When making the decision of childcare for your children, you are faced with two basic choices: home-based childcare and center-based childcare. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one and the ultimate decision comes down to which one is best for you and your child because each family is unique.
Home-based childcare centers are operated out of a private home. The owner normally serves multiple roles such as director, teacher, food preparation and cleanup crew. Some home-based programs employ other adult workers as well. The home may have a separate section for the childcare area or it may include the whole home. The center may provide basic care or it may use a childcare curriculum for educational purposes.
Some advantages to home-based childcare are:
- Smaller class size
- More one-on-one attention
- Family like environment
- Mixed age groups offers socialization between siblings
- May provide more flexibility
Some disadvantages to home-based childcare are:
- Caregivers may not have additional education/certification as required by larger centers.
- May not have substitute caregivers – if the owner is sick, the center is closed.
- Less resources
- May watch more T.V.
Center-based childcare centers are commercial businesses that may be independent or part of a chain of centers. They may be for-profit or non-profit. They might be publicly or federally funded. There are many varieties in center-based as in home-based. They tend to be located in a larger structure and have more employees than home-based centers. The caregivers may be very specialized in the roles they provide. Most adopt a standardized form of curriculum.
Some advantages of center-based childcare are:
- More resources and supplies
- Teachers may have more education and be certified in specific age groups.
- More socialization
- School like environment to ready them for formal schooling.
- May have more educational enrichment activities such as field-trips and guest speakers.
Some disadvantages of center-based childcare are:
- Less one-on-one time with caregivers
- May be exposed to more illnesses/sick more often
- Some are more expensive than home-based centers
- Less flexibility with hours of operation
The most important thing is that you choose a quality childcare alternative. With either option, it’s best to choose a licensed care facility with low teacher to student ratios and that provides a positive/educational environment. The choice is yours.