services (food prep is huge, cleaning of the inventory, safety checking of equipment (very time consuming) paperwork, etc.) When I decide where our funds go for services I have to first make sure that we live up to the basic agreement we have in the core services of supervision, food, exercise, sleep, and toy play. Once those have been met THEN we can decide daily what we will add into that. First we look at our group of kids going to Kindy and then if there is actual TIME available THEN we do sumpin sumpin a little special. We are fluid every day in what we do and sometimes we DO have time to do extra.

Lastly, remember that my parents spend about five waking hours a day with their children and most of my kids are only children. Day care is just ONE of the things the kids do every day. My day care parents spend TIME .. not quality time.. quantity time with their kids EVERY day. The ones that are wanting curriculum and educational activities with adult play do it WITH their child for free. My kids parents are their play partners and their teachers. As it should be... They don't expect me to do their job. If I want to do then of course they would love it... but they know that THEY are their child's "Master Teacher" and when they choose their childs playmate.
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AfterSchoolMom 05:25 AM 09-16-2011
Actually, the majority of preschools in my area are cheaper than I'd be if I did preschool or had daytime kids. Most are only around $100-140 monthly.
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Growing1atime 06:34 AM 09-16-2011
Originally Posted by AfterSchoolMom:
Actually, the majority of preschools in my area are cheaper than I'd be if I did preschool or had daytime kids. Most are only around $100-140 monthly.

Wow! That is pretty inexpensive. Where I live Full-time preschool is around $800 a month and you bring all your own food. Maybe I should move...
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Ariana 07:10 AM 09-16-2011
I don't feel pressure to be a preschool but I definately encorporate structured learning into our day. Here preschool is only 2 hours a day a few days a week and costs around $200 a month (depending on how often your kid goes). I usually do about an hour of structured learning per day but it's on my own terms and depending on the day I might skip it altogether!
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Ariana 07:11 AM 09-16-2011
Originally Posted by Growing1atime:
Wow! That is pretty inexpensive. Where I live Full-time preschool is around $800 a month and you bring all your own food. Maybe I should move...
Is this preschool or daycare? Thats pretty steep!! I don't know if Canada is different (Ontario specifically) but our preschool programs are part-time only.
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mac60 07:34 AM 09-16-2011
I offer preschool activities. Which means, we go thru the alphabet, counting, colors, shapes, writing name, etc, the very things the kids supposedly learn in "real preschool", for my weekly fee of $85. I think me offering this has kept me full for 12 years. I have only had 4 families in 12 years send their child to "real preschool". It is an "image" thing for some parents in my opinion. I offer my program Sept thru April. For me, I offered it for job security on my end.
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Cat Herder 07:37 AM 09-16-2011
I was State pressured.....but am adapting.

Preschool for 6 month olds... Yep, I am adapting.
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cheerfuldom 08:16 AM 09-16-2011
parents are pressured to have their kids "educated" from babyhood on and that transfers to the home daycare provider. I do learning activities with my kids but I do not offer a preschool program, specific curriculum, etc nor do I guarantee that your kids will be able to do this or that by a certain age
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TBird 09:49 AM 09-16-2011
Originally Posted by Growing1atime:
Wow! That is pretty inexpensive. Where I live Full-time preschool is around $800 a month and you bring all your own food. Maybe I should move...
Same around here...I paid $840/month 5 years ago for preschool.

Anyway, to add my humble opinion about home daycares becoming preschools....I run a preschool program along with my daycare activities. I mostly do it for myself because I looooooove to teach kids...it's just so rewarding for me.

BUT, I agree a lot with what Nannyde said on the subject. They learn plenty through play and other activities. One of my 3 year olds will probably be bored as heck when he gets to Kindergarten because I've already taught him everything. I had my 13 year old daughter in my program when she was little and her teacher had to take her and 3 other kids to the side because they were counting to 100 when the rest of the class was working on 1 thru 10. I often wonder what the Kindergarten teachers will get paid for if all the kids know everything when they get there.

But alas....it's what we enjoy doing here and it's definitely a selling point for prospective parents who can't afford the $840/month+ we have to pay around here. I think I like both ideas equally....daycare only.....and daycare/preschool. Parents like both options.
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MommyMuffin 12:41 PM 09-16-2011
I started almost a year ago and because of the competitive market I felt the pressure as well.

I do Funshine with my kids. I had a parent on interview say that they left their last DC because they were looking for more preschool activities. And buying the curriculum is expensive but I need to keep my dc as full as I have it now.

If I could find the clientele for a home daycare that doesnt offer preschool activities I would stop buying the curriculum.

If I didnt have my own 3 year old I would stop buying the curriculum and would focus on the basics with notes written on daily sheets so parents know what we are doing each day. Less cost, perhaps a little more prep but still the same out come.
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mac60 01:03 PM 09-16-2011
There are so many options out here to put together a curriculum without buying one. Just sit down, make a plan and find the info, do it once and you are done.
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Growing1atime 03:22 PM 09-16-2011
Originally Posted by Ariana:
Is this preschool or daycare? Thats pretty steep!! I don't know if Canada is different (Ontario specifically) but our preschool programs are part-time only.
That is for Morning Preschool and then "daycare" after. So the children can be there from 7am - 6pm.

For just the preschool morning it is around $500 a month.
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Sugar Magnolia 04:12 PM 09-16-2011
We are a small, multi-age approach center. All ages 1-5 spend 75% of their day as a group, playing together, learning only caring, sharing and cooperation. We do offer a preschool curriculum, but we are fortunate to have the space, time and staff to separate into age appropriate groups twice a day. Littles play and do very basic, simple learning activities (colors and shapes) Bigs do letter tracing, matching, sequencing, counting, letter and number recognition, phonics, story time and more. The preschool lessons compliment the monthly theme. I totally understand how home daycares can't and shouldn't do it. Parents should not expect or demand it from home daycares, just not realistic. And no, you guys don't get paid enough to have that demand foisted upon you. Your love, care, playtime and socialization you offer is more than adequate. Don't feel pressured, stand your ground and do what you do best! We do what we do because its what we do best. As a center, parents DO expect it from us, but they also pay big bucks. Lol!
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e.j. 04:44 PM 09-16-2011
Originally Posted by Growing1atime:
When did Family Home Daycare become inexpensive preschool?

I do not do a preschool program. Because I am not a preschool. I am a home daycare provider. I don't charge enough to run a preschool program. But it seems more and more that we are expected to provide a full preschool to our little ones.

I have ages ranging from 1 year to 5 years. I do age appropriate games and activities. We play, we sing. But we are not a preschool. I send my own children to preschool at age three. ( another reason I work) Not to mention that none of my kids are full-time and come on different days.

I tell parents up front that I am a Home Care Provider, not a preschool teacher out of my home. I focus on caring and loving the children. I work on social skills with the other kids in the daycare.

But I feel "peer-pressured" (LOL) to become a home preschool.

Anyone else feel this way?
I don't feel peer pressured so much as state pressured, but I understand what you're saying and definitely feel the same way.

The regulations in my state for home day cares are getting to be a bit much. We're now told specifically how to interact with the children in our care, we're required to provide a curriculum which "must include goals for the knowledge and skills to be acquired by children in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, science and technology/engineering, history and social science, comprehensive health, and the arts", we have to complete written progress reports and offer parents a conference to discuss the content of the report, we have to hang signs that makes our homes look like centers, etc.

While I've always had the kids do daily crafts, read books to them and incorporate preschool-like learning activities (letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc), I don't consider myself to be a preschool. The state insists I'm an "educator" (which, in the broad sense, I am) but I'm not a preschool teacher. My handbook clearly states that I consider myself to be a child care provider not a preschool. The parents who enroll their kids here are looking for home care. If they had wanted to enroll their kids in a center, they would have had plenty to choose from. I have to say, I'm beginning to resent being forced to turn my home into a mini-center.
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Sugar Magnolia 06:26 PM 09-16-2011
Originally Posted by e.j.:
I don't feel peer pressured so much as state pressured, but I understand what you're saying and definitely feel the same way.

The regulations in my state for home day cares are getting to be a bit much. We're now told specifically how to interact with the children in our care, we're required to provide a curriculum which "must include goals for the knowledge and skills to be acquired by children in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, science and technology/engineering, history and social science, comprehensive health, and the arts", we have to complete written progress reports and offer parents a conference to discuss the content of the report, we have to hang signs that makes our homes look like centers, etc.

While I've always had the kids do daily crafts, read books to them and incorporate preschool-like learning activities (letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc), I don't consider myself to be a preschool. The state insists I'm an "educator" (which, in the broad sense, I am) but I'm not a preschool teacher. My handbook clearly states that I consider myself to be a child care provider not a preschool. The parents who enroll their kids here are looking for home care. If they had wanted to enroll their kids in a center, they would have had plenty to choose from. I have to say, I'm beginning to resent being forced to turn my home into a mini-center.
Wow! Um yeah, that's a LOT for an in-home daycare! That sounds a LOT like center requirements. I have to do all that stuff, but I AM a center. I also accept state funded scholarships, so I must fulfill all requirements. I also do a Star Rating program and that is even more! I agree with all those requirements and I take it very seriously. But Wow. That blows my mind. That is a LOT to ask of one person running a small family daycare. I can see why you're feeling overwhelmed.
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mom2many 07:30 PM 09-16-2011
I never felt pressured into having a preschool program, but when my oldest was 3 yo and I was watching several other dcb's the same age, I wanted to incorporate things to help them learn the things they needed to know before starting kindergarten.

For years, I used the curriculum from the Home Preschool Program and loved that when my time was limited for planning and shopping for materials. I never passed the $15/child per month on to parents, b/c I decided to charge the same rate that I charged for infants. This helped compensate me and made it totally worth while.

I have lost several dcks over the years, b/c parents wanted a "formal" preschool environment, but for many they have stayed with me b/c I do offer these learning activities & crafts.

The 2, 3 and 4 yo LOVE "project time" and it's something they all look forward to. I now do my own program using several websites and absolutely love doing it this way! The preschoolers I've had have been totally prepared for kindergarten and I enjoy how it breaks up the day and seeing the excitement and joy they exhibit when learning new things!
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e.j. 08:38 PM 09-16-2011
Originally Posted by Sugar Magnolia:
Wow! Um yeah, that's a LOT for an in-home daycare! That sounds a LOT like center requirements. I have to do all that stuff, but I AM a center. I also accept state funded scholarships, so I must fulfill all requirements. I also do a Star Rating program and that is even more! I agree with all those requirements and I take it very seriously. But Wow. That blows my mind. That is a LOT to ask of one person running a small family daycare. I can see why you're feeling overwhelmed.
It's not so bad when you have a group of kids who are 2 and up but throw in a colicky infant or two or a kid with behavioral issues and that changes everything!

We have something called QRIS. I'm not sure if it's the same as the Star Rating program but I think it may be similar? They're still working on that but it should be coming down the pike soon. Just one more thing making home day care feel like a center!
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Blackcat31 08:01 AM 09-17-2011
Originally Posted by e.j.:
It's not so bad when you have a group of kids who are 2 and up but throw in a colicky infant or two or a kid with behavioral issues and that changes everything!

We have something called QRIS. I'm not sure if it's the same as the Star Rating program but I think it may be similar? They're still working on that but it should be coming down the pike soon. Just one more thing making home day care feel like a center!

I don't think you should stress over the things you do and do not offer. Many parents are simply searching for good quality loving providers who will provide the core elements to quality and loving care. You sound like you are a wonderful provider and really care about the kids.

Off on a tangent here but, you are correct about the QRIS. It is a rating system similar to other states. Our state is in the pilot stages of doing the same thing as yours with the QRIS. I think ours is modeled after the QRIS. I am one family childcare provider who is wishing they would hurry up and get our program up and running everywhere across the state and not just in the pilot areas.


The one thing about the QRIS system that I do not like is that the rating systems make it seem as though the centers/homes with 4 stars or more are actually better than others when in reality they are just taking on more responsibility and following more center-like guidelines. I don't think it is fair to give providers who provide the core things on a really good level only 1 or 2 stars. It makes it seem like they are rated as offering "poor care" rather than just "not as complicated". Does that make sense?

I think they shouldn't throw everyone in the pot and rate them. It is like saying apples only get 1 star but oranges get 2 and people who have both apples and oranges get 3 or 4. Doesn't mean they have better apples, just more choices (work) for the day. Some kids ONLY need apples and those that offer apples ONLY might just be super good at it so they should get 4 stars for it.

I do agree that parents need a way to sort out what each center or FCC home offers but the rating system definitely doesn't help some of the FCC providers by labeling them and assigning them less stars or lower ratings. I like the concept of the QRIS/rating systems but am having a problem with some of the language.
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e.j. 12:30 PM 09-17-2011
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
Many parents are simply searching for good quality loving providers who will provide the core elements to quality and loving care. You sound like you are a wonderful provider and really care about the kids.
I know this, you know this and the parents know this. I just wish the state knew it, too.

Thanks for the kind words. I really do love the kids I care for. As far as I'm concerned, they're as mine while I have them with me and I treat them as I would my own kids.

Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
The one thing about the QRIS system that I do not like is that the rating systems make it seem as though the centers/homes with 4 stars or more are actually better than others when in reality they are just taking on more responsibility and following more center-like guidelines. I don't think it is fair to give providers who provide the core things on a really good level only 1 or 2 stars. It makes it seem like they are rated as offering "poor care" rather than just "not as complicated". Does that make sense?
Makes perfect sense to me; I feel the same way.

Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I think they shouldn't throw everyone in the pot and rate them. It is like saying apples only get 1 star but oranges get 2 and people who have both apples and oranges get 3 or 4. Doesn't mean they have better apples, just more choices (work) for the day. Some kids ONLY need apples and those that offer apples ONLY might just be super good at it so they should get 4 stars for it.

I do agree that parents need a way to sort out what each center or FCC home offers but the rating system definitely doesn't help some of the FCC providers by labeling them and assigning them less stars or lower ratings. I like the concept of the QRIS/rating systems but am having a problem with some of the language.
I totally agree with this, too. One of the issues I have with our new regs is that they lump everyone together under almost the same set of rules. Some of the rules make sense for centers but not so much for home day cares. The same goes for the QRIS rating system. I'm afraid parents will assume they're looking at the results of a comparison of apples to apples and that fewer stars mean a bad provider when that probably isn't the case.
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