Daycare only vs. 1 year preschool before TK
My 20 month old is in an at home daycare and loves it. My older son went to the same daycare until he was 3.5 (also loved it) and is now doing preschool for 2 years before kindergarten (he didn’t make the TK cutoff). My 20 month old will be able to do TK so I am debating keeping him in his daycare until it’s time for TK or doing preschool for 1 year before it’s time for TK. Having done both daycare and preschool with my kids I see the benefits of both. Our family speaks Spanish and they speak Spanish at both the daycare and my older son’s preschool but it’s very clear that the preschool is where my older son really started learning more because it’s full immersion. They speak a lot of English too at daycare so I know he wouldn’t have learned as much had he started there. I think preschool has been great for my older son. A few of the pros have been being in a group of just his peers, gaining more confidence, getting ready for what kindergarten will be like. The calendar at the preschool is also good with not too much time off at any point in the year. On the other hand, I like how the daycare is more relaxed and flexible. The teachers there are extremely loving and warm. The teachers at the preschool are great but it’s a bit more serious. My younger son is strong willed and mischievous. I’m wondering if staying in daycare might be a better fit for him than a somewhat rigid/serious environment. They have fun at the preschool but it’s more like kindergarten. At the same time, I want him to be ready for TK. The daycare has a long July break which is hard for us to deal with, but we’ve made it work this far. It’s also more expensive than the immersion preschools I’ve been looking at, and tuition is going up yet again this fall. I’m touring a different preschool this week, but there are so many breaks throughout the year and they have a month off during the summer so it just sounds so hard to deal with.
So, for those who have done both and/or for those with strong willed kids-which environment is better? My older son had great friends in daycare and I know was more comfortable at his daycare bc he had been there since before he was 2. He likes his preschool and I know it was the better choice to move him bc all his daycare peers could do TK and he can’t so they have all left at this point and he would have been the one big kid left for a year. But my younger son has multiple friends at daycare who are about the same age and the families plan to stay until TK. In the long run, I know it’s not going to make or break anything but I’m making myself crazy going back and forth so I thought it could be good to hear from others. Thanks!