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Oct 7, 2018

The difference between daycare, kindergarten, nursery and preschool in relation to schooling


The difference between daycare, kindergarten, nursery and preschool in relation to schooling

These terms are primarily associated with private schools, but it is surprising that most of these private schools use these terms interchangeably, especially on their billboard adverts, thereby extending the confusion (as regards the use of these terms) to the public.  No wonder a parent told me that her child is in preschool, not in kindergarten (or kg 1). Well, I think it's time to state the difference between daycare, kindergarten, nursery and preschool in relation to schooling.

In America, a daycare is a place where working parents take their children who are between the ages of 1 and 3. At age 4, children attend what is called pre-kindergarten, usually called “Pre-K.” At age 5, they attend kindergarten. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Kindergarten is "a program or class for four-year-old to six-year-old children that serves as an introduction to school."


“Nursery school” is a chiefly British English term for what American English speakers recognize as pre-K and kindergarten. This simply means that you can use "nursery" instead of "kindergarten" if you want, but just note that while the former is a chiefly British English term, the latter is chiefly American. 

On the other hand, the British “nursery school” and the American pre-K and kindergarten are collectively called “preschool” in both British and American English. In other words, "preschool" is a general term for "nursery school," "pre-K" and "kindergarten" in both American and British English.

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