Preschool vs. Childcare
While the terms preschool and childcare are used interchangeably, and despite the fact that they share similarities, they are decidedly different.
Preschool programs aim to prepare toddlers for school, with a greater emphasis on early learning and academics. Preschool typically only accepts children ages 3 to 5 and tends to have more teachers with training in Early Childhood Education. Preschool curriculums generally follow the school calendar, which means they are closed during holidays and summer vacation, and they maintain typical school hours, usually something like 8 to 3 with, the option of half days.
Childcare refers to any setting where a child is looked after — from a nanny to a daycare. Daycares generally leave plenty of time to explore and incorporate play-based learning, and many daycares now also include structured early learning and pre-academics. Childcare centers generally accept infants up to school-age children with the option of extended care before and after school hours for working parents.
St. Michael the Archangel Catholic School Academy of Angels
723 Sutton Place | 419-423-2738
Educational philosophy: At the center of education at St. Michael the Archangel School in Findlay, Ohio are beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church. St. Michael offers a challenging curriculum steeped in Catholic tradition and conveyed by inventive and dedicated teachers who hold high academic and behavioral standards. They help to develop our next generation of Catholic leaders by developing their faith and providing an atmosphere in which the Gospel message is at the fore. Their educators excel at making these beliefs come alive in themselves and in those whom they teach, while emphasizing a Spirit-filled, faith-based community.
Tours and open houses available: Call for a school tour.
Caregiver or teacher/student ratio: 1:10 or smaller.
Hours of operation: All day Kindergarten readiness: 8am-2:25pm;
Daily activities: Art activities and crafts, story time, science activities, center-based free-play, dramatic play, use of a reading center, development of large and fine motor skills, library, music class, and kids help with cleanup and prayer.
All day Kindergarten readiness attends all school masses for Holy Days of Obligation or special masses.
Nap times? No.
Meals and snacks provided? Children may pack a lunch or purchase one from the cafeteria for the all day Kindergarten readiness. Preschool has daily snacks.
Potty training required? Yes.
6393 Oak Tree Blvd., Independence, OH
Formerly Help Me Grow of Cuyahoga County, Bright Beginnings provides services that promote the health and development of infants and toddlers so children start school healthy and ready to learn. Bright Beginnings works with families to provide programing in the home or a community setting to help children reach milestone goals. Bright Beginnings supports families through the Parents as Teachers program and Early Intervention services in Cuyahoga County, and provides connections to the Help Me Grow system of supports and community resources throughout Ohio
YWCA Child Care Resource and Referral
1018 Jefferson, Toledo | 419-241-3235
Although not a child care center, the YWCA’s Child Care Resource and Referral offers a wide variety of resources to parents and child care workers in Northwest Ohio, helping parents find child care that meets the needs of their individual child. Additionally, the organization offers courses to help strengthen parenting skills. For child care workers, the YWCA assists by helping them with earning Step Up to Quality star ratings, Ohio’s rating initiative geared towards making sure all children receive high quality early childhood education.
Questions to Ask When Visiting/Interviewing Preschools and Daycare Centers
o What does an average day look like?
o Is the curriculum play-based or academic-based or Montessori?
o What kind of support does the school offer for children with special needs?
o Does the center offer half days and/or full days?
o Does the center have early drop off and/or late pick up for working parents?
o Is lunch provided for children who stay a full day?
o Is the location and program a good fit for your child and family?
o What is the adult to child ratio?
o What training/certifications and experience do the teachers hold?
o How long has the school been operating?
o What kind of diversity does the school offer?
o What sets this school apart from others?
o Think about your child’s personality and ask if the school would be a good fit for him/her?
o What is the school’s Step Up to Quality star rating?
o Ask for a parent referral so you can talk about the school from a parent’s perspective.
Types of Preschool and Childcare Options:
Montessori: Montessori, a program developed over 100 years ago by physician and educator Maria Montessori, emphasizes nature, creativity and hands-on learning with gentle guidance from teachers. Students are allowed the freedom and independence to explore in order to develop their character, life skills and academic ability.
Parent Co-ops: Parents are actively involved in the education of their little one and work closely with the classroom teachers. Parents and children learn together in this hands-on approach, teaching cooperation and how to resolve conflict. Some co-ops request daily parent participation while others require classroom visits once a week or once a month.
Play-based: Most preschools are play-based or child-centered, allowing children to choose activities based on their interests. Classrooms typically have multiple play/learning centers, such as a kitchen, science area, sensory table, reading nook, building station, etc, and preschoolers are free to choose their preference. Teachers facilitate play and social interactions so that students can grow in their social and emotional intelligence, which is a key component of preschool.
Academic-based: Teacher-directed preschools lead the students in a structured way to complete the activities the teacher planned for the day. The goal of an academic preschool is to prepare children for the kindergarten setting. Classroom time is devoted to learning letters and sounds, identifying shapes, telling time, and other academic skills.
Signs a Child Might be Ready for Preschool:
Eric Swindel, preschool teacher for Sylvania Schools, explains, “Most preschool programs have an age requirement, and oftentimes, a requirement for students to be potty-trained. A parent should measure whether their child is ready to spend the preschool day away from them and whether [their child is] able to advocate their wants and needs and follow the lead of another adult, knowing that a large part of the preschool teacher’s job is…to create a nurturing environment for the student to develop and showcase these skills.”
“Preschool benefits all children as it allows them to grow and develop skills of advocacy, self-regulation, independence, and social and academic skills,” Eric continues. “Students who are introverted or shy will benefit from experiencing a social environment with others who might be more outgoing.”
Eric adds, “Preschool provides an opportunity to grow self-confidence and the ability for the child to showcase more of a true sense of their personality. My daughter benefitted from two years of preschool and is really thriving in kindergarten due, in large part, to the skills developed from her wonderful preschool teachers!”