What’s the difference between childcare and kindergarten?

Both childcare and kindergarten are important when it comes to a child’s development. However, there is one main difference between the two that will be discussed in this blog post. In general, kindergartens provide more academic instruction than daycare centers do.

While both institutions teach children how to socialize with peers, they each have their own set of goals for their students. Kindergarteners spend most of their time learning outside of playtime while daycare kids learn through playing in order to better prepare them for school in the future.

Here are 4 key differences between childcare and kindergarten:

1. Age Group

Daycare centers are made for children in the infant stages of life. Infants need to learn how to socialize in order to become well-adapted members of society when they get older. They’ll be introduced to animals, toys, and other children in an encouraging environment that helps them develop healthy relationships with others.

Kindergartens are usually made for children ages 3 to 6. These kids will learn how to better communicate, share, and get along with others in an interactive learning environment that includes age-appropriate activities like art projects and singing songs.

2. Curriculum

One of the main differences between childcare and kindergarten is what they’re teaching the kids. Daycare centers are more concerned with social development while kindergartens are focused on promoting academic ability in the future.

These institutions each have their own curriculum, so they’ll both teach children different things. Daycare students will participate in activities that help them learn how to get along with others and build healthy relationships, while kindergarteners will be taught important skills like numbers, letter recognition, and language development. In both of these institutions, how the curriculum is run can be efficiently managed using all in one childcare management app.

3. Caregiver-to-Child Ratio

The caregiver-to-child ratio differs between these two institutions as well. Daycare centers are typically concerned with the child to caretaker ratio within their facility while kindergarten will leave this aspect out of its curriculum entirely.

Childcare also has a higher child to caretaker ratio than kindergarten, so more attention will be paid to each student. The caregiver-to-child ratio is usually 1:3 in childcare while it’ll vary between 1:6 and 1:12 at kindergarten. This difference often affects the skill level of students as well.

In childcare, the amount of caretakers is much higher than in kindergarten. This makes for a better environment to learn from because children will have direct access to a teacher at all times. It’ll be harder for kindergarten students to get individualized attention when they’re in a classroom with 30 other kids.

4. Learning Curves

Because childcare and kindergarten focus on different aspects of development, it’s natural their curriculums vary as well. The following learning curves are often seen in these institutions:

Childcare focuses more on socialization and how to function within a group than at kindergarten, so students will learn the basics of sharing and getting along with one another before learning about academic development.

Kindergartens will spend a good amount of time helping children learn social skills, but it’s not their main focus. They’ll focus more on teaching students how to communicate and share when they get older so that by the time they reach school, their basic learning curves have been covered.


Whether you’re a preschool teacher, daycare provider, or parent seeking the best education for your child, it’s important to know what type of childcare and kindergarten setting is right for them. Though they may seem like one in the same thing at first glance, there are some differences between these two types of school settings as discussed.