Kindergarten and preschool are both programs that young children attend before beginning grade school. These two can be confused with each other, and it might not be clear which is which, or why they’re different.
In today’s article, I’ll take you through the basic things that you need to know about each of these programs. Find out what they involve and how they can help your kid grow and learn.
By knowing how each of these program work, you’ll be able to decide which one is a better fit for your kid.
Kindergarten is the first stage of elementary school in the United States. It’s a compulsory stage that all kids must attend.
This is unlike other preschool programs that are optional and which kids only attend if the parent wishes so.
Kindergarten is a program that’s created to introduce kids to a learning environment. It’s a transition period from home to school.
Kids are expected to attend kindergarten when they’re around 4-6 years old. In kindergarten, they’ll be taught math and language arts skills that’ll help them advance to the 1st grade.
Kindergartens are regulated by state governments and have set operational standards and quality requirements. One cannot run a kindergarten without being accredited by the responsible authorities, something that’s not required for non-compulsory preschool programs.
Let’s look at what kids learn in kindergarten:
Kids in kindergarten learn advanced reading and writing skills that are essential for learning. They’ll learn about the basic sentence structure and practice on aspects such as capitalization and punctuation during the school year.
It’s also at this point that they learn about uppercase and lowercase letters and where they appear in sentences. Learning these skills helps them to develop their speech skills so that they can speak in complete sentences and even use question words.
The level of language skill learning at kindergarten requires your child to have prior knowledge of the alphabet and words.
This will make learning easier for them in kindergarten, as they’ll already have the basic skills required to comprehend the lessons offered throughout the year.
Just like the language skills learned in kindergarten, the math skills are advanced too. Kids in kindergarten are taught to identify numbers by their names and also to count in sequences.
They’ll also learn about shapes, which is an introduction to geometry. They’ll carry out various exercises that familiarize them with the concepts of subtraction and addition.
If your kid has attended a preschool program before going to kindergarten, they’ll have an easier time learning the math skills at this level.
This is because, in preschool, they’re introduced to the basic concepts of math. Kids who have been to a preschool program can already identify numbers and count to a certain level by the time they go to kindergarten.
Social sciences are taught in kindergarten to help kids become more conversant with the world and the people around them. These subjects also serve as an introduction to the history, geography, economics, and other social studies that they’ll do later in school.
In social science, your kid will learn about their family and figure out their heritage. They’ll also learn about their neighborhood, community, and country.
Kids are also introduced to basic knowledge about people of other cultures and how they live. They learn about the different cultural and religious holidays and what they mean.
At the same time, they learn socialization skills that enable them to relate well with people around them. They’ll acquire conflict resolution skills that will allow them to coexist well with their classmates, and this extends to their homes too.
Besides math, language, and social sciences, there are several other subjects that your kids will explore in kindergarten. These include music, physical education, art, and health studies.
They’ll take part in drawing and painting exercises, sing songs, and learn about basic habits that are useful for a healthy life.
Together, these subjects help kids build their self-confidence, become more self-reliant, and form healthy social relationships.
- Kindergarten prepares young children between the ages of 4-6 for the 1st During the year, they get accustomed to the school routine and get used to being away from their parents. By the time they get to 1st grade, they’ll be able to read, write, and follow instructions at school.
- This program helps kids to develop mentally, socially, and physically. The skills and subjects taught in class contribute to this all-round growth. They’ll be able to develop learning skills, social skills, and physical education, which will make them more conscious of their bodies and how to take care of themselves.
- Kindergartens are regulated by state agencies to ensure that they provide high-quality education to all kids. It ensures that all children are able to receive high standard instruction regardless of the school that they attend for kindergarten.
- Kindergartens usually require children to pass readiness screenings before being accepted. It means that as a parent, you need to prepare your child or take them to preschool so that they can be ready for the first stage of elementary school.
- Most Kindergartens require kids to attain a certain level of skills in order to move on to the first grade. If your kid is having trouble with their performance, you might have to make additional tutoring arrangements to ensure that they don’t repeat the program.
- Kindergartens teach advanced language and math skills, which can be hard to understand for a total beginner. Therefore, you’ll have to either home school your kid or take them to a preschool program where they can be introduced to the basic skills they’ll need for kindergarten.
Preschool is a program for 2-4 years olds who’re preparing to attend school. It’s not a compulsory elementary school stage. Therefore, you don’t have to take your kid to one.
However, skills that are taught at preschool are geared towards preparing your kid for kindergarten. Therefore, it’s a good consideration to take your kid to one.
Preschools are usually run by private organizations or individuals. Since they’re not part of the official elementary school program, they’re not regulated by the state.
It means that the educational services offered in these schools vary from one to the other. It’s entirely up to the proprietor to decide what skills they’ll be teaching your child and how.
That’s why it’s important for you to do due diligence before trusting your little one to a preschool. Find out what kind of skills they aim to teach and if they can truly help your child to prepare for school.
Here are some of the skills that kids gain in preschools:
When kids attend preschool, they find themselves in a new environment with other people who are not their family. This gives them an opportunity to learn socialization.
They make friends with their new classmates and learn to trust their instructors after only having their parents or home caretakers around.
Through activities that they carry out in class, they also learn how to work besides others. Preschool involves a lot of group projects that encourage kids to collaborate in order to complete.
This creates many chances for the teacher to teach skills such as respect, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
As your child develops social skills, it’ll also make it easier for them to transition from home to school when they’re old enough for kindergarten.
Language and Math Skills
Kids in preschool get to expand their language skills and get introduced to math skills that they’ll need later on in school. This is where they learn the alphabet and also the first 10 numbers.
These skills are taught through activities such as songs and games, which are appropriate for their age. Teachers may also use storytelling as a tool to expand their vocabulary and develop their listening and comprehension skills.
In math, kids in preschool learn how to count, put puzzles together, and notice patterns. All of these are basic skills that are aimed at introducing little children to the basic concepts of math and language.
Little kids rely on their caretakers for everything, and they might not get a chance to do things on their own when at home. But at preschool, they’re encouraged to carry out tasks individually or within groups.
Your child can get used to going to the bathroom on their own at preschool and learn other simple habits such as washing their hands.
Through this, they begin to build their self-confidence and believe in their ability to get things done without help. This development will make it easier for them to follow instructions and rules at school without feeling out of place.
- Preschool acts as a steppingstone to elementary education. It helps prepare kids for school life, and this makes it easier for them to transition from home.
- Programs in preschool introduce kids to the basic skills they’ll need to learn language, math, and other subjects in school. Kids who have gone through preschool have an easier time understanding lessons offered in kindergarten and beyond.
- Since preschools are not regulated by state agencies, their quality cannot be assured. It’s up to you as a parent to look around for a preschool that has a high-quality program.
- While high-quality programs are essential to your kid’s learning, they’re also expensive.
Kindergarten VS Preschool: How They Compare
Kindergarten and preschool have some similarities to them, but they’re also different. Some of their similarities are:
- They both act as preparation stages for school life. While preschool prepares kids for kindergarten, kindergarten gets them ready for grade school. This preparation helps kids to transition from home to a learning environment.
- In both programs, kids are introduced to language and math skills that they’ll need during their stay in school. Various activities used also develop their listening, speaking, and comprehension skills that work towards the same goal.
- These programs help kids to establish new social relations and learn various rules that allow them to exist well with others around them. They learn to respect, compromise, and solve conflicts among friends.
These are the main differences between kindergarten and preschool:
- Kindergarten is a state-regulated program that’s a compulsory stage for all your children. Preschool, on the other hand, is non-compulsory and not regulated by the state.
- While kindergarten accommodates kids between the ages of 4-6, preschool usually caters to 2-4 years olds.
- Preschool is suitable for kids who are just beginning to learn language and math skills, while kindergarten is appropriate for children who already have a basic understanding of these skills.
Which One is Best for Your Kid Between Kindergarten and Preschool?
Learning ability and age are appropriate factors to check when deciding whether to take your child to kindergarten or preschool.
If your kid is a total beginner, a preschool is the most suitable program for them. If you take them straight to kindergarten, they may either fail the screening test or fall behind their classmates.
Kids who have already been introduced to basic learning skills can be ready for kindergarten. You can get them ready at home or choose to take them to a preschool or pre-kindergarten.
At home, you can use some of the reading programs developed for homeschooling to help your child to develop the skills that they need to become ready for kindergarten.
Reading Headstart is a program created by reading teacher Sarah Shepard that contains well-researched strategies that parents can use to teach their kids reading from an early age.
This not only prepares them for kindergarten and boosts their performance in all subjects, but it also builds their self-esteem. Reading Headstart is one of the programs that parents are using to get their kids ready for kindergarten, and which you can use too.
Kindergarten and preschool are both essential for successful learning in grade school. Taking your kid to preschool will help them transition into a learning environment, while kindergarten will prepare them for the social, behavioral, and educational demands of school.