Types of Child Care in Virginia

Preschool Programs

Head Start or Early Head Start Programs

School-Aged Programs

Home-based care is an option for families who prefer a more intimate, home-like setting for their children. Family day home providers are a type of home-based care where children are cared for in the provider’s home. This is the most common type of child care in the United States. It offers flexible hours that can better suit a family’s needs and a mixed-age group of children, which can be beneficial for families with children of different ages.

      • Financial assistance: Many centers offer scholarships or sliding-scale tuition based on income, making quality care more affordable.

      • Substitutes on staff: Centers have protocols in place for when teachers are sick, ensuring continuity of care.

      • Ample supervision: With low child-to-staff ratios, centers can closely monitor children’s safety and well-being.

      • Socialization opportunities: Children interact with a larger group of peers and multiple teachers, fostering diverse friendships.

      • Structured environment: Centers provide a consistent routine and curriculum, promoting healthy development and learning.

      • Age-appropriate activities: They offer specialized experiences and resources tailored to each developmental stage.

      • Dedicated equipment: Centers have the space and supplies necessary for exploration and play.

      • Impersonal setting: With larger groups and less individual attention, some children may feel less nurtured.

      • Less 1-on-1 time: While caregiver-child ratios are regulated, there’s still less focused interaction compared to home care.

      • Difficulty finding care: Centers that accept infants are limited and often have long waiting lists.

      • Rigid scheduling: Drop-off and pick-up times are fixed, which may not align with some families’ needs.

      • Increased illness: In larger groups, contagious illnesses spread more easily.

      • Closed during holidays: Centers often have set breaks, which may not align with family vacations.

      • Staff turnover: High staff turnover can disrupt consistency and create challenges for children and families.

Family Day Homes

      • Flexible hours: Family day homes can adjust their schedule to match your family’s needs, providing greater convenience.

      • Home-like environment: The familiar setting can ease the transition for young children and promote comfort.

      • Close teacher-child bond: With one caregiver for multiple children, relationships can form more deeply.

      • Accommodates mixed ages: Family day homes can care for children of different ages within the same family, promoting sibling interactions.

      • Potential for customization: Each child’s needs can be addressed more individually compared to a center setting.

      • Limited backup: If the home provider is unavailable, there may be no immediate substitute, creating a potential care gap.

      • Lack of oversight: Family day home providers typically work alone and may not have regular on-site supervision, which can be a concern for some parents.

      • Shared resources: Equipment, toys, and space may be used for multiple purposes, potentially leading to wear and tear.