While the debate about preschool vs daycare in the USA is far from settled, there are some key differences. You should know these differences before choosing a childcare option. For example, preschool is a year-long preparation for primary school. It also offers a full-day school-like setting. Preschool for 4-year-olds is growing in popularity, starting with children who are disadvantaged.


Head Start

Head Start programs are administered by area agencies that serve the designated communities. If you’re interested in enrolling your child in a program, you should contact a local lead agency to obtain the necessary forms and documents. They will then determine whether or not you’re eligible to participate.

The researchers used a controlled, randomized trial to measure the impact of Head Start. They followed 5,000 3 and 4-year-olds for two years, and then collected data on the children until they reached third grade. Interestingly, the study also found that children enrolled in Head Start showed lower rates of teen pregnancy and criminal engagement.

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Center-based care

Preschool might win the preschool vs daycare in the USA war here. While parents should consider the benefits of center-based preschool for their infants, they should also consider the costs of daycare. The median weekly hours of care for an infant is 40, while that for an older child is only 24. As a result, questions about the cost, affordability, and value of daycare remain a concern for policymakers, parents, and childcare providers.

To measure the cost of center-based care, researchers used data from the 2016 Early Childhood Program Participation Survey to estimate the average cost per hour for center-based care. This data is useful for parents and policymakers when they determine how much to spend on child care. It also informs state and local policies regarding eligibility cutoffs and sliding fee schedules.

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Class size ratios

A number of studies have examined the effect of class size ratios on child development. They found that smaller ratios were associated with better child outcomes. In particular, smaller class sizes were associated with fewer special education placements and behavioral problems. Furthermore, smaller class sizes helped teachers improve their experience and reduce their stress. In contrast, high teacher-child ratios negatively impacted the quality of programs. High teacher-child ratios also increased the number of suspensions and expulsions.

Researchers analyzed nearly six decades of early childhood research to come to conclusions about the effects of class size ratios on child development. While the exact formula for optimal ratios depends on the goals and curriculum of the programs, they indicate that smaller class sizes benefit children.

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While the preschool vs daycare in the USA topic keeps growing, it should be noted that children should be given quality education at all times.