Childcare vs. Preschool

We often get questions about the differences between Childcare and Preschool. Although both programs are located at SPARK Discovery Preschool, they are separate and unique in many ways.

Here are the most common questions we hear:

What is "Wrap Around"?

          Wrap Around refers to childcare that "wraps around"  a child's school day. We offer childcare from 7:00am - 6:00pm M-F. Most SPARK! Preschool classes run 2 hours 40 minutes, 2, 3 or 4 days a week. Wrap Around childcare is available for the time that your child is not in class.

Is my child automatically enrolled in childcare with preschool?

        No- Preschool and childcare each have their own enrollment process and  paperwork. If you are in need of Wrap Around childcare in addition to preschool, you must fill out BOTH sets of registration information and pay a registration fee for each (Preschool $65 Childcare $50)

Can I pay for Preschool and Childcare together?

         No- Preschool and childcare fall under different district departments and use two different payment systems and different accounting. Preschool and childcare must be paid separately.

Is there childcare available when school is out?

      Yes- Childcare offers several "non-school days" during the year, as there is demand. There are days offered during holiday breaks as well as teacher inservice days and other non-student contact days. These day are billed separately than regular tuition and children must be registered for these "extra" days. We also offer a Summer Camp.

Do I have to enroll my child in childcare?

        No-Childcare is an optional service we provide here at SPARK! for families that work full time or need extra care.

Can my child attend childcare on the days they do not have preschool?

      Yes- Childcare tuition rates are based on whether your child is enrolled in one of SPARK's preschool programs or not, however your child does not have to follow their preschool day schedule. You may have a child in 3 day preschool  but need 5 day childcare, as long as the child is enrolled in any preschool program, they may attend any childcare days at the"enrolled" student rate.

Can I enroll my child in childcare only?

        Sometimes- SPARK! Discovery Preschool has about 335 preschool students enrolled in it's preschool programs. Because we can only accommodate about 20% of our school population we try to limit the number of non-preschool students in childcare. Non-preschool enrollment will be handled on a case by case basis.

Who is "in charge" of childcare?

        Stacey Petering is the Community School Site Manager and oversees the childcare program, staff, enrollment, and billing. Paige Gordon, Administrator at Spark! Discovery Preschool, and Stacey work collaboratively to provide high-quality learning environments in every classroom at Spark.

Why should I enroll my child in preschool and not just childcare?

         Education- SPARK! Discovery Preschool is a one-of a kind , innovative preschool that offers a STEM focused preschool education. SPARK! Preschool uses assessment and tracking tools to help teachers understand and better teach the children in their class. Teachers follow "kindergarten ready" standards and help children learn the skills they will need to be life long learners. We are committed to supporting the learning of preschool in our childcare settings too. If you are in need of fulltime placement for your child we strongly encourage both a preschool class and Wrap Around childcare.

What is the difference between Childcare and Preschool?

Childcare

Childcare is a way for working parents to have their children taken care of during the day. Childcare centers can start care with babies as young as 6 weeks old and have separate rooms of children of different ages, such as infant, toddlers, preschool, and kindergarten aged children. These programs are licensed and inspected by the state. They are typically open all year long, during business hours.

At Spark! Discovery Preschool, our Wrap Around childcare program fulfills this role. Kathie Tone is our Program Manager. Our program is available to children ages 3-5 and serves as childcare for children outside our normal preschool hours. Childcare is open from 7 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, and at times is open when preschool is traditionally closed. This is a tuition-based program, and we also accept Colorado Child Care Assistance Program. Wrap Around childcare programming offers:

  • A routine schedule including: learning through play and center-based activities, science, mathematics, language arts, circle time, crafts, fine/gross motor development, rest time, recess, a hot-or-cold-lunch option, snacks, and individual/small/large group lessons.

  • Offer enrichment activities to enhance academics offered in preschool class and activities

Preschool

Preschool is an early-childhood experience offered for a variety of 3 and 4 year olds, including typically developing children, children with special needs, and children with families that qualify for scholarships or the Colorado Preschool Program., is designed to promote kindergarten readiness. Usually preschool is offered on a part-time basis from August to May. These programs are also licensed and inspected by the state.

At Spark! Discovery Preschool, our preschool classes fulfill this role. Our preschool programs include:

  • Tuesday and Thursday AM sessions for 3 year olds

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday AM sessions for 3-4 year olds

  • Monday – Thursday AM or PM sessions for 3-4 year olds

Our preschool teachers all have at least a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education, and many of them have a Masters Degree in areas such as Special Education for Birth to Age 8, Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education, or in Early Literacy.

Standards-Based learning and teaching programs are primary teaching resources in preschool. Creative Curriculum®, is used to create a learning environment that supports learning through play and discovery in a variety of interest centers. This curriculum also helps teachers develop appropriate small and large group activities to enhance child development. Units of Study, including STEM units of study(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), are integrated throughout the school year. Each child’s progress is observed and documented during three assessment periods through the GOLD Assessment® in all developmental and content areas: Social-Emotional, Physical-Gross Motor, Physical-Fine Motor, Language, Cognitive, Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and the Arts. These reports are shared during Parent-Teacher Conferences, as an School Readiness Plan and an Individual Literacy Plan is developed for each child. A quality early childhood experience includes a valued partnership between the school and family. Our program is family focused and facilitates child learning in all developmental areas. See separate STEM handouts for additional information on STEM based learning and programming.