5 Differences Between In Home ChildCare and a Daycare Center

Are you a new parent struggling with the decision between a home-based childcare option versus a daycare center? Here are some things to think about as you consider that decision on daycares near me.

1.     Home vs. Center Building: 

In-home care is often a popular option for families who prefer a home setting, explains Penny Lupo, a licensed counselor who has 10 years of experience in childcare.  In many cases families choose these options for infants or toddlers due to the wish to have the child in a home setting rather than a group setting.   Other families prefer the daycare center with security door and director oversight.  

2.     Openings: 

There is also often a shortage in openings for children under 3 years old in a childcare center due to the higher cost of providing daycare services for infants and toddlers.  Costs can exceed $15,000 per year in Central New York depending on the center, and waiting lists can begin 8 months before the child is born in certain Syracuse and Oswego locations!  Some parents prefer 1 location for all siblings, including before- and after-school care as they grow.

3.     Age Groups: 

Home daycare is a choice for people that want that “home feel” and don’t mind their child being in a mixed age group.  Home daycares often do a lot of educational activities, however the wide variety of materials found in center based care are not always present due to lack of space or cost.  High quality daycare centers are often curriculum focused and highly structured, with a daily schedule and planned developmentally appropriate lessons for the specific age group.   Educationally enriched curriculum encourages literacy, language development, social and emotional development in children.  For example, toddlers at Little Lukes may learn about colors during a sensory activity around the week’s theme of animals.

4.     Schedules: 

It may be possible to find a home daycare provider that has a more flexible schedule for families that need non-traditional hours of care.  Having a home-based daycare can be a challenge when the provider is sick, has appointments, or vacation plans.  Childcare centers have substitute teachers available to provide care year-round.  Childcare centers and Home daycares are often closed on major holidays and weekends and have specific set hours each week.   Little Lukes Preschool & Childcare Center in Oswego, Fulton, Radisson and Dewitt is open 6:30am-6:30pm on weekdays, and closed on 7 observed holidays.  Pulaski Little Lukes Preschool & Childcare Center is open 6am-6pm and closed on 7 observed holidays.

5.     Regulations: 

Home daycares and center-based daycares are required to be licensed by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and also required to get continued training.  There are safety limits on the number of children in care for each age group and per adult in both home based and center based daycares.  Childcare centers often require a minimum of a CDA or Associate's degree to be employed as a lead teacher in the classroom.  Group sizes follow the OCFS standards and most children are cared for by more than one adult while parents are at work.  Be sure to ask home-based daycares about their OCFS license.  Ask the center director about the education level of lead teacher and TA in the classroom.

Choosing Between Daycares Near Me 

With so many areas to consider, be sure to start your childcare search early.  Interview each provider and take a tour.  Before finalizing your enrollment, tour at a different time of day to see the environment and ask plenty of questions.   

Penny Lupo has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and worked in childcare for more than ten years as a preschool teacher, program coordinator and center director.  She also has a master’s degree in mental health counseling, license from NYS as a mental health counselor, and is certified by National Institute for Relationship Enhancement as a play therapist.  Penny currently works as a counselor with Integrative Counseling Services in Oswego NY. 

Many parents struggle with Choosing a Childcare Near Me in Oswego, Syracuse, Baldwinsville, Fulton and Pulaski NY.  For more information on choosing a Central New York center-based childcare center near you, visit www.littlelukes.com and click Schedule a Tour. 

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