Daycare vs. Learning Center: What is the Difference?


Daycare vs. Learning Center: What is the Difference?

daycare vs learning center

If you’re the parent of a young child, you probably know that each day is full of decisions, both big and small. Each day, you choose what your child wears, eats, plays with, and who cares for them.

One of the most important decisions you can make for your young child is the choice to send them to a daycare or preschool. Young children need lots of care, nurturing, and enrichment, and finding an appropriate program to meet their needs is essential.

Many parents find themselves faced with the decision between sending their child to a learning center or a daycare. These terms can be confusing. So, what is the difference between daycare vs. learning center?

This article will explore the qualities of daycare and learning centers. Understanding the differences between these two types of early childhood programs can help you make the best choice for your child’s needs.

Reach out to the dedicated educators at New Horizons Learning Center now to explore our incredible programs or to schedule a visit to our school.

Daycare vs. Learning Center: What are the Differences?

Many people use the terms ‘daycare’ and ‘learning center’ interchangeably. However, there are some significant differences between these types of childhood programs that are important to understand.

Learning centers

Learning centers like New Horizons offer high-quality early childhood education programs that use an evidence-based curriculum and time-tested methods. The curriculum at New Horizons focuses on preparing children for kindergarten and beyond by providing developmentally appropriate educational activities at every stage.

The curriculum at learning centers like New Horizons has two primary aspects: literacy and social skills. At every stage of our programs, children are introduced to new concepts through hands-on learning activities, play, and instruction from qualified, nurturing educators.

In a learning center, you’ll find:

  • Regular schedules
  • Evidence-based curriculum
  • Welcoming environments
  • Dedicated, qualified educators
  • Inviting outdoor play areas
  • Varied programs to meet children’s needs as they grow

Learning centers offer structured schedules that allow children to learn how to follow a school routine. The daily schedule includes time for play, child-led exploration, outdoor recreation, meals, teacher-led educational activities, and transitions between activities.


Daycares typically provide safe, nurturing care for infants and young children without a heavy focus on academic preparation. Daycares offer a looser schedule with longer periods of free play and unstructured time than a learning center.

Daycare centers are often open for extended hours to accommodate parent’s work schedules. Children may spend entire days at a daycare center.

Some daycare programs may provide “preschool” programs to children ages 3-5. Some of these programs follow a formal curriculum, and some do not.

Daycare and learning centers both provide care for young children but often have a different approach to early childhood education. Learning centers like New Horizons can help children develop an excellent foundation of skills and knowledge that will help them have a successful transition into kindergarten.

There are similar licensing requirements for daycares and learning centers, and both provide safe care and supervision for young children.

Daycare vs. Learning Center: Which One is Right For My Child?

Once you begin your search for high-quality childcare, you may feel overwhelmed. There are so many options for both daycare and learning center programs. So, how can you feel confident in your decision between daycare vs. learning center?

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing childcare for your young child.


First, finding a daycare or learning center that offers care on the schedule you need is crucial. You’re more likely to feel good about your choice if the program fits your needs. Call the center or visit the website for information on operating hours, holiday breaks, etc.

Educational needs

Young children are like sponges for new information, and research shows their brains grow and develop the fastest between birth and five years old. Learning centers provide an enriching curriculum that focuses on helping children establish great pre-literacy and social skills.

Children who begin kindergarten with a foundation of educational and social skills often have better outcomes in kindergarten and beyond. Consider searching for a learning center that can offer high-quality educational experiences at every stage of your child’s growth and development.

Your preferences

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Research local daycare and learning center programs by reading information online, searching for unbiased reviews, and asking friends and family members for recommendations.

Visit the centers. Ask about their schedule, educational philosophies, discipline policies, and more. The more you know about the care, education, and experiences children receive in each center, the easier it will be for you to make the best choice for your child.

Find a Learning Center in New Port Richey

If you have a young child and are looking for a learning center that offers high-quality enrichment in a nurturing environment, contact the team at New Horizons to explore our programs. We would love to welcome you and your child to visit our incredible center.

Contact us now to learn more or to set up a site visit.

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