Preschool vs. Daycare: What’s the Difference?

If you’re considering preschool enrollment, you may be wondering how this differs from a daycare or child care program. You may also be wondering what’s right for your child and family situation. With that in mind, let’s take a look at preschool vs. daycare and consider which might be best for your child.


While children as young as six weeks of age might attend a daycare, preschool is recommended only for children ages two to five. While children will still have playtime and naps in preschool, there is more of a focus on developing those early academic skills. The intent of preschool is to prepare children for attending elementary school and to lay that critical foundation for the rest of their school career.

That means, at a preschool, your child might be learning their ABCs along with some sight words. They could be learning about numbers, as well as the natural world and other topics. Through doing so, a quality preschool will prepare your child to enter kindergarten.

But it’s also important to remember that children learn in a variety of ways, and there’s plenty of learning going on at daycare too.


Child care is about offering parents support when they need it the most, during weekdays when they’re at work. Daycare will provide more of a focus on games and free play compared to preschool. It’s important for children to have a safe place where their needs like sleeping and eating can be met. Above all else, you want to find a place where you trust the teachers and staff to provide excellent care.

The power of daycare goes beyond meeting basic needs, though. Children learn so much just through having a structured, scheduled day. They also learn by interacting with their peers, such as how to resolve arguments and how to share. Your child may also form a strong bond with their caretakers and peers.

Which is right for my child?

Every daycare and preschool program is a bit different in how they approach meeting those goals—and your family’s needs will be different than those of another family. Programs aren’t one size fits all, so it’s a smart idea to have a conversation with teachers and staff before preschool enrollment.

Early childhood is when the brain is developing most rapidly. There are some children who will be ready for preschool early, whereas there will be others who will need more time. A quality preschool or daycare program will stay attuned to parents’ and children’s needs and offer recommendations based on what they see.

If you’re looking into your preschool enrollment options, be sure to consider all Magical Star Preschool has to offer. We’re a child care facility offering children an immersive learning experience. We offer before- and after-school care, and all programs are specifically designed to enhance your child’s emotional, intellectual, social and physical wellbeing. Get in touch with us today to learn more and schedule a visit—we look forward to meeting your family!

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