I have been asked what a family daycare is and what is the difference between family and group daycare. There is a HUGE difference. I have worked in what is called a “group” childcare facility.
Group daycare centers are licensed for 9 or more children and there are different rules and limitations on the teacher to child ratios. For example…if you are an infant teacher, you could be responsible for the care of up to 4 infants by yourself. If there are two teachers in the room, you could have 8 infants to care for! As the children become older, the ratios decrease and the teacher can care for more children. Personally I have worked in each and every age group or “room”. I felt that the infant room was like an assembly line and they never received the one-on-one they deserved. Imagine feeding a baby and another baby starts to cry? You can’t stop feeding the baby right? You could not prop the bottles in the child’s mouth…nor should you be allowed to. Trust me, I know all the rules for all the ages.
Family daycare is licensed for no more than 8. There is usually only one teacher/caregiver. The child doesn’t have to worry about getting switched to a different room when he/she has a birthday. Family daycare is less structured and less institutional. Since the daycare is in a home, there is more of a comfort level. However, there is a tendency to regard these childcare providers as babysitters. We are required to obtain Early Childhood training and education as well as to remain current on Continuing Education. We educate our children just like any other daycare center with the goal of preparing the child for kindergarten. Our main challenge is the mixed age-group setting. However, this setting can also be a blessing. Children learn to work together, care for one another and nurture each other.
If you have questions about either group daycare or family daycare, please ask. I will try to provide an unbiased opinion. I would also be willing to visit a group daycare center with you, should you decide that this is the route for you and our child. We all want our children to grow up and be happy, healthy and well-adjusted individuals. I know what to look for in a group daycare. If you sincerely feel a larger facility will better meet your needs, let me help make sure you are choosing a good center.