The Difference Between Preschool and Day Care
The Makers Club • Resources


Preschool vs. Day Care

Numerous studies have been published over time which contains statistical evidence that high-quality child care/Preschool early in life correlates to stronger cognitive ability later in life. Those who dedicate their careers to early childhood care and education understand the important role that they play in the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of children in their care. Receiving good care from infancy through preschool years is essential to the development of the whole child, and statistics show the connection between this and productivity as an adult.

Daycare or Preschool?

Unfortunately, the term “day care” seems to carry a negative perception in today’s society.  At The Makers Club, one of the questions that we frequently receive from touring families is “Is this a preschool or a daycare?” The connotation implied in this question is that education that takes place at a preschool is mutually exclusive from the learning that takes place at a daycare. When we answer the question, we are sure to explain that providing great care is the most important part of our jobs. Health and safety before all else. However, in addition to the child care component, we offer a rich High Scope / Play-Based Curriculum in a stimulating learning environment. Care and education go hand-in-hand, and both aspects are essential to each child’s growth and development. We also like to point out that a difference between a preschool and a daycare is intentionality, interaction, and connection. Teachers at a preschool are establishing secure attachments and bonds with their students as they are getting on their level, asking important questions, and playing alongside the students. Teachers are participants in the children’s explorations and interests, as opposed to a daycare that typically has child care workers more so supervising children, and only strive to meet the child’s most basic needs – keeping them safe, feeding them, changing diapers, etc.

Preschool Teachers take their interactions to a whole other level.

The Problem with the term Day Care

What is it about the term “day care” that is off-putting to some? According to Katherine Rose, Associate Professor in Early Childhood Development and Education at Texas Woman’s University, “the term day care diminishes how complex and nuanced offering good quality child care is.” Rose goes on to say that “the term day care emphasizes the fact that the child is away from home all day as opposed to the fact that what’s happening (if it’s going as it should) is that the child is being molded for life- and if he or she spends 40 hours a week in a child care program, it can be as important or arguably more important than time at home.”

Day care sounds institutional. By definition, it simply means care offered during the day. When college students decide to pursue a career in teaching young children, they may choose to major in Early Childhood Education, a major that is offered at universities throughout the United States. They might earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, not a Bachelor’s degree in “Day Care.”

Regardless of the terminology (day care vs. child care vs. preschool), early childhood educators choose this field because they value the importance of this work in helping to guide and develop children into healthy, productive contributing adults. So, are we a school? Yes. Do we offer child care during the day? Yes. 

Schedule your personal tour of The Makers Club to get a glimpse of how early care and education can play a powerful role in the development of each and every child or contact us today for more information.