Which Type of Preschool is Best for You?

Home Daycare vs. Preschool

Q. My 3-year-old goes to a home daycare while we work, and she's happy there. But I keep wondering whether we should enroll her in a school or a larger center to give her more of a preschool experience.

A. It really depends on the program, says Amy Flynn, director of the Family Center at Bank Street College of Education in New York City. "If your child has a loving provider who's committed to doing age-appropriate activities with the kids, that's probably fine." It's helpful if the program has other preschool-age children there for your daughter to practice taking turns and sharing with. The home should also have the same kinds of simple materials -- blocks, costumes, art supplies -- you'd see in a preschool classroom.

But as you suspect, sending your daughter to a preschool or daycare center will give her some experience with being part of a larger group, which in turn will help her prepare for kindergarten. As a compromise, if it's practical, you might consider sending your child to a preschool program in the mornings, then back to her home daycare in the afternoons.

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