Do you use the title of childcare or preschool in your business? What constitutes a preschool and what determines a childcare environment? Is there really a difference? Maybe you are trying to decide what to put on your business cards. Ok, let’s figure this out. Are you a childcare or a preschool? The answer might surprise you.
Are you a childcare or a preschool
I recently wrote on Facebook about the need for childcare providers to convey the benefits of family childcare homes to potential clients. So today I thought I would investigate and hopefully dispel the common (misguided) notions about childcare programs. That home based programs are only for the very young child or don’t have any real educational value and are somehow not a true learning environment.
My goal is to hopefully equip the home-based provider, like myself, with verbiage to pass along to potential clients when helping them to choose between a childcare or a larger daycare center. If we present the similarities, advantages, and differences of our programs, parents will be more educated when comparing to other environments. In short, we need to talk up the pros of our programs and dispel the cons.
What is a Preschool and What is a Childcare? Is one better than the other?
Recently a client expressed her astonishment at the development she had witnessed in her child. She said her daughter was doing so much more at a much younger age than her older child had. Although I appreciated the compliment, I explained that we witness this with many of the children we care for. I stated that although people tend to discount the childcare environment, there are so many advantages of a good program that are just as good if not better than other environments. Are you a childcare or a preschool
In the past when I would discuss this subject with colleagues I expressed my opinion that facilities like daycare centers and preschools had an inherent advantage over family childcare homes. I thought that simply because they were brick and mortar and resembled a traditional school environment, they had built-in credibility. In contrast to a smaller, home-based program which probably gave the appearance of a less formal, all be it a less valuable learning experience. Are you a childcare or a preschool
But let’s really examine these two environments and reveal whether one is actually better than the other.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of what a quality preschool vs. a quality childcare program have to offer.
With efforts in recent years to encourage childcare providers to engage in professional development, perform evaluations and referrals, family childcare providers are actually more experienced in child development than ever before. Are you a childcare or a preschool
The graphic does not include some of the obvious benefits. Benefits like the more one-on-one time a smaller environment like a home based childcare would provide.
Additionally, a sole provider provides a more consistent caregiver experience than the teacher turnover often experienced in a center based program. Are you a childcare or a preschool
Is Preschool better than Childcare? What do the Experts Say?
According to whattoexpect.com, a preschool may not necessarily provide more benefits than a childcare. Childcare programs “offer learning activities to prep kids for kindergarten, which means the curriculum may mirror a good preschool’s.”
“A good daycare and a good preschool probably won’t be all that different,” says Leslie Roffman, director of San Francisco’s Little School
In How Preschools differ from Daycare Centers, babycenter.com states “Experts say the best daycare programs are carefully designed to encourage children’s cognitive, social, and physical development too, just like preschools.”
“From a developmental standpoint, most preschoolers are not yet ready to begin formal education.” American Academy of Pediatrics in Caring for Your Baby and Young Child
When you compare the preschool and childcare environments what becomes apparent is that with quality programs there are more similarities than differences. In fact, many of our childcare programs would probably be more accurately described as mini preschools. We are doing the same things, just in a more intimate environment.
It is not my intent to suggest that a childcare setting is always better than a preschool. Only that the smaller setting of a childcare is often just as valuable as a learning environment.
So whether you decide to brand your childcare business as a preschool or a child care, I encourage you to find ways share the benefits of the childcare setting with potential as well as current clients.
What do you think? Is your program more like a preschool program? Do you use childcare or preschool in your business name? Please leave me a comment below and share your thoughts.