A kindergarten (from German About this sound Kindergarten , literally "children's garden") 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 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 system[1] of early childhood education.

In the United States and anglophone Canada, as well as in parts of Australia, such as New South Wales, Tasmania and the Australian Capital 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.[2][3] 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, nursery or playgroup is the usual term for preschool education, 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).



Children attend kindergarten to learn to communicate, play, and interact with others appropriately. A teacher provides various materials and activities to motivate these children to learn the language and vocabulary of reading, mathematics, and science, as well as that of music, art, and social behaviors. 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.[4]


Friedrich Fröbel created the name Kindergarten in German in 1840.

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, a philosopher and pedagogue, opened an infant school in New Lanark.[5][6][7] Another was opened by Samuel Wilderspin in London in 1819.[8] Countess Theresa Brunszvik (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. 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 in principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Thuringia, 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, by Margarethe Meyer-Schurz in 1856 was conduted in German. Her sister had founded the first kindergarten in London, England.[9] In some systems kindergarten is called Grade 0,[10] which is also sometimes classified as "a mixture between kindergarten and a school regime."[11]

In 1860, Elizabeth Peabody 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, a German industrialist and philanthropist who settled in College Point, NY, where he established the Poppenhusen Institute, still in existence today. The first publicly financed kindergarten in the United States was established in St. Louis in 1873 by Susan Blow. Elizabeth Harrison 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 in 1886.

Montisori, Steiner and most recently the Reggio Emilia 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.

In different countries


A kindergarten classroom in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, 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 (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.


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.

A kindergarten in Hanoi - Vietnam in 2011

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, kindergarten (frequently referred to as 'kinder' or 'kindy') means something slightly different. In Tasmania, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, it is the first year of primary school. In Victoria, 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 '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, South Australia or the Northern Territory is referred to respectively as pre-primary, reception or transition.[12]

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


In Bangladesh, 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.


In Bulgaria, 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 kindergarden is also referred to as preschool. It is elective. The actual school starts as grade 1.


Student teachers training in a kindergarten class in 1898 in Toronto, Canada.

In Ontario 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.[13] 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.

Within the province of Quebec, 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, junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten are called maternelle and senior kindergarten is sometimes called jardin d'enfants, which is a calque of the German word Kindergarten.

In Western Canada and in Newfoundland and Labrador, there is only one year of kindergarten. After that year, the child begins grade one.

The province of Nova Scotia refers to Kindergarten as Primary.


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. It meets the needs of boys and girls integrally from their birth until their entry to the Educación Básica (Primary education), 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 of primary education).[14]


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).


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 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.


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


In France, pre-school is known as école maternelle (French for "nursery school"). 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)..


A German Kindergarten class.

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 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. 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.


A Hungarian pre-school class having outdoor activities.

In Hungary 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.


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


In Israel, 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.


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. 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, 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: 유치원).

Korean kindergartens are private schools. Costs per month vary. Korean parents often send their children to English kindergartens to give them a head start 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. These very young children may also attend other specialized afternoon schools, taking lessons in art, piano or violin, taekwondo, ballet, soccer or mathematics.

In North 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.


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


In Malawi, 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.


In Mexico, 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. 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 is a playgroup, the other two are of classroom education.

The kindergarten system in Mexico was developed by professor Rosaura Zapata (1876–1963), who received the country's highest honor for that contribution.

In 2002, the Congress of the Union 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.[15][16]


In Morocco, 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.


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.


In The Netherlands, 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.


In Peru, 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.


In the Philippines, education 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 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[17] or the Early Childhood Care and Development Act of 2000.


In Romania, 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.


In the Russian Federation 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).


Kindergartens in Singapore 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. Some kindergartens further divide nursery into N1 and N2.


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.


In 2010 a total of 56% of children aged one to six years old had the opportunity to attend preschool education, the Education and Science Ministry of Ukraine reported in August 2010.[18] Many preschools and kindergarten where closed previously in light of economic and demographic considerations.[19]

United Kingdom

The term kindergarten is rarely used in Britain to describe pre-school education; pre-schools are usually known as nursery schools or playgroups. 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 or primary schools, but many are provided by the private sector. The government provides funding[20] 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,[21] 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[22] and the Curriculum for Excellence.[23] Each school interprets these with more or less independence (depending on their management structure), but must satisfy the Care Commission[24] 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 of education. In the 1980s England and Wales officially adopted the Northern Irish 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. 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 in England, Dosbarth Derbyn in Welsh 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). 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.[3] 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.[3]

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 Learning" is a style of learning that is used in many kindergartens in the United States.[citation needed] 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.[3] Mandatory age of enrollment varies by state between 5 and 8.[25] 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.[2] If they are older than 5 in a non-mandatory state, then they will be directly placed into first grade for compulsory education, even if they have not attended kindergarten.

See also


  1. ^ Kindergarten definition from Microsoft Encarta CD edition, 2004
  2. ^ a b "Compulsory Education: Overview". National Conference of State Legislatures. 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Kindergarten requirements, by state: 2010". Table 5.3. National Center for Education Statistics. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Vag, Otto (March 1975). "The Influence of the English Infant School in Hungary". International Journal of Early Childhood (Springer) 7 (1): 132–136. 
  6. ^ New Lanark Kids: Robert Owen
  7. ^ Education in robert owen's new society: the new lanark institute and schools
  8. ^ Wilderspin, Samuel (1823). The Importance of Educating the Infant Poor. London. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Turner, Martin; Rack, John Paul (2004). The study of dyslexia. Birkhäuser, ISBN 9780306485312
  11. ^ Dustmann, Christian; Fitzenberger, Bernd; Machin, Stephen (2008). The economics of education and training. Springer, ISBN 9783790820218
  12. ^
  13. ^ Ontario's school system, accessed March 5, 2008
  14. ^ Chilean Ministry of Education - Help Guide, Educación Parvularia
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Education Ministry: Some 44 percent of children unable to attend kindergarten, Kyiv Post (August 11, 2010)
  19. ^ Encyclopedia of Motherhood by Andrea O'Reilly, Sage Publications, Inc, 2010, ISBN 978-1412968461 (page 1226)
  20. ^ Childcare regulations of the Scottish Government
  21. ^ Tax Free Childcare Regulations, UK government HMRC
  22. ^ Early Years Framework, Scottish Government, January 2009
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Compulsory school attendance laws and exemptions, by state: 2010". Table 5.1. National Center for Education Statistics. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 

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