Gaithersburg, MD has grown from a small agricultural town into the home of many multi-national corporations. There are 142 state-licensed child care facilities in Gaithersburg that offer a variety of early education programs to the wealthy community of 70,000 residents. The average cost of infant care is $400 per week in centers (over $20,000 per year!) while full-time care or preschool for a 4-year-old will cost parents $295 per week on average in a center (slightly more than $15,000 per year). To find out the average cost of daycare in your zip code, by type of care (home daycare vs. child care center), and for the specific age of your child, click here to use our daycare cost calculator
Gaithersburg is a suburb located Northwest of Washington, D.C. It's divided into East and West sections, with the eastern part of the city being older and more historic and the West being mostly wealthier pre-planned neighborhood and communities. Gaithersburg is known as a "white-collar" city where more than 86% of the population is employed in white collar jobs and the median household income is $85,770. Major employers are corporations like IBM, Lockheed Martin or Sodexo, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
In Maryland, there are more than twice as many family child care homes
as there are child care centers
. Gaithersburg has most of its licensed daycares operating in private homes. Out of the 142 state-licensed early childhood education programs in town, only 38 are center-based. Home-based daycares are often more affordable than centers. In Gaithersburg, the weekly cost of infant care is $280 on average for home daycares while it is $400 per week for centers. For preschoolers, the average cost of full-time care is $230 per week in Homes and $295 in Centers.
For some parents, a home daycare may seem like a riskier option than a child care center or preschool. However, the state of Maryland strictly requires all family child care homes caring for one or more children unrelated to the provider to be licensed. Just like teachers and caregivers in daycare centers, family child care providers are required to have certificate in First-Aid and CPR, as well as emergency and disaster planning, Medication Administration Training (MAT) and 90 clock hour courses (for teachers or directors) under the Code of Maryland Regulations (or COMAR, which contains all the regulations of registered child care facilities in the state.)
There are various types of child care facilities designed to meet specific requirements and preferences. For instance, 43 facilities accommodate children with special needs. Children with a peanut allergy may consider enrolling in any of the 36 peanut-free child care facilities in the city. Foreign language programs are available in 9 bilingual daycares. A number of child care providers in Gaithersburg also follow the NAEYC accreditation standards, which are committed to providing the highest quality, research-based early education.
High quality child care is also available to low-income families through the State's Child Care Scholarship (CCS) Program. Child Care Subsidy Central grants financial assistance to help pay for tuition fees in part or in full in 40 licensed early learning programs in the city. Eligibility criteria for parents include employment, enrollment in an approved training program or school, as well as being prepared to provide a list of identity documents for all members of the household.