On the surface, an early learning center—also known as a preschool—sounds like a fancy name for a daycare. But, they are actually very different. Both daycares and early learning centers cater to children ages 2-5, and both teach and nurture the child while the parent is at work. However, a preschool gives both the parent and child far more benefits and long-term, lasting effects.
At a daycare, a parent can generally expect:
- The child learning to interact with other children their age
- Either a group environment or a smaller setting in the proprietor’s home
- Fundamental education
Daycare services are primarily geared towards providing supervised care for your child. While they allow children to learn some social skills, they do not focus on learning and education as a primary goal.
Early Learning Center
At an early learning center, a parent can expect:
- A foundational core education
- Development of social skills
- Development of critical thinking skills
- An integrated structure, learning, and play
While most daycare centers provide some education–teaching children their ABC’s and 123’s–a preschool makes learning a focus. In addition to cognitive skills that will help each child as they continue into grade school, early learning centers teach important interpersonal and social skills. In fact, many Pre-K programs get children involved in the community, teaching compassion and understanding. Developing these skills at an early age is crucial, as the brain develops fastest from birth to the age of three. Giving children the stimulation and attention they need at this stage will set them up for success as they continue to develop.