Is nursery, kindergarten and preschool the same?

Topic of Content

  1. Introduction
  2. Differences between Nursery, Kindergarten and Preschool
  3. Conclusion


Schooling is regarded as one ofs the building blocks of one’s life. The reason is that at this stage a child is like raw clay - looking for moulds, to take the shape of. It is highly imperative that children receive well structured and versatile preschool education because the valuable lessons learned at this age will likely stay with them for the lifetime. This is the reason behind the development of nursery school, kindergarten and preschools.

Depending on each country, children start their school education at different ages. It usually begins with preschool, although there are a couple of options prior to this grade for parents who consider them prudent or timely. Many times, however, the functions, ages and level of each of these options can be confused.


Nursery school for kids, Kindergarten and Preschool might sound the same to people but they all are different, with some similarities. Basically there are four aspects that have to be taken into account when enrolling the child. This does not mean that one is bad and the other good, both respond to different expectations that parents will have to consider.

Let us understand the differences between the three by their definition:


The nursery school is a socio-educational service, aimed at encouraging the growth of children from 3 months to 2.5 years of life, offering opportunities and stimuli that allow the construction of identity, autonomy and interaction with other children and adults. On the other hand kindergarten is an educational approach which is based on playing, singing, dancing and other games activities. The kindergarten accepts small children from 3.5 years to 7 years. And preschool is the name of the educational cycle taught to children under 2 years to 4.5 years of age, which precedes compulsory primary education. In some countries, it is part of the formal education system, where they are simply given the basic tools to cope with school more easily.</p


Differences between Nursery, Kindergarten and Preschool


Kindergartens are specifically designed for children between 3.5 years of age / 2 and ½ and 6 or 7 years of age; nursery activities for nursery kids are designed for children of different ages (from toddlers just beginning to take their first steps to children of primary school age). And preschools are for a child’s primary education. The age limit can be 2.5 years to 4.5 years. It is designed to introduce them to the formal education system.


Preschools have limited hours (typically 3 hours a day, 2 to 4 times a week). On the other hand, some nurseries really depend on the child''s mood to stay. Also, they offer their services throughout the working day, becoming a more than beneficial option for moms who work outside the home. Kindergarten, the schedules depend more on the parents, and although they are enrolled, the children are not forced to attend every day. And the timing is typically 4 hours a day, 3 to 5 times a week.


Education focus

Most preschools are organized around a specific educational focus (for example: Montessori), while most nursery centers are considered as establishments that provide mainly care and custody services, rather than educational. And kindergarten focuses on the primary steps towards the education system.

Focus and Objectives

Preschool is focused on the fun of the child, its objective is that the infant does not get bored and avoid crying or throwing some kind of tantrum, in kindergarten learning methodologies are seldom used, since it basically works like “nursery school”. Kindergarten education has a more academic focus , just as in kindergarten you want to make the child have fun and not get bored, however in preschool the child is prepared for formal education, what does that mean? It means that while in Kindergarten children have fun playing, in preschool children have fun learning.


Preschool is very flexible, there is no set schedule, there are no courses assigned for each day, the parent can decide whether or not the child attends class, this aspect is also presented in clothing, kindergarten children usually do not have uniform. In the kindergarten stage, children have fixed schedules, the child''s attendance is monitored and absences have to be justified, in addition, in many public preschools the child is required to wear the Institution''s uniform.



In the nursery, children can receive, in addition to specialized care, some type of early stimulation. They also begin to be more independent and build their early social skills. As mentioned above in the preschool stage, the level works as preparation for elementary school. They start with the reading-writing process, improve their social skills, their psychomotor skills, among others.


The preschool has professional educators, teachers and teachers with university degrees in this area of education and same for kindergarten children. Apart from that there are in-charges and assistants who have experiences in the area of handling the child, understanding the behaviour, however this would not represent a problem, since the goal of kindergarten or preschool is not totally focused on academics. It is about preparing the kid with skills that are not usually taught in academics.



When you''ve gone through all of the above options like nursery admission day care centers, kindergartens and preschools, it won''t be as different as you thought - when it comes to the fundamentals. However, they offer logistical advantages and disadvantages for each parent, depending on each particular circumstance. For example, working moms may come to prefer the option provided by day care centers, as they offer more hours of care than a preschool. Kindergarten centers could also be chosen by parents of children who are just beginning their first steps, as nurseries generally do not offer options for children of these ages.

The kindergarten, and especially the nursery educators, technicians and room assistants, thus play an important role in the cognitive, psychomotor and socio-emotional development of boys and girls, since they allow a harmonious transition between autonomy and containment that every child / a requires to feel safe in a space that is new to you. Challenging task, since educating is not just transmitting information, much less at this stage of life.

Also, the most important thing to consider when choosing between preschool, nursery and kindergartens is how comfortable you will feel with it, as well as the programs each offer. Similar to what happens when you need to find a new doctor for yourself or your child, you probably don''t want to rush to make a last-minute decision. After all, your child will potentially spend a large portion of a day in the school you choose; that is why you should ensure that they spend that time in a fun and welcoming environment. Every child has a different need and motivation style. Just like the sorting hat in the Harry potter movie, if the initial sorting is done with informed decision, rest will automatically fall into its place.

Hope this helped in clearing your doubts on this topic. If you have any queries, please feel free to reach out to us and we will be more than happy to be of assistance. Happy Parenting.

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