Preschool vs Kindergarten: What’s the Difference?

Long gone are the days when young kids started directly with formal studies, difficult schedules, and the burden of learning. In today’s age, educational settings such as preschool and kindergarten are in place to ensure children learn in a more efficient manner.

Preschool Vs Kindergarten:


Many people get the two learning environments confused, and it’s easy to see why. It’s even more challenging to decide if your child should attend preschool or be enrolled in a kindergarten class.

Here is an explanation of the differences between preschool and kindergarten, as well as how to choose the best one for your child.

What is Preschool?

Preschool, also known as nursery or pre-primary school, is an educational setting where children around two to three years of age learn the basic concepts of math, science, and moral science to prepare them for the beginning of their formal education.

As the prefix denotes, the word preschool roughly means “before the school.” Preschool is the educational environment before the formal schooling starts. Students learn the basic concepts in a playful, light manner, without any burden on them. Classes are held one or multiple days a week.

The best thing about preschool is that it prepares children for a formal education. The initiative of preschool is also great because it gives kids an eagerness to learn more about and explore the knowledge they already possess.

Preschool classrooms are designed to look like homes or playgrounds, making kids feel more comfortable about spending time away from their parents for the very first time in their young lives. Besides the basic concepts of math and science, children learn how to interact and work with each other. They are also taught manners to behave well in different social settings.

What is Kindergarten?

Kindergarten, literally meaning “garden for the children,” is the start of formal education for kids. Children ages three through five years old are eligible to join a kindergarten class after passing an admission test. The admission test addresses the basic concepts in Math, English, and Science.

The educational approach to kindergarten is based on singing, playing, drawing, and social interactions as part of the transition from home to school. They are a lot like the classes children experience in preschool, but the kids attend kindergarten regularly and learn in a much more formal atmosphere.

Preschool vs. Kindergarten

  • The children ages two to three years are eligible for admission to preschool, whereas kids ages three to six years are taught in kindergarten.
  • Kindergarten is the beginning of formal education for children, while preschool is informal education designed to prepare students for their formal education.
  • Preschool classes occur once a week or on multiple days. Contrary to this, kindergarten classes are held daily.
  • Kindergarten is compulsory, whereas preschool education is not.

How to Decide Which School is Right for Your Child

preschool and kindergarten

If your young child is of a certain age, you might be facing a tough choice: continue doing preschool for another year or move them up to the kindergarten level.

Many parents decide by assessing what their child has learned in preschool. If their son or daughter has mastered the alphabet, his colours, her shapes, or can count to 20, parents assume that they must be ready for kindergarten.

Unfortunately, the decision isn’t always that simple. Besides basic knowledge, parents should also consider their child’s maturity level, age, attention span, abilities, and small muscle coordination. All of these factors paint a picture of the child’s complete developmental status and of their readiness for kindergarten.

Maturity Levels

Some kids are five years old chronologically, but not developmentally. This fact does not make them inadequate. Every kid matures at their own pace. When considering your child’s maturity, think about these factors:

  • Are they emotionally mature and even-tempered?
  • Do they suffer from separation anxiety?
  • Do they speak clearly enough for strangers to understand them?
  • Does my child have a large vocabulary?

Attention Span

A kid who is ready to attend kindergarten should be able to sit still for a reasonably long story (10 to 15 minutes) and be able to follow simple directions,

Small Muscle Development

Coordination in kindergarten students is very necessary, with good small muscle strength and control. They should know how to properly hold a pencil and use scissors, as well as manipulate puzzles, sewing cards, and building sets.


Consider the following questions to assess your child’s ability:

  • Can they stand on one foot for a minimum of 15 seconds?
  • Can they draw a self-portrait with tons of detail – a head, body, legs, arms, hands, feet, and facial features?
  • Do they have a story-telling capability?
  • Do they recognize rhyming words?

Kindergarten is the time to extend your little one’s attention span to 20-30 minutes or more. It’s the period when kids should be read aloud longer picture books and even chapter books. It is also the time when imaginative play thrives. Finally, it’s a time to have fun with educational games.

Choosing to enroll your child in kindergarten or another year of preschool can be a tough choice. Your goal should be to help your kid develop a love of learning and lay a solid foundation for later academics. This foundation is built on maturity, small muscle control, and a simple base knowledge of the world around them.