Junior Kindergarten vs Daycare: What’s the Difference?
Some parents think that full-day daycare and half-day junior kindergarten or preschool programs are very different. Why is daycare often viewed as babysitting, while preschool or junior kindergarten are viewed as providing kindergarten readiness? The reality is that both programs provide similar programming.
In British Columbia, both full- and part-time child care settings are licensed under the Ministry of Health Community Care Facilities Child Care Licensing Branch, and must meet rigid standards for staff training and qualifications, programming, environment, supervision, group size, child to staff ratios, nutrition, health and safety. All licensed programs should be providing programming that meets the learning goals in BC's Early Learning Framework, providing experiences that encourage development in 4 areas of early learning: Exploration and Creativity, Well-Being and Belonging, Languages and Literacies, and Social Responsibility and Diversity.
Parents seeking childcare should choose full or half-day programs according to their own needs.
The philosophy of the centre should match the beliefs of the parents. A high-quality program will follow a regular schedule of activities. The activities should match the developmental abilities of the children and promote all areas of child development. The environment should be interesting and challenging, yet safe. There will be a proper ratio of qualified adults to children, and the staff will work with the children in a caring, consistent fashion. Staff members should also model appropriate behaviours, and nurture self-esteem.
At the Salmo Children’s Centre, the educators in the half-day junior kindergarten and the full-day daycare provide education in a nurturing environment that meets the needs of the children. In both programs, we stress social, emotional and physical growth, and try not to get caught up in thinking that we need to provide academic activities in a structured, school-like way. The educators avoid the stereotype of providing only custodial care, by creating opportunities for learning through play and social interaction and providing materials and activities that enhance all areas of development. The educators realize that when a child is physically, socially and emotionally ready, and are in an environment that is rich with language, positive relationships and appropriate materials, cognitive (academic) growth will happen.
Junior kindergarten and daycare schedules are very similar, but the daycare schedule will include an afternoon quiet time. The daycare also repeats aspects of the morning schedule in the afternoon (outside play, snack, stories, etc). The only real difference between the two settings is that the junior kindergarten children stay for only a few hours, while children in the daycare arrive and leave according to their parents' work schedules. Qualification requirements of the staff are the same in both programs.
The goal of the entire childcare community is to provide children with safe, loving places to learn and grow. Early Childhood Educators have risen to this challenge and are proud of our dedication, professionalism and insight into the needs of young children.
We encourage parents to choose either a full-day daycare program, or a half-day junior kindergarten program, whichever suits your family’s needs.