Difference between Preschool and Daycare

Key difference: Preschool is the preparatory education provided to children between the ages of three and five that introduces them to the environment of school education. Daycare means the act of a child being looked after by a person, in absence of the child’s parent or legal guardian.

Preschool, as the name suggests, is the education that precedes school education. Preschool is also known by different terms such as Playgroup, Kindergarten or Nursery, across various countries in the world. Children in Preschool are taught the basics of education, along with intermittent fun activities such as games and art. Some governments are known to provide handsome subsidies to the masses, in order to supplement the Preschool educational system in their countries.

Daycare takes place when the parent or the legal custodian of a child is unable to take adequate care of it, due to his/her work commitments etc. Day care is also known as Child care or Creche in many countries. Since the child has to be taken care of during daytime, the term ‘Daycare’ was coined. Daycare basically stresses on the well-being of the child, which is why activities like playing, watching TV or sleeping, form an integral part of daycare. Daycare may or may not include a little amount of formal education as well.

Comparison between Preschool and Daycare:




Age group

3 – 5

Toddlers to Elementary school


Education is the mainstay of this system

A child may or may not be taught in this system

Main Purpose

Educating the children

Looking after the children


Governments in some countries often subsidize preschool education

No such subsidies are provided. The parent/guardian has to bear the cost

Preschool Vs Daycare

Preschool can be a part of Daycare, but Daycare cannot be a part of Preschool

Daycare can include Preschool, but Preschool can never include Daycare


Like school, teachers essay the role of the supervisors here

A specially designated nanny or extended family members such as grandparents, uncles or aunts, take care of the child


Preschool lasts a few hours

Daycare lasts till the parent/guardian of the child arrives to take it home

Image courtesy: examiner.com, yummymummyclub.ca

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