Many people, especially parents, might sometimes feel overwhelmed by the term’s ‘preschool’ and ‘nursery’ through no fault of their own. After all, they seem synonymous to each other in the larger context of the educational framework. But it turns out that they are unique and different.
In this blog, we have uncovered the differences between both preschool and nursery school education. But before we do, let us look at what they are, their similarities, and their differences.
What is Preschool?
Also known as pre-primary school, a preschool refers to the education stage between nursery and primary school that every student is required to attend. Viewed in this order, a child must first participate in nursery school, followed by preschool, and then move on to primary school and other school levels.
The term ‘pre’ in preschool refers to the early childhood education that a student must attain before they have to attend compulsory formal school education in class 1. A preschool’s goal is to prepare a student and make them ‘fit’ for formal education.
Both government and private schools offer preschool in the form of kindergarten education.
Preschools in some schools can mean kindergarten only. On the contrary, preschool education at preschools in Ahmedabad includes nursery, KG-1 and KG-2. Students in the age group of 3-5 years are generally required to attend preschool. These age group criteria may vary from country to country.
In preschool, a child is trained how to stay away from home for prolonged periods. Most importantly, a child is taught the alphabets and basic numerical. They are taught how to color and do basic activities like build blocks, play games, and interact with their peers. The idea is to train children in the art of communication to make it easier for them to fit into a formal school environment.
What is a Nursery School?
A nursery school refers to the stage before kindergarten school, where children are taught very basic fundamental things. The idea is to acquaint them with the idea of staying away from parents for a prolonged time. Depending on the country you are in or the type of facilities that a nursery school offers, children as young as 18 months might be allowed in a nursery school.
So in some ways, we should not think of nursery school as a ‘school’ in the strict sense as conventional teaching does not happen here. Instead, highly skilled educators with a relevant degree and experience are hired to supervise young children in child play.
Similarities between a Preschool and a Nursery School:
Contrary to popular opinion, a preschool and a nursery school might have more similarities than you think. Here are some of the similarities between a preschool and a nursery school:
- Both preschool and nursery school cannot be categorized as formal schooling. In other words, they do not come under the umbrella of ‘formal education’. Instead, they are both seen as formative education stages where a child is prepared to face formal education.
- Depending on the country of your residence, you can choose to home-school your child during their preschool years. Likewise, you don’t have to enroll your child in a nursery school if you don’t feel comfortable about it.
- There is no hard and fast rule that government bodies should strictly run a preschool and a nursery school. As such, we now have more private preschools and nursery schools today – thus sharing the burden of providing education.
Differences between a Preschool and a Nursery School:
Now that we have discussed what a preschool and a nursery school is and their similarities, we will now shed light on the apparent differences between them. Here they are:
- Nursery school is an exclusive term for nursery school children. On the contrary, a preschool is an all-encompassing term which in most cases can incorporate both nursery school and kindergarten students. In other words, if someone talks of ‘preschool’, they can be referring to nursery school too. However, this is not the case with nursery schools as they are only exclusively applicable to nursery school children.
- Nursery schools do not necessarily have fixed timings. They can be open for 5 hours to 7 hours to more hours per day based on nursery school or its arrangement with parents. On the other hand, preschools take their timings very seriously. They operate for a fixed timing which in many cases may be equivalent or less than the timing requirements of a primary, secondary, and high school.
- Nursery schools do not have a strict curriculum. It generally involves teachers interacting with children and supervising them with basic fun activities like coloring, playing games, etc. As opposed to this, preschools follow a strict curriculum. For example, teaching alphabets, shapes, colors, and basic numerical is an integrated curriculum of kindergarten children.
To conclude, when you look at a kindergarten and a nursery from afar, they may seem like the same things. But when closely looked at and objectively studied, there are many notable differences between the two. As parents, you should be aware of these differences.