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Is there a difference between daycare and preschool?

As you first begin to think about childcare options for your little one, you may become overwhelmed with how many choices there are. It can be difficult to figure out which early childhood education center will be best for your family’s needs. Of course, it’s not long before the big question arises: daycare or preschool? You may even find yourself wondering what the difference is (if any at all) between a daycare and a preschool.

To help you decide what will be best for your child, let’s take a look at some of the areas where daycare centers and preschools may be different:

Ages

Although each childcare establishment is different, many places that have ‘preschool’ in the name may not accept kids under the age of 2 or 3. Preschools typically focus on providing academic programs for children between the ages of 2 ½ to about 5 or 6. Daycares, unlike most preschools, tend to offer programs for a wider age range of children, oftentimes including infants.

Prep Academy Schools gives families the best of both worlds by offering a strong educational foundation for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years. Prep Academy provides high-quality education programs for infant, toddler, preschool, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten age children, also offering an enriching before and after school program for children up to 12 years old.

Curriculum

At a daycare, the focus can often be on keeping children on a healthy nap and sleep schedule, and entertaining them while their parents are at work. Some informal learning at daycare centers is often introduced through educational games and activities. Preschools, on the other hand, often implement a learning methodology of some type, such as Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, or Montessori.

Prep Academy Schools implements The Accelerated Program, a prestigious Flagship Early Childhood Educational Experience. This prestigious learning model was designed by Early Childhood Development Specialists with the accelerated student in mind. Educators at Prep Academy tailor their lessons based on the strengths of the individual student to make sure that each one is being challenged appropriately.

Kindergarten and Elementary Readiness

The aim of many preschools is to make sure that children are prepared to move onto the next level in their academic journey, which is usually kindergarten or elementary school. While some daycares may have a preparedness plan for higher education, it is often not their primary goal.

At Prep Academy Schools, one of our main developmental goals for our kindergarten students is to prepare children for future educational success by fostering literacy, mathematics, science, and art skills.

Hours of Operation/Calendar Schedule

Another big difference between daycares and preschools can be the hours of operation and the calendar schedule. While preschools are typically only open during your average school hours, and often follow public school calendar for breaks, daycares usually open earlier and stay open much later to accommodate working parents. Daycares are also often open year-round or provide camps during the summer and holidays when most preschools are closed.

Luckily, Prep Academy Schools offers an exciting summer camp program with topics in arts, humanities, sciences and more! Prep Academy also offers an engaging STEM camp with fun activities that keep kids learning and interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

 

At Prep Academy Schools, we mix the best elements of daycares and preschools to serve families in our communities with convenient, high-quality early childhood education. In addition to offering an advanced academic curriculum, Prep Academy Schools ensures that students are having fun and exploring their interests through additional enrichments such as physical education, foreign language, computer technology, music and art.

 

Teaching Your Preschoolers the Value of Money

One of the most important life skills that anyone can acquire (even as a child) is the ability to manage money. At a very early age, attitudes and habits towards money begin to form. This is why it’s such a good idea to make sure that your preschoolers develop positive financial habits as early as possible. Teaching your preschoolers the value of money can be easier than you think. Here are some helpful tips that you can use to teach your child about the purpose and value of money.

Counting Coins

Once your preschoolers know how to count, you can start to explain to them the value of each coin and its relationship to other coins. For example, you can teach them that five pennies are worth the same amount as one nickel, and two nickels are worth the same amount as one dime. This will help them understand that all coins are valuable, but some coins are worth more than others.

A piggybank is another great way to help your preschoolers understand the value of coins. Teach them how to save coins in their piggybank and have them pick a time to empty it out and count the coins inside. Your children will enjoy sorting the different coins into separate piles and adding up the value of each pile.

Money as a Currency

Preschoolers can learn that money is a way of exchanging things. You can demonstrate this by giving your child a small amount of money (a dollar or two) and then asking them to select a piece of candy or fruit from the store. Explain to them that the money you gave them can be exchanged for the item they selected. This will help them understand how valuable money is in day to day life.

Young children can also learn that money is a currency through playing “store” and using play money. You can encourage this game by setting up a small “store” in your house and allowing “customers” (you can use stuffed animals or dolls for this) to purchase items using the play money. Having them set prices on different items can teach them that certain things are more valuable and therefore cost more money. This will help them understand that different amounts of money are used in acquiring different things.

Couponing

Teaching your preschoolers that couponing is a practical way to save a little extra money on an item is another good way to help your children understand the value of money. You can use coupons as learning tools for your children by allowing them to look through a coupon book with you and having them pick out which coupons they think would be the most useful for your family. Cut out these coupons and put them in an envelope.

The next time you take a trip to the store, put your preschoolers in charge of carrying the coupon envelope. Ask them to help you locate the items on the coupons. This is a valuable learning experience for your children on the importance of finding discounts and choosing the best deals.

Saving Money

One of the most important financial habits for children to learn is how and why to save money. A great way to teach this is by making a savings account for your preschoolers. Young children will get excited about this because it makes them feel like adults by having their own bank account. It is also a great way to teach them financial responsibility. If your children receive an allowance, encourage them to deposit a percentage of it into their savings account so they can watch the money grow over the years.

 

At Prep Academy Schools, one of our main focuses is on mathematics. Beginning in our Pre-K program, students learn basic number concepts by manipulating and counting real objects. We also work to instill life-long values of honesty, integrity, and responsibility, which are all great qualities to have when learning the value of and managing money.

Finding the Right Preschool

We know you want the best for your little one and sticking them in any old daycare simply won’t cut it. After all, the foundation for a bright academic future for your child starts now. Finding the right preschool for your child can be a long process, sometimes even a year prior to enrolling your child in any school.

Tips to consider before choosing a preschool:

  • Start early. Give yourself enough time to research all the preschools in your area. Starting early gives you the upper hand in applying to the ones that you think have the most potential and allows you to enroll before those slots fill up!
  • Know the difference between daycare and preschool. While a daycare provides supervision and makes sure that your child’s basic needs are met, a preschool usually offers a curriculum and has a specific learning approach.
  • Pinpoint your priorities. It’s easier to select a preschool when you have specific things that you are looking for. For instance, you might have certain enrichments, learning philosophies, and curriculum in mind that you believe would make up an ideal preschool for your child.
  • Research. Ask your friends and family to give you the names of reputable preschools that they’ve had experience with. Word of mouth can be a huge help here as personal references can be used as an asset. Another option is to ask each preschool to give you a list of parents whose children have attended the school, which you can then call to find out what they like and dislike about the school.
  • Find out potty training policies. Part of your research should include finding out whether or not potty training is a requirement. Some schools will agree to help you in the potty training process while others make it a requirement that your child must be fully potty trained before beginning at the preschool.
  • Schedule tours. You should visit each school while classes are in session to get a feel of how the preschool is run. This is also a good opportunity see how low student-to-teacher ratios in the classroom compare with high student-to-teacher ratios.
  • Observe the signs. A well-run preschool will have high-quality relationships between students and teachers, high parent involvement, follow a consistent education philosophy, and emphasize positive discipline policies. If a preschool displays these signs, you will most likely be checking off many items that you put on your list of priorities.
  • Interview. During the tour, you’ll want to ask the administrators and teachers a series of questions. Make a note of the way each director or staff member handles the questions.

At Prep Academy, we’ve created an engaging classroom environment with a colorful and well-designed layout that makes children eager to learn. Our tech-savvy staff helps each young learner gain early exposure to technology by using cutting-edge educational technology that includes Smart Boards, iPads, and computer labs.

We offer a high-end curriculum designed so that students are educated at least one grade level beyond their chronological age and peer group. Our programs are advanced, proven, tailored, exciting, and accelerated. If you want your child to gain life-long learning advantages, have fun, and receive character education, Prep Academy is the preschool for you and your child.