As most parents, care-givers, educators, and child psychologists maintain, early childhood development is a key component to the overall growth and development of an individual. Choosing a day care or a preschool, then, becomes one of the most important decisions an adult will make for a child. With the variety of choices available to most families in the United States, the task may become a daunting one.
This series of articles, “What to look for in a ______ classroom,” will provide a checklist to help organize the process. While the checklists will apply to families across the country, they will reflect research focused on centers and preschools in the Chicago area.
First, it is important to define the difference between day care and preschool.
Day Care: supervision of and care for children or disabled adults that is provided during the day by a person or organization (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Preschool:a school for children usually younger than those attending elementary school or kindergarten (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Keeping in mind what U.S. child development specialist and author, James L. Hymes, Jr., pointed out about all day care centers being schools whether they knew it or not, making a well-informed decision about your child’s early education is important.