Early Learning Center

People often mistake early learning centers for daycares. While they certainly share similarities, an early learning center or early education center might provide more than daycare centers when it comes to ready-for-school curriculum, individualized care plans, highly trained teachers, and more.


Read on for more information on early learning centers.

Children playing in Early Learning Center

What is an Early Learning Center?

An early learning center is a child care solution focused on early education. This type of program helps children develop a love for learning, focuses on all areas of development, and prepares them for kindergarten and all the big steps ahead. 

11 Benefits of Early Learning Centers

What will children gain from attending an early learning center? Engaging educational experiences, nurturing relationships, the skills they need for future success, and more. Here are 11 benefits:

Children learn about themselves — their interests and preferences, personal characteristics, and more — and gain a better understanding of who they are.


Self-confidence is another thing children will develop in an early learning program. They’ll have time and space to practice new skills and discover their abilities, and experienced and nurturing teachers who encourage and cheer on exciting milestones.

Social-Emotional Skills

An early learning center will open the door to social-emotional development at an early age. No matter your child’s age when you enroll, they will benefit from being around their peers and caregivers each day — they’ll learn how to regulate their emotions, build relationships, care for others, and, when they’re older, take turns, show empathy, collaborate, and more.


When your child is enrolled in an early learning center, exposure to visual and creative arts and encouragement for creative expression starts on day one. Your child will have opportunities to experience the arts daily — storytelling, painting, coloring, making music, dancing, engaging in dramatic play, and more.

Wellness Habits

Children have the opportunity to try new foods alongside their peers — often through family-style dining. When an early learning center provides meals and snacks, they often include healthy items. Even if your child doesn’t try fruits and vegetables at home, they might be more willing to do so at school when others around them are eating the same food. 

Communication and Problem-Solving Skills

Being around others — children and caregivers — will help your child learn to communicate their needs and wants; teachers will also help them determine what to do when there’s a conflict or disagreement.

Fine and Gross Motor Skills

From learning to roll and walk, to developing the pincer grasp and learning to run and jump, to learning to write, use scissors, and so much more, your child will build fine and gross motor skills at every stage in their early learning center. 

Eagerness to Learn

Children’s natural curiosity leads to exploration and new discoveries, and a positive early education experience lays the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. 

Math Concepts

An early learning center will likely have a curriculum that touches on patterns, shapes, numbers, measuring, and mathematical thinking — math concepts for every age group.

Early Literacy

Children are exposed to books daily — early learning centers often have storytime in each classroom, a bookshelf that’s available at any time, and additional reading activities. 

Listening and Vocabulary

Last but not least, your child will learn so many new words (and how to use them correctly), converse with peers and adults, and listen when others are speaking. 

What is the Difference Between a Daycare and an Early Learning Center?

A daycare center emphasizes child care; an early learning center focuses on early education and enriching academic experiences in a child care setting. 
Daycare centers may offer drop-in day care, but that likely wouldn’t be an option at most early learning centers.


What is the purpose of early learning centers?

An early learning center is a designated program where students are given interesting and exciting educational opportunities. Early learning centers are often filled with art materials, instructional toys, manipulatives, books, and more to help engage and stimulate students’ minds.

Is early learning the same as preschool?


Early learning extends past preschool, but it certainly includes the preschool years. The term “early learning” is rather broad, and can describe any form of educational program a young child (ages 0 – 8) may experience.

Can I put my 3-year-old in preschool?

Are you wondering what age a child should go to preschool? Is 3 years old too early? If they turn 4 before a certain point in the school year, are they still eligible to attend? Discuss your child’s birthday and their preschool possibilities with the early learning centers and preschool programs in your area.

What is considered early learning?

Early learning — or early education — refers to education for children ages 0 – 8. Early learning starts on day one, but an early learning center or a daycare center can help expand your child’s knowledge and offer enriching experiences. 

At what age is kindergarten?

Typically, a child must be 5 years old by late summer or early fall in order to enroll in kindergarten for the coming school year. The exact cut-off date varies by state, so be sure to check on age requirements in your area.
mother holding child

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Bright Horizons is a United States–based child-care provider and is the largest provider of employer-sponsored child care. Employees looking to become a child care teacher are offered the opportunity to earn an early education degree for free as part of their corporate benefits. Search by zip to find a child care center near you. Bright Horizons Global Headquarters are in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.