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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Daycare vs Preschool - Which Do You Prefer?
LovetheSun 12:47 PM 03-16-2017
Hi everyone!

Just wondering which age group and which program do you prefer to offer (a preschool program or daycare with just free play & Art activities).

We started off as a daycare then we became a preschool (our program was already included lots of activities) and now I am finding myself with the possibility to go back to being a free play daycare (with some activities) since most of our kids are leaving this year (some to K and some are moving).

Preschool is challenging because I am always afraid we were not teaching enough and it added some stress to my days however the children do stay longer (about 3years) which was really nice, also I do enjoy teaching and how interested children are at that age.
JackandJill 12:57 PM 03-16-2017
I am a daycare - I never do any kind of work sheets and all of our learning activities are done through play, books or games. Even my art and music is open ended. I tell parents when they interview, that kids are here to play, which is how they learn. If they are looking for more structure than circle time, I may not be the best fit, as preschool time is not built into our day!

My favorite age group is 1-3 years, so I find that by the time parents really want that preschool structure/setting, I am ready for them to move on anyway. Its a win win for me, I get the age group I like and I feel no pressure to provide preschool to families in my care.
Baby Beluga 01:58 PM 03-16-2017
I'm so glad you asked this question as I am interested in hearing everyone's responses.

I started off as an in-home daycare however I very quickly realized I operate more like an all day preschool. I am considering taking the summer to re-brand myself as an all day preschool for children 2 - 5 (I would grandfather in my current young one) as I think my current "title" and curriculum/program confuses potential clients.

Although the past week has been particularly challenging with my group I still enjoy children ages 2 - 5 the best.
kendallina 02:25 PM 03-16-2017
I run a preschool. I brand it as a preschool and work with kids ages 3-5. The activities are all hands on and developmentally appropriate and i plan based on he kids interests. My curriculum and activities are ever-evolving and I'm constantly inspired to try new things. I love it! Its my creative outlet and i have fun each day. That being said, most of our day is freeplay and i always stress to parents that this is the most important time of day. And there are lots of days that are "just" play days. We do a lot of outside time as well.
Cat Herder 03:58 PM 03-16-2017
I have no choice.

To operate legally here you must offer an approved curriculum, now.
daycare 05:41 PM 03-16-2017
I am both. Preschool on the morning and daycare in the afternoon.
I only plan curriculum and activities in the morning and after nap there's only free play.

I love having a preschool, nothing more rewarding than watching these children grow in every way.
LovetheSun 05:49 PM 03-16-2017
In our city there is an intense pressure for full on academic curriculum. But I do believe the amazing benefits of free play plus what some parents do not seems to realized is that most children in Kindergarten do not know their all their alphabet/number/ or math so they have to start all over again.

Every day we do either Yoga/Baking/Music/Gymnastic or an environmental class (each class last about 30/45min), then we do a purchased curriculum almost daily (about an hour), circle time (15min) and crafts (paint/drawing/cutting etc..).
The rest of the day is free play.

Instead what I would like to do is continue the Yoga/Baking/Gymnastic/Music/Environmental classes, Arts and circle time (and do some sheets work like tracing). I am not sure where that would fall, it seems to light to be consider preschool.
But in the same time, running a daycare was so much fun!! We just played and did fun activities
Blackcat31 05:29 AM 03-17-2017
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I have no choice.

To operate legally here you must offer an approved curriculum, now.

I participate in my state's QRIS program and am required by that program (my state's is called Parent Aware) to provide an approved curriculum.

However, I am lucky enough that the list of approved curricula includes open ended, unstructured options. Basically as long as we can "show" the children are provided with opportunities in all domains (via observation/assessment/documentation) and are meeting all the standard developmental milestones then it's all good.

We can choose to operate however we want as far as structure or free play so the pressure I see other's experiencing due to licensing and/or QRIS requirements isn't happening so much here.

I started out as family child care (taking kids from birth to age 13) but had plans to be a full on structured age 3-5 preschool.....but that never really happened exactly the way I!

Now I take them only until age 5 and have what I call a Learning Play Center.
We learn...but we learn through play.

I don't do any type of sit down teaching...I don't even have circle time....we have our "discussion time" during morning snack.
As the teacher my role is only to set up the environment to lure them in and engage them.

They do all the rest.

I am available for assistance and sometimes redirection but for the most part, the kids choose their activities, how they are going to participate and for how long.

At the end of their time here, they have learned what they need to know for kindy (academically) as well as honed their social emotional maturity and learned a few attributes that seem to be lacking in society now days.

I like my mixture of "preschool" and "child care". It's educational enough to keep the brick and mortar parents happy/satisfied and fun enough to keep the parents that truly understand what childhood means happy/satisfied too!
Pestle 05:05 PM 03-17-2017
I was raised unschooled/Montessori, so don't get me started. I offer the kids the real world, which at this stage means carefully curated activities that build fine and gross motor skills, pre-writing skills, pre-math skills, social skills, and everything else that preschool is supposed to do--just not how traditional public preschools do it.
Indoorvoice 05:26 PM 03-17-2017
As a former teacher, I aimed to be more of a preschool, but after a few high needs babies, I found it impossible to do any sort of curriculum with the older kids so I became kind of a free play daycare. I do have centers set up, each with a different purpose that the kids are free to explore at any time. I also have an area for the babies. As a shock to me, I found that I really prefer the birth-2 age group so I don't care that I'm not a great preschool right now. I'm sure qris is coming my way, so I'll have to comply soon, but right now the kids and I are having a great time doing whatever we want.
EntropyControlSpecialist 12:26 PM 03-21-2017
I am a preschool. I opened as such and advertised my credentials so they weren't scared off by the "in home" part.
My downstairs is a school classroom and looks like a preschool with the furniture and setup. I take 2.5+, but it's a very limited number of 2's. The rest must be 3-5 based on my own requirement.

I am not open daycare days or daycare hours and most of my students are part timers.

We do not do worksheets here. The learn with manipulatives when we sit down for structured learning times and they learn through play when it's center times.

When I operated with daycare days and daycare hours I didn't stress myself out as much about doing everything a building preschool does (MINUS worksheets - NO!). But, that changed and this keeps me very busy.

I do think I would feel much less stressed if I ran a free play daycare but I also think I would be very bored. I need something to DO at work, whether that's setting up an activity, orchestrating a structured learning time with a small group of them, sitting next to someone talking with them as they play, documenting what they're doing, etc.
Tags:daycare vs preschool, preschool vs home care
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