Starting a Daycare or Preschool?

When it comes to deciding between starting a daycare or a preschool there are a few things to keep in mind.  Not only are the start-up costs different in each business, but the benefits are different as well.

Ages of Children

  • If you go the DAYCARE route, you’ll want to accept children from birth until school age.   If you love babies and snuggles, this is definitely the path to take.  Some caregivers feel a stronger connection to the younger infants and toddler stages.  Often, grandmothers whose children are grown enjoy taking care of and loving these little ones.
  • If you go the PRESCHOOL route, you’ll typically teach children between the ages of 3-5.  Often, you might extend that age group to include “Independent Almost 3 Year Olds” who are potty trained and separate from their parents easily.  If you enjoy watching children’s eyes light up when they grasp a new concept, and when they make new friends, then a preschool is definitely the right path for you!


  • Inside a DAYCARE, you’ll see a more relaxed form of structure.  After all, you’ll be watching children all day, so you want to schedule lots of activities stretched throughout the day.  Activities generally last for longer periods of time (i.e. 2-3 hours of free play).  If you feel you don’t like to act like a teacher, directing the whole group of children for a lesson, then perhaps starting a daycare might be better for you because you’ll be able to offer more 1-on-1 teaching opportunities during your longer days.
  • Inside a PRESCHOOL, you’ll see a well-thought out schedule with lesson plans designed to teach specific concepts during a short period of time.  Because parents are paying you specifically to help their child get ready for Kindergarten and be social, you’ll want to make sure you help each student achieve attainable goals during their 9-month period in your class.

Licensing and Accreditation

  • With both a PRESCHOOL and a DAYCARE, you’ll go through similar licensing and accreditation requirements.

As with any choice, continue to do your research to determine which business model is best for you.  Each has its own benefits, so weigh all of the pros and cons as you see them so you’ll be able to make a decision that is going to best fit your needs and the needs of any future children you will be working with.  And as always, if you decide that starting a daycare isn’t the right move for you at this time, be sure to learn more about a preschool business here.

About the Author

Joy Anderson

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Preschool expert Joy Anderson is the creator of Preschool In A Box, the complete business kit to help women start preschools in their homes. She is the founder of the home preschool model and has helped thousands of women create a supplemental or full-time income by simply teaching preschool classes to 3- to 5-year-olds for a few hours each day. She still runs her own wildly successful preschool and can often be found running after her five children and husband in Boise, Idaho.

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