Kindergarten
Overview
 
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg
Bad Blankenburg
Bad Blankenburg is a spa town in the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated 6 km southwest of Rudolstadt, and 37 km southeast of Erfurt....

 as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school. His goal was that children should be taken care of and nourished in "children's gardens" like plants in a garden.

The term kindergarten is used around the world to describe a variety of different institutions that have been developed for children ranging from the ages of two to seven, depending on the country concerned.
Encyclopedia
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg
Bad Blankenburg
Bad Blankenburg is a spa town in the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated 6 km southwest of Rudolstadt, and 37 km southeast of Erfurt....

 as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school. His goal was that children should be taken care of and nourished in "children's gardens" like plants in a garden.

The term kindergarten is used around the world to describe a variety of different institutions that have been developed for children ranging from the ages of two to seven, depending on the country concerned. Many of the activities developed by Fröbel are also used around the world under other names. Singing and growing plants have become an integral part of lifelong learning. Playing, activities, experience, and social interaction are now widely accepted as essential aspects of developing skills and knowledge.

In most countries, kindergartens are part of the preschool
Preschool education
Preschool education is the provision of learning to children before the commencement of statutory and obligatory education, usually between the ages of zero and three or five, depending on the jurisdiction....

 system of early childhood education
Early childhood education
Early childhood education is the formal teaching and care of young children by people other than their family or in settings outside of the home. 'Early childhood' is usually defined as before the age of normal schooling - five years in most nations, though the U.S...

.

In the United States and anglophone
English Canadian
An English Canadian is a Canadian of English ancestry; it is used primarily in contrast with French Canadian. Canada is an officially bilingual state, with English and French official language communities. Immigrant cultural groups ostensibly integrate into one or both of these communities, but...

 Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, as well as in parts of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, such as New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

 and the Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

, kindergarten is the word often restricted in use to describe the first year of education in a primary or elementary school. In some of these countries, it is compulsory; that is, parents must send children to their kindergarten year (generally, at age five by September 1 of the present school year).

In the United States, many states widely offer a free kindergarten year to children of five to six years of age, but do not make it compulsory, while other states require all five-year-olds to enroll. The terms preschool or less often, "Pre-K", (formerly, nursery school) are used to refer to a school for children who are not old enough to attend kindergarten. Also, some U.S. school districts provide a half day or full day kindergarten at the parents' election.

In British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

, nursery
Nursery school
A nursery school is a school for children between the ages of one and five years, staffed by suitably qualified and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare...

 or playgroup
Pre-school playgroup
A pre-school playgroup, or in everyday usage just a playgroup, is an organised group providing care and socialisation for children under five. The term is widely used in the United Kingdom. Playgroups are less formal than the pre-school education of nursery schools...

 is the usual term for preschool education
Preschool education
Preschool education is the provision of learning to children before the commencement of statutory and obligatory education, usually between the ages of zero and three or five, depending on the jurisdiction....

, and kindergarten is rarely used, except in the context of special approaches to education, such as Steiner-Waldorf education (the educational philosophy of which was founded by Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher...

).

Purpose

Children attend kindergarten to learn to communicate, play, and interact with others appropriately. A teacher
Teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...

 provides various materials and activities to motivate these children to learn the language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 and vocabulary
Vocabulary
A person's vocabulary is the set of words within a language that are familiar to that person. A vocabulary usually develops with age, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge...

 of reading, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, and science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, as well as that of music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

, and social behavior
Behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

s. For children who previously have spent most of their time at home, kindergarten may serve the purpose of helping them adjust to being apart from their parents without anxiety. It may be their first opportunity to play and interact with a consistent group of children on a regular basis. Kindergarten may also allow mothers, fathers, or other caregivers to go back to part-time or full-time employment.

History

In an age when school was restricted to children who had learned to read and write at home, there were many attempts to make school accessible to the children of women who worked in factories. In Scotland in 1816, Robert Owen
Robert Owen
Robert Owen was a Welsh social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement.Owen's philosophy was based on three intellectual pillars:...

, a philosopher and pedagogue, opened an infant school in New Lanark
New Lanark
New Lanark is a village on the River Clyde, approximately 1.4 miles from Lanark, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It was founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills and housing for the mill workers. Dale built the mills there to take advantage of the water power provided by the river...

. Another was opened by Samuel Wilderspin in London in 1819. Countess Theresa Brunszvik
Theresa Brunszvik
Countess Teréz Brunszvik de Korompa was a member of the Hungarian nobility, pedagoge and a follower of the Swiss Pestalozzi...

 (1775–1861) was influenced by this example to open an Angyalkert (Angel garden) on May 27, 1828 in her residence in the city of Buda
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

. This concept became popular among the nobility and the middle class and was copied throughout the Hungarian kingdom.

Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852) opened a Play and Activity institute in 1837 in the village of Bad Blankenburg
Bad Blankenburg
Bad Blankenburg is a spa town in the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated 6 km southwest of Rudolstadt, and 37 km southeast of Erfurt....

 in principality
Principality
A principality is a monarchical feudatory or sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or princess, or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince....

 of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt was a small historic state in present-day Thuringia, Germany with its capital at Rudolstadt.-History:Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt was established in 1599 in the course of a resettlement of Schwarzburg dynasty lands...

, Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, which he renamed Kindergarten on June 28, 1840 to mark the four-hundredth anniversary of Gutenberg's invention of movable type. The women trained by Fröbel opened Kindergartens throughout Europe and around the World.

The first kindergarten in the United States founded in Watertown, Wisconsin
Watertown, Wisconsin
Watertown is a city in Dodge and Jefferson counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Most of the city's population is in Jefferson County. Division Street, several blocks north of downtown, marks the county line. The population of Watertown was 21,598 at the 2000 census...

, by Margarethe Meyer-Schurz
Margarethe Schurz
Margarethe Meyer-Schurz Margarethe Meyer-Schurz Margarethe Meyer-Schurz (born Margarethe Meyer; also called Margaretha Meyer-Schurz or just Margarethe Schurz; born 27 August 1833 in Hamburg; died 15 March 1876 opened the first German-language Kindergarten in the USA.- Life :...

 in 1856 was conduted in German. Her sister had founded the first kindergarten in London, England. In some systems kindergarten is called Grade 0, which is also sometimes classified as "a mixture between kindergarten and a school regime."

In 1860, Elizabeth Peabody
Elizabeth Peabody
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody was an American educator who opened the first English-language kindergarten in the United States. Long before most educators, Peabody embraced the premise that children's play has intrinsic developmental and educational value.-Biography:Peabody was born in Billerica,...

 founded the first English-language kindergarten in America in Boston, after visiting Watertown and travelling to Europe. The first free kindergarten in America was founded in 1870 by Conrad Poppenhusen
Conrad Poppenhusen
Conrad Poppenhusen was a German American philanthropist, entrepreneur, founder of College Point, Queens, and founder of the first free kindergarten in the United States....

, a German industrialist and philanthropist
Philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

 who settled in College Point, NY, where he established the Poppenhusen Institute
Poppenhusen Institute
Poppenhusen Institute is a historic building at 114—04 14th Road in College Point, Queens that housed the first free kindergarten in America. Currently, the Institute operates as a community cultural center....

, still in existence today. The first publicly financed kindergarten in the United States was established in St. Louis in 1873 by Susan Blow
Susan Blow
Susan Elizabeth Blow was a United States educator who opened the first successful public Kindergarten in the United States. She is known as the "Mother of Kindergarten".-Early life:The eldest of six children, Susan Blow was the daughter of Henry Taylor Blow and Minerva Grimsley...

. Elizabeth Harrison
Elizabeth Harrison (educator)
Elizabeth Harrison was an American educator. She was the founder and first president of what is today National-Louis University...

 wrote extensively on the theory of early childhood education and worked to enhance educational standards for kindergarten teachers by establishing what became the National College of Education
National-Louis University
National–Louis University is a private non-profit American university. NLU has campuses in and near Chicago, Illinois, as well as in Wisconsin, Florida, and Nowy Sącz, Poland. Many NLU courses and programs are also offered at-a-distance. The university practices multi-campus, at-a-distance, and...

 in 1886.

Montisori, Steiner and most recently the Reggio Emilia approach
Reggio Emilia approach
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was started by Loris Malaguzzi and the parents of the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. The destruction from the war, parents believed, necessitated a new, quick approach...

 are part of the rich an evolving tradition of child centered, activity based learning that has been nurtured around the world though the kindergarten movement.

Afghanistan

In Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, the equivalent term to kindergarten is کودکستان, pronounced as kudakistan (kudak – means child and stan – means land) and is not part of the actual school system. Children between the age of 3 and 6 attend kindergartens, which are often run by the government. According to law, every government office must have a kindergarten area within it.

Early childhood education In Afghanistan

Early childhood development
Early childhood education
Early childhood education is the formal teaching and care of young children by people other than their family or in settings outside of the home. 'Early childhood' is usually defined as before the age of normal schooling - five years in most nations, though the U.S...

 (ECD) programs address the needs and development of young children from birth to 6 years of age, their families, and their communities. They are multidimensional and designed to support children’s health, nutritional, cognitive, social, and emotional abilities, enabling them to survive and thrive in later years. Reflecting cultural values, they must be deeply rooted within families and communities, blending what are known about environments that enhance optimal child development with an understanding of traditional child-rearing practices that support and/or curtail a child’s development. The goal of the ECD strategy is to help families ensure that their children reach school age, not only healthy and well nourished, but intellectually curious, socially confident, and equipped with a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Develop and implement programs to provide better start in lives to younger age children before their schools (kindergarten) as well as to support school-age children who are out of school and missed their schooling by providing them Non-formal Education and vocational training.

Background

ECD programs have a relatively short history in Afghanistan. They were first introduced during the Soviet occupation with the establishment in 1980 of 27 urban preschools, or kodakistan. The number of preschools grew steadily during the 1980s, reaching a high of more than 270 by 1990, with 2,300 teachers caring for more than 21,000 children. These facilities were an urban phenomenon, mostly in Kabul, and were attached to schools, government offices, or factories. Based on the Soviet model, they provided nursery care, preschool, and kindergarten for children from 3 months to 6 years of age under the direction of the Department of Labor and Social Welfare.
The vast majority of Afghan families were never exposed to this system, and most of those who were never fully accepted it because it diminished the central role of the family and inculcated children with Soviet values. With the onset of civil war after the Soviet withdrawal, the number of kindergartens dropped rapidly. By 1995, only 88 functioning facilities serving 2,110 children survived, and the Taliban restrictions on female employment eliminated all of the remaining centers in areas under their control. At present, no programs of any size exist, facilities have been destroyed, and trained personnel are lacking. In 2007, there are about 260 Kindergarten offering early year’s stimulation to over 25000 children.

It is estimated that 2.5 million Afghan children are less than 6 years of age. A range of both biological and environmental risk factors act synergistically to exert a powerful negative influence on the growth and development of the Afghan child. A mix of religious and tribal customs and beliefs permeates Afghan society, with kinship substituting for government in most areas. Communities are traditionally closely knit with a strong emphasis on the extended family. Roles are clearly defined and central to the social order. Decades of war, massive displacement, and changing power structures caused the collapse of community-support networks and the erosion of the extended family—one of the most basic traditional coping mechanisms. Large numbers of women are widowed and have had to assume unaccustomed and nontraditional roles as family breadwinners.
One quarter of all children die before the age of 5 as a result of birth trauma, neonatal tetanus diarrhea, pneumonia, and vaccine-preventable diseases. Iron-deficiency anemia is widespread, affecting half to two thirds of children under 5 years of age. Large numbers of children are chronically malnourished; 45–59% show high levels of stunting. Malnutrition half of all girls marry before the age of 18, and many soon after adolescence. Confronted with these interlocking threats to development, children arrive at school unable to take advantage of learning opportunities. It is not surprising that dropout rates are high. Figures from 1999 show that one in four children dropped out of school in grade 2 and almost one in two in grades 3 and 4. In addition to the child’s physical and health status, other factors contributing to high dropout rates are family issues and competing priorities for the child’s time, irregular teacher attendance, subject irrelevance, and poor quality of teaching.

At present, no policies deal with early childhood and no institutions have either the responsibility or the capacity to provide such services. In the past, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs was accountable for kindergartens, nurseries, and crèches, while orphanages fell within the purview of MOE. At present, the Ministries of Education, Labor and Social Affairs, and Women’s Affairs have expressed an interest in overseeing the early childhood sector. As the Government continues to define and restructure ministerial responsibilities, the strengths and limitations of various options, including an inter-ministerial coordination agency, should be carefully considered. While formal structures do not exist, it is not clear whether any informal childcare arrangements exist at the community level other than those provided by family members. As women enter the work force, it is likely that a market for private preschool services will emerge in urban areas.

Australia and New Zealand

In each state of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, kindergarten (frequently referred to as 'kinder' or 'kindy') means something slightly different. In Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 and the Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

, it is the first year of primary school. In Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

, kindergarten is a form of preschool and may be referred to interchangeably as preschool or kindergarten. In Victoria the phrase for the first year of primary school is called Prep (short for 'preparatory'), although in Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

 'Prep' refers to the year after kindergarten and before grade 1. In Queensland, kindergarten is usually an institution for children around the age of 4 and thus it is the precursor to preschool and primary education. The year preceding the first year of primary school education in Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

, South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

 or the Northern Territory
Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, occupying much of the centre of the mainland continent, as well as the central northern regions...

 is referred to respectively as pre-primary, reception or transition.

In New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, kindergarten can refer to education in the 2 years preceding primary school, from age 3 to 4. Primary Education starts at age 5.

Bangladesh

In Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, the term 'Kindergarten' or 'KG School (Kindergarten School)' is used to refer the schooling of children attend from 3 to 6 years of age. The name of the levels are nursery, shishu(children) etc.

Bulgaria

In Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, the term detska gradina (деτска градина) refers to the schooling children attend from 3 to 7 (in some cases 6) years of age. The last year of kindergarten is also referred to as preschool. It is elective. The actual school starts as grade 1.

Canada

In Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 there are two grades of kindergarten: junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten (referred to as JK and SK). Junior kindergarten begins for children in the calendar year in which they turn four years old. Both kindergarten grades are typically run on a half-day or every-other-day schedule though full day Monday to Friday kindergarten is being introduced. In Ontario, both the senior and junior kindergarten programs, also called the "Early Years", are optional programs. Mandatory schooling begins in Grade One
First grade
First grade is a year of primary education in schools in the United States and English-speaking provinces of Canada. It is the first school year after kindergarten...

.

Within the province of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, junior kindergarten is called prématernelle (which is not mandatory), is attended by 4 years olds, and senior kindergarten is called maternelle, mandatory by the age of 5, this class is integrated into primary schools. Within the French school system in the province of Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten are called maternelle and senior kindergarten is sometimes called jardin d'enfants, which is a calque
Calque
In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word or root-for-root translation.-Calque:...

 of the German word Kindergarten.

In Western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

 and in Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

, there is only one year of kindergarten. After that year, the child begins grade one.

The province of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 refers to Kindergarten as Primary.

Chile

In Chile, the term equivalent to Kindergarten is "Educación parvularia", sometimes also called "Educación Preescolar". It is the first level of the Chilean educational system
Education in Chile
Education in Chile is divided in preschool, primary school, secondary school, and technical or higher education .- Levels of education :The levels of education in Chile are:...

. It meets the needs of boys and girls integrally from their birth until their entry to the Educación Básica (Primary education
Primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

), without being considered as compulsory.
Generally, schools imparting this level, the JUNJI (National Council of Kindergarten Schools) and other private institutions have the following organization of groups or sub categories of levels:
  • Low nursery: It addresses babies from 87 days to 4 year old.
  • High nursery: It addresses children from 4 to 8 years old.
  • Low Middle Level: It addresses children from 8 to 13 years old.
  • High Middle Level: It addresses children from 13 to 16 years old.
  • First level of transition: Often called "Pre-kinder", it addresses children from 16 to 25 years old.
  • Second level of transition: Usually called "Kinder", it addresses children from 25 to 27 years old. It is the last phase of this type of education, by finishing it, children go to "Primero Básico" (First grade
    First grade
    First grade is a year of primary education in schools in the United States and English-speaking provinces of Canada. It is the first school year after kindergarten...

     of primary education).

China

In China, the equivalent term to kindergarten is 幼儿园 (yòu ér yuán). The children start attending kindergarten at the age of 2 until they are at least 6 years old. The kindergartens in China generally have the following grades:
1. Nursery/ Playgroup (小班/xiăo bān): 2–3 years old children
2. Lower Kindergarten/ LKG (中班/zhōng bān): 3–4 years old children
3. Upper Kindergarten/ UKG (大班/dà bān): 4–5 years old children
4. Preschool (学前班/xué qián bān): 5–6 years old children

Some kindergartens may not have preschool (学前班/xué qián bān).

Denmark

Kindergarten is a day-care service offered to children from age three until the child starts attending school. Kindergarten classes (grade 0) are voluntary and are offered by primary schools before a child enters 1st grade.

Two-thirds of established day-care institutions in Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 are municipal day-care centres while the other third are privately owned and are run by associations of parents or businesses in agreement with local authorities. In terms of both finances and subject-matter, municipal and private institutions function according to the same principles.

Denmark is credited with pioneering (although not inventing) forest kindergartens, in which children spend most of every day outside in a natural environment.

Egypt

In Egypt, children may go to kindergartens for two years (KG1 and KG2) between the ages of four and six.

France

In France, pre-school is known as école maternelle (French for "nursery school
Nursery school
A nursery school is a school for children between the ages of one and five years, staffed by suitably qualified and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare...

"). Municipality-run, free maternelle schools are available throughout the country, welcoming children aged from 2 to 5 (although in many places, children under three may not be granted a place). The ages are divided into Grande section (GS: 5 year olds), Moyenne section (MS: 4 year olds), Petite section (PS: 3 year olds) and Toute petite section (TPS: 2 year olds). It is not compulsory, yet almost 100% of children aged 3 to 5 attend. It is regulated by the municipalities (as the primary school)..

Germany

The German preschool is known as a Kindergarten (plural Kindergärten) or Kita, short for Kindertagesstätte (meaning "children's daycare center"). Children between the ages of 3 and 6 attend Kindergärten, which are not part of the school system. They are often run by city or town administrations, churches, or registered societies, many of which follow a certain educational approach as represented, e.g., by Montessori or Reggio Emilia
Reggio Emilia approach
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was started by Loris Malaguzzi and the parents of the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. The destruction from the war, parents believed, necessitated a new, quick approach...

 or "Berliner Bildungsprogramm", etc. Forest kindergartens are well established. Attending a Kindergarten is neither mandatory nor free of charge, but can be partly or wholly funded, depending on the local authority and the income of the parents. All caretakers in Kita or Kindergarten must have a three year qualified education, or are under special supervision during training.

Kindergärten can be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or longer and may also house a Kinderkrippe, meaning crèche, for children between the ages of eight weeks and three years, and possibly an afternoon Hort (often associated with a primary school) for school-age children aged 6 to 10 who spend the time after their lessons there. Alongside nurseries, there are day-care nurses (called Tagesmutter, plural Tagesmütter - the formal, gender-neutral form is Tagespflegeperson(en)) working independently from any pre-school institution in individual homes and looking after only three to five children typically up to three years of age. These nurses are supported and supervised by local authorities.

The term Vorschule, meaning ‘pre-school’, is used both for educational efforts in Kindergärten and for a mandatory class that is usually connected to a primary school. Both systems are handled differently in each German state
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

. The Schulkindergarten is a type of Vorschule.

Hong Kong

Pre-primary Services in Hong Kong refers to provision of education and care to young children by kindergartens and child care centres. Kindergartens, registered with the Education Bureau, provide services for children from three to six years old. Child care centres, on the other hand, are registered with the Social Welfare Department and include nurseries, catering for children aged two to three, and creches, looking after infants from birth to two.

At present, most of the kindergartens operate on half-day basis offering upper, lower kindergarten classes and nursery classes. Some kindergartens operate full-day kindergarten classes too. Child care centres also provide full-day and half-day services with most centres providing full-day services.

The aim of pre-primary education in Hong Kong is to provide children with a relaxing and pleasurable learning environment to promote a balanced development of different aspects necessary to a child's development such as the physical, intellectual, language, social, emotional and aesthetic aspects.

To help establish the culture of self-evaluation in kindergartens and to provide reference for the public in assessing the quality and standard of pre-primary education, the Education Bureau has developed Performance Indicators for pre-primary institutions in Hong Kong. Commencing in the 2000/01 school year, Quality Assurance Inspection was launched to further promote the development of quality Early Childhood Education.

Hungary

In Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 kindergarten is called óvoda ('place for caring'). Children attend kindergarten between ages 3–6/7 (they go to school in the year in which they have their 7th birthday). Attendance in kindergarten is compulsory from the age of 5 years. Several kindergartens provide some education (foreign languages, music, etc.) but the children spend most of their time playing. One needs a college education to work in a kindergarten. There are private kindergartens but most of them are funded by their city.

India

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, pre-school is divided into three stages - Playgroup, Junior Kindergarten (Jr. KG) or Lower Kindergarten (LKG) and Senior Kindergarten (Sr. KG) or Upper Kindergarten (UKG). Typically, a Playgroup consists of children of age group from one and half to two and half years. Jr. KG class would comprise children three and half to four and half years of age, and the Sr. KG class would comprise children four and half to five and half years of age.

The kindergarten is a place where young children learn as they play with materials and cope up to live with other children and teachers. It is also a place where adults can learn; they observe children and participate with them. It can serve as a laboratory for the study of human relations.

The value of Kindergarten as a laboratory for studying about people will depend, in part, on the opportunities children may have there for play and for relationships with others.

The main objectives of kindergarten school are:
  • To develop a good physique, adequate muscular co-ordination and basic motor skill in the child.
  • To develop good health habits and to build up basic skills necessary for personal adjustments such as dressing themselves, toilet and eating habits.
  • To develop emotional maturity by guiding the child to express, understand, accept and control his feelings and emotions.
  • To develop good desirable social attitudes, manners and to encourage healthy group participation.
  • To encourage aesthetic appreciation (art, music, beauty, etc.)
  • To stimulate the child’s beginning of intellectual curiosities concerning his immediate environment.
  • To encourage the child’s independence and creativity by providing him with sufficient opportunities.


“The school is an opportunity for progress of the student. Each one is having the freedom to develop freely.”

In most cases the pre-school is run as a private school. Younger children may also be put into a special toddler/nursery group at the age of 2. It is run as part of the kindergarten.

After finishing Senior kindergarten, a child enters Class 1 or Standard 1 of primary school
Primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

. Often kindergarten is an integral part of regular schools, though sometimes they are independent units and are often part of a larger chain.

Israel

In Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, there are 2 streams, private commercial and state funded. Attendance in kindergarten is compulsory from the age of 5 years. Private kindergartens are supervised by the Ministry of Education and cater for children from 3 months to 5 years. State kindergartens are run by qualified kindergarten teachers who undergo a 4 year training. They cater for children from 3 to 6 years in three age groups; ages 3–4 (Trom Trom Hova - pre pre mandatory), 4-5 (Trom Hova - pre mandatory), 5-6 (Hova - mandatory). At the conclusion of the Hova year (5-6) the child will either begin primary school or will repeat the Hova year, if not deemed psychologically and cognitively ready for primary school.

Japan

Early childhood education begins at home, and there are numerous books and television shows aimed at helping mothers & fathers of preschool children to educate their children and to parent more effectively. Much of the home training is devoted to teaching manners, proper social behavior, and structured play, although verbal and number skills are also popular themes. Parents are strongly committed to early education and frequently enroll their children in preschools.

Kindergartens (yochien 幼稚園), predominantly staffed by young female junior college graduates, are supervised by the Ministry of Education, but are not part of the official education system. The 58 percent of kindergartens that are private accounted for 77 percent of all children enrolled. In addition to kindergartens there exists a well-developed system of government-supervised day-care centers (hoikuen 保育園), supervised by the Ministry of Labor. Whereas kindergartens follow educational aims, preschools are predominately concerned with providing care for infants and toddlers. Just as there are public and private kindergartens, there are both public and privately run preschools. Together, these two kinds of institutions enroll well over 90 percent of all preschool-age children prior to their entrance into the formal system at first grade
First grade
First grade is a year of primary education in schools in the United States and English-speaking provinces of Canada. It is the first school year after kindergarten...

. The Ministry of Education's 1990 Course of Study for Preschools, which applies to both kinds of institutions, covers such areas as human relationships, health, environment, words (language), and expression. Starting from March 2008 the new revision of curriculum guidelines for kindergartens as well as for preschools came into effect.

South Korea

In South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, children normally attend kindergarten between the ages of three or four and six or seven in the Western age system. (Korean children's ages are calculated differently from Western children's ages: when they are born they are one year old, rather than one day old. Also, every January 1, everyone's age increases by one year regardless of when their birthday is. Hence in Korea, kindergarten children are called "five, six and seven" year olds.). The school year begins in March. It is followed by primary school. Normally the kindergartens are graded on a three-tier basis. They are called "Yuchi won" .

Korean kindergartens are private schools. Costs per month vary. Korean parents often send their children to English kindergartens to give them a head start
Head start (positioning)
In positioning, a head start is a start in advance of the starting position of others in competition, or simply toward the finish line or desired outcome...

 in English. Such specialized kindergartens can be mostly taught in Korean with some English lessons, mostly taught in English with some Korean lessons, or completely taught in English. Almost all middle-class parents send their children to kindergarten.

Kindergarten programs in South Korea attempt to incorporate much academic instruction alongside more playful activities. Korean kindergarteners learn to read, write (often in English as well as Korean) and do simple arithmetic. Classes are conducted in a traditional classroom setting, with the children focused on the teacher and one lesson or activity at a time. The goal of the teacher is to overcome weak points in each child's knowledge or skills.

Because the education system in Korea is very competitive, kindergartens are becoming more intensely academic nowadays. Children are pushed to read and write at a very young age. They also become accustomed to regular and considerable amounts of homework
Homework
Homework, or homework assignment, refers to tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed outside of class. Common homework assignments may include a quantity or period of reading to be performed, writing or typing to be completed, problems to be solved, a school project to be built...

. These very young children may also attend other specialized afternoon schools, taking lessons in art, piano or violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

, taekwondo
Taekwondo
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

, ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

, soccer or mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

.

In North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, children attend kindergarten between the ages of four and five. Kindergartens are divided among the upper (party) class and lower (worker) class, where upper-class kindergartens are completely educational, and lower class have little education.

Kuwait

In Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Kuwaiti children may go to free kindergartens for two years (K1 and K2) between the ages of four and six.

Malawi

In Malawi
Malawi
The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...

, kindergarten is known as "obuko" in Ciyawo-speaking regions and is generally available to children of ages four and five. Many English kindergartens also operate throughout the country.

Mexico

In Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, kindergarten is called "kindergarden" or "kínder," with the last year sometimes referred to as "preprimaria" (primaria is the name given to grades 1 through 6, so the name literally means "prior to elementary school"). It consists of three years of pre-school education, which are mandatory before elementary school
Elementary school
An elementary school or primary school is an institution where children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as elementary or primary education. Elementary school is the preferred term in some countries, particularly those in North America, where the terms grade school and grammar...

. Previous nursery is optional, and may be offered in either private schools or public schools.

At private schools, kinders usually consist of three grades, and a fourth one may be added for nursery. The fourth one is called maternal. It goes before the other three years and is not obligatory. While the first grade
First grade
First grade is a year of primary education in schools in the United States and English-speaking provinces of Canada. It is the first school year after kindergarten...

 is a playgroup
Pre-school playgroup
A pre-school playgroup, or in everyday usage just a playgroup, is an organised group providing care and socialisation for children under five. The term is widely used in the United Kingdom. Playgroups are less formal than the pre-school education of nursery schools...

, the other two are of classroom education.

The kindergarten system in Mexico was developed by professor Rosaura Zapata
Rosaura Zapata
Rosaura Zapata was a Mexican educator who helped to found the national system of education. She received Mexico's highest national honor when it was inaugurated in 1954, the Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor.-External links:...

 (1876–1963), who received the country's highest honor for that contribution.

In 2002, the Congress of the Union
Congress of Mexico
The Congress of the Union is the legislative branch of the Mexican government...

 approved the Law of Obligatory Pre-schooling, which already made pre-school education for three to six-year-olds obligatory, and placed it under the auspices of the federal and state ministries of education.

Morocco

In Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, pre-school is known as école maternelle, Kuttab, or Ar-Rawd. State-run, free maternelle schools are available throughout the kingdom, welcoming children aged from 2 to 5 (although in many places, children under 3 may not be granted a place). It is not compulsory, yet almost 80% of children aged 3 to 5 attend. It is regulated by the Moroccan department of education.

Nepal

In Nepal, kindergarten is simply known as "kindergarten". Kindergarten is run as a private education institution and all the privately run educational instituitions are in English medium. So, kindergarten education is also in English medium in Nepal. The children start attending kindergarten at the age of 2 until they are at least 5 years old. The kindergartens in Nepal have following grades:
1. Nursery/ Playgroup: 2–3 years old children
2. Lower Kindergarten/ LKG: 3–4 years old children
3. Upper Kindergarten/ UKG: 4–5 years old children

The kindergarten education in Nepal is almost similar to that of Hong Kong and India. All the books in private education institution are in English except one compulsory Nepali. Children are trained perfectly in Nepalese kindergartens.

Netherlands

In The Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, the equivalent term to kindergarten is kleuterschool. From the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century the term Fröbelschool was also common, after Friedrich Fröbel. However this term gradually faded in use as the verb Fröbelen gained a slight derogatory meaning in everyday language. Until 1985, it used to be a separate non-compulsory form of education (for children aged 4–6 years), after which children (aged 6–12 years) attended the primary school (lagere school). After 1985, both forms were integrated into one, called basisonderwijs (Dutch for primary education). The country also offers both private and subsidized daycares, which are non compulsory, but nevertheless very popular.

Peru

In Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, the term nido refers to the schooling children attend from 3 to 6 years of age. It is followed by primary school classes, which last for six years. Some families choose to send their children to primary school at the age of 6. In 1902 the teacher Elvira Garcia and Garcia co-founder of the Society cited above, organized the first kindergarten for children 2 to 8 years old, Fanning annex to the Lyceum for ladies. Her studies and concern for children led her to spread through conferences and numerous documents, the importance of protecting children early and to respond to the formation of a personality based on justice and understanding, as well as the use of methods Fröbel and from Montessori and participation of parents in this educational task.

Philippines

In the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, education
Education in the Philippines
During the period of governance of Spain and the United States, education in the Philippines changed radically, mostly modeled on the system of education in the United States of the time...

 officially starts at the Elementary level and placing children into early childhood education through kindergarten is optional to parents. Early Childhood Education in the Philippines are classified into:
  • Center-based programs, such as the Barangay
    Barangay
    A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward...

     day care service, public and private pre-schools, kindergarten or school-based programs, community or church-based early childhood education programs initiated by nongovernment organizations or people's organizations, workplace-related child care and education programs, child-minding centers, health centers and stations; and
  • Home-based programs, such as the neighborhood-based play groups, family day care programs, parent education and home visiting programs.

Early childhood education is strengthened through the creation of Republic Act No. 8980 or the Early Childhood Care and Development Act of 2000.

Romania

In Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, grădiniţă, which means "little garden" is the favored form of education for preschool (under-6 or under-7) children.
The children are divided in "little group" (grupa mică age 3-4), "medium group" (grupa mijlocie age up to 5) and "big group" (grupa mare up to 6 or 7).
In the last few years, private kindergartens have become popular, supplementing the state preschool education system.

Russia

In the Russian Federation
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 Детский сад (literal translation of a children's garden) is an Education Institution for children usually 3 to 7 years of age. It is a Дошкольное образовательное учреждение (preschool educational institution).

Singapore

Kindergartens in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 provide up to three years of pre-school programs for children aged between three and six. The three-year program, known as nursery, kindergarten 1 (K1) and kindergarten 2 (K2) prepares children for their first year in primary school education
Education in Singapore
Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education , which controls the development and administration of state schools receiving government funding, but also has an advisory and supervisory role in respect of private schools...

. Some kindergartens further divide nursery into N1 and N2.

Sudan

Kindergarten in Sudan is divided into private and public kindergarten. Preschool is compulsory in Sudan. The proper Kindergarten age spans from 3–6 years. The curriculum covers Arabic, English, Mathematics and more.

Ukraine

In 2010 a total of 56% of children aged one to six years old had the opportunity to attend preschool education
Preschool education
Preschool education is the provision of learning to children before the commencement of statutory and obligatory education, usually between the ages of zero and three or five, depending on the jurisdiction....

, the Education and Science Ministry of Ukraine reported in August 2010. Many preschools and kindergarten where closed previously in light of economic
Economy of Ukraine
The economy of Ukraine is an emerging free market, with a gross domestic product that fell sharply for the first 10 years of its independence from the Soviet Union and then experienced rapid growth from 2000 until 2008...

 and demographic
Demographics of Ukraine
The Demographics of Ukraine is about the demographic features of the population of Ukraine, including population growth, population density, ethnicity, education level, health, economic status, religious affiliations, and other aspects of the population....

 considerations.

United Kingdom

The term kindergarten is rarely used in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 to describe pre-school education; pre-schools are usually known as nursery school
Nursery school
A nursery school is a school for children between the ages of one and five years, staffed by suitably qualified and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare...

s or playgroups
Pre-school playgroup
A pre-school playgroup, or in everyday usage just a playgroup, is an organised group providing care and socialisation for children under five. The term is widely used in the United Kingdom. Playgroups are less formal than the pre-school education of nursery schools...

. However, the word "kindergarten" is used for more specialist organisations such as forest kindergartens, and is sometimes used in the naming of private nurseries that provide full-day child care for working parents.

In the UK children have the option of attending nursery at the ages of three or four years, before compulsory education begins. Before that, less structured childcare is available privately. The details vary slightly between Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Some nurseries are attached to state infant
Infant school
An Infant school is a term used primarily in the United Kingdom for school for children between the ages of four and seven years. It is usually a small school serving a particular locality....

 or primary schools, but many are provided by the private sector. The government provides funding so that all children from the age of three until they start compulsory school, can receive five sessions per week of two and a half hours each, either in state-run or private nurseries. Working parents can also spend £55 per week free of income taxes, which is typically enough to pay for one or two days per week.

The Scottish Government defines its requirements of nursery schools in the Early Years Framework and the Curriculum for Excellence. Each school interprets these with more or less independence (depending on their management structure), but must satisfy the Care Commission in order to retain their licence to operate. The curriculum aims to develop:
  • Successful Learners
  • Confident Individuals
  • Responsible Citizens
  • Effective Contributors

Nursery forms part of the Foundation Stage
Foundation Stage
Foundation Stage is the British government label for education of pupils aged 3 to 5 in England. In Northern Ireland, it is also used to refer to the first two years of compulsory education for pupils aged 4 to 6.-England:...

 of education. In the 1980s England and Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 officially adopted the Northern Irish
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 system whereby children start school either in the term or year in which they will become five depending on the policy of the Local Education Authority
Local Education Authority
A local education authority is a local authority in England and Wales that has responsibility for education within its jurisdiction...

. In Scotland, schooling becomes compulsory between the ages of 4½ and 5½ years, depending on their birthday (school starts in August for children who were 4 by the end of the preceding February). The first year of compulsory schooling is known as Reception
Reception (school)
Reception or Primary 1 or FS2 is the first year of primary school in the United Kingdom and South Australia. It is preceded by nursery and is followed by Year One in England and Wales or Primary 2 in Northern Ireland and Scotland.Pupils in Reception are usually aged between four and five...

 in England, Dosbarth Derbyn in Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 and Primary One in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

United States

In the United States, kindergartens are usually part of the K-12 educational system. It is only one school-year. Children usually attend kindergarten around age 5 to 6. Kindergarten is considered the first year of formal education, although the child may have gone to preschool or Pre-K (formerly nursery school
Nursery school
A nursery school is a school for children between the ages of one and five years, staffed by suitably qualified and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare...

). While kindergarten was viewed as a separate part of the elementary program, it is now fully integrated into the school system and is a full participant in schooling, except that in many places it is only offered for half-a-day. Depending on the state, children may be required to attend their kindergarten year because compulsory schooling laws in many states begin at age 5. In other states, compulsory laws begin at 6 or 7, although these states still offer free kindergarten. In practice, 43 states require their school districts to offer a kindergarten year.

There are many positive learning and social/behavioral benefits for children in kindergarten programs. At the same time, it is widely felt that what children are doing during the kindergarten day is more important than the length of the school day.

"High/Scope
High/Scope
The HighScope early childhood education approach, used in preschool, kindergarten, childcare, or elementary school settings, was developed in the United States in the 1960s. It is now common there and in some other countries....

 Learning" is a style of learning that is used in many kindergartens in the United States. This learning style is very interactive and requires a great deal of the children and the teacher. It employs a "plan, do, review" approach which enables children to take responsibility for their learning. First the children "plan" their activities. The teacher provides choices of activities for the children which are age-appropriate and initiate learning, whether through problem solving, reading, language, mathematics, manipulatives, etc. This planning takes place, usually, when the children walk in the classroom. Then they "do" their activity. Some of these activities include such things as a water table, building blocks, a creative dance area, "dress up" area, a reading area, and a drawing table. The majority of the children's time is spent in this "do" activity. The last part of this approach is the review part. This is where the children and the teacher go over what they have done that day. This can be done in a large group, especially if there is a theme for the day that is used in all activities, or individually. The children discuss what they did and how they liked it and what they learned from it. This high/scope learning has grown in popularity and is accepted largely because it allows for the children to be responsible for their own learning.

Compulsory schooling laws were adopted before the widespread provision of kindergarten or preschool. In some states, it is not required for children to attend kindergarten. Mandatory age of enrollment varies by state between 5 and 8. Generally, in all states, a child may begin kindergarten in the fall term only if age 5 by a state-set date, usually in the summer or fall. If they are older than 5 in a non-mandatory state, then they will be directly placed into first grade
First grade
First grade is a year of primary education in schools in the United States and English-speaking provinces of Canada. It is the first school year after kindergarten...

for compulsory education, even if they have not attended kindergarten.

Further reading

The following reading list relates specifically to kindergarten in North America, where it is the first year of formal schooling and not part of the pre-school system as it is in the rest of the world:
  • Cryan, J. R., Sheehan, R., Wiechel, J., & Bandy-Hedden, I. G. (1992). "Success outcomes of full-day kindergarten: More positive behavior and increased achievement in the years after." Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 7(2),187-203. EJ 450 525.
  • Elicker, J., & Mathur, S. (1997). "What do they do all day? Comprehensive evaluation of a full-day kindergarten." Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12(4), 459-480. EJ 563 073.
  • Fusaro, J. A. (1997). "The effect of full-day kindergarten on student achievement: A meta-analysis." Child Study Journal, 27(4), 269-277. EJ 561 697.
  • Gullo, D. F. (1990). "The changing family context: Implications for the development of all-day kindergarten." Young Children, 45(4), 35-39. EJ 409 110.
  • Housden, T., & Kam, R. (1992). "Full-day kindergarten: A summary of the research." Carmichael, CA: San Juan Unified School District. ED 345 868.
  • Karweit, N. (1992). "The kindergarten experience." Educational Leadership, 49(6), 82-86. EJ 441 182.
  • Koopmans, M. (1991). "A study of longitudal effects of all-day kindergarten attendance on achievement." Newark, NJ: Newark Board of Education. ED 336 494..
  • Morrow, L. M., Strickland, D. S., & Woo, D. G.(1998). "Literacy instruction in half- and whole-day kindergarten." Newark, DE: International Reading Association. ED 436 756.
  • Olsen, D., & Zigler, E.(1989). "An assessment of the all-day kindergarten movement." Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 4(2), 167-186. EJ 394 085.
  • Puleo, V. T.(1988). "A review and critique of research on full-day kindergarten." Elementary School Journal, 88(4), 427-439. EJ 367 934.
  • Towers, J. M. (1991). "Attitudes toward the all-day, everyday kindergarten." Children Today, 20(1), 25-28. EJ 431 720.
  • West, J., Denton, K., & Germino-Hausken, E.(2000). "America's Kindergartners" Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Statistics
  • McGill-Franzen, A. (2006). "Kindergarten literacy: Matching assessment and instruction in kindergarten." New York: Scholastic.
  • WestEd (2005). "Full-Day Kindergarten: Expanding Learning Opportunities." San Francisco: WestEd.
  • Schoenberg, Nara. "Kindergarten: It's the new first grade" Chicago Tribune, 9-04-2010

External links


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