Interview with Debbie Pruitt: What is the difference between preschool and daycare?

by Debbie Pruitt on April 24, 2017

We recently sat down with our director, Debbie Pruitt, to discuss a question we often hear: What exactly is the difference between preschool and daycare?

Why do parents choose to enroll their children in preschool?

1. Academics

When both parents work, it's often hard to prepare a child for kindergarten academically. While parents can adequately prepare a child from home, many do not have the time due to other obligations.

2. Development

Many parents choose preschool because they want their child to develop socially or relationally. Many of the children at our preschool are the only child, so it's helpful to have a social environment where they can learn to share and interact with other children.

3. Kindergarten Preparation

Preschool is an ideal learning environment for children to learn basic skills for kindergarten. We can help acclimate a child to a schedule or routine and give them practice listening to a teacher while remaining attentive.

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What are the advantages of preschool over daycare?

1. Age of Children

Most daycare environments include infants and toddlers, whereas preschools typically focus on three to five year-olds.

2. Academic

Daycares may use a learning curriculum, but the learning is often less formal. Preschools typically use a professional curriculum and maintain a more structured schedule.

The preschool classroom-like setting is ideally situated for academic development. Preparing children for kindergarten often includes using scissors, color, letter, shape, and number recognition, as well as counting and following directions.

3. Teacher Qualification

Daycare teachers may not be degreed but may hold a certificate, whereas most preschool teachers have a degree in early childhood education.

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4. Potty Training

Daycares will often help children potty train. Preschools, on the other hand, typically require children to already be potty trained.

5. Licensing

Both daycares and preschools must meet the same state licensing criteria.

What sets Bible Baptist Preschool apart from other preschool options?

Parents constantly reference three strengths, so I'll focus on those.

1. Teacher Quality

Parents constantly tell me how much they appreciate our teachers. I often hear that parents appreciate how respectful the teachers are toward the children, even if a child is being disobedient.

Although the teachers hold the authority as adults and instructors, they don't talk down to the children or degrade them. They consistently talk to them in a loving, patient, nurturing way—like a parent would treat her own child.

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2. Flexible Hours

We offer daycare hours, but we provide academics like a preschool. Most preschools only offer a half-day curriculum.

Because so many of our hard-working parents are busy until later in the afternoon, we extend our hours until 6:00 p.m.

During the morning, we provide a full-fledged academic program. After a break for lunch and nap time, we maintain regular childcare through the afternoon hours. This afternoon time is more relaxed and has a daycare atmosphere and focus.

3. Godly Influence

Our program includes daily Bible lessons. The students learn verses and songs that teach them about how  God loves us and how he sent his son to die for us so that we can have eternal life.

These verses and songs reflect that message along with the message that God created us and takes care of us and it is because of him we are here. The impact of this message, we hope, will stay with these children as they grow older—and hopefully they will accept Jesus as their own personal savior.


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Debbie Pruitt

A resident of Charlotte for twenty-five years, Debbie Pruitt has worked in education for well over a decade as an administrative assistant, and now as a preschool director. She has served as the director of Bible Baptist Preschool since August 2016.