There are differences in Day-care and Pre-schools, when I was looking the most obvious was cost, Day cares can be a little more expensive because the hours are longer, regardless if you have you child their from opening to closing, or 9-3 the rate is the same. Day Cares do have a pre-school program so they do get the same opp
Best is to find all the ones in your area, and compare them, look for:
cost - check if they charge on public holidays/days off
hours - some stay open during school holidays
food - bring your own or catered for
naps - some centers dont have naps
toilet training - some pre-schools want your child toilet trained or at least starting
are the accredited ?
Best thing is to go in and see if you like it, and ask other people who may have there child at that center.
My son started at 2.5 and all my local pre-schools only took 3-6 year olds, I didn't want to hold him back a year so I went for a day care center, he started in their toddler room, once he was toilet trained and 3 he went into the 3-4yr old room. You just have to find whats best for you and your child.
Jo, Sydney mama of 2 boys