For the first few years of your child's life, you may be content to keep them close to you and care for them throughout the day, but you know that eventually, things will change. There must come a time when you let your child experience more time away from the care of their parents. Every child needs to be in full-time schooling by the time that they are six, but in most cases, you will want them to be used to spending time away from you before that. When you are seeking to increase your child's independence, then you might think about sending them to a childcare centre or enrolling them in a kindergarten program. Some parents treat these things as if they were interchangeable, but in fact, they are quite different. It is important that you understand how they work so that you can make the right choices for your child.
How does attendance at kindergarten differ from a childcare centre?
One of the most obvious differences that children will notice between a kindergarten and a childcare centre is the hours they attend the venue. Attendance at a childcare centre is often planned to fit around the needs of the parents. Your child might attend only one day a week, or you might need them to attend the centre for an extended period each day to allow you to fit in a full-time job. With a kindergarten program, your child will attend every day for the same period of time.
Continuity of teaching
At a childcare centre, the focus, for at least some of the time, will be predominantly on taking care of the child and keeping them busy. However, at a kindergarten, the focus will be on education with an established curriculum. The same teaching staff will work with your child every day to help them learn and ensure that they have a solid foundation established by the time they start school.
If you are paying for your child to attend a childcare centre, then it may surprise you to know that the cost of kindergarten is often cheaper than the cost of the childcare centre. Additionally, in many cases, you will find that you may be eligible for a funded kindergarten program where the government will cover the cost of the kindergarten. To discover whether you meet the eligibility requirements, you will need to check with your kindergarten and see what they are able to offer you.