Kindergarten ( listen ; from German [ˈkɪndɐˌɡaːɐ̯tn̩], which literally means "garden for the children") is a preschool educational approach traditionally based on playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school. The first such institutions were created in the late 18th century in Bavaria and Strasbourg to serve children whose parents both worked out of the home. The term was coined by the German Friedrich Fröbel, whose approach globally influenced early-years education. Today, the term is used in many countries to describe a variety of educational institutions and learning spaces for children ranging from two to seven years of age, based on a variety of teaching methods.
- Australia and New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
In 1779, Johann Friedrich Oberlin and Louise Scheppler founded in Strasbourg an early establishment for caring for and educating pre-school children whose parents were absent during the day. At about the same time, in 1780, similar infant establishments were established in Bavaria. In 1802, Princess Pauline zur Lippe established a preschool center in Detmold, the capital of the then principality of Lippe, Germany (now in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia).
In 1816, Robert Owen, a philosopher and pedagogue, opened the first British and probably globally the first infants school in New Lanark, Scotland. In conjunction with his venture for cooperative mills Owen wanted the children to be given a good moral education so that they would be fit for work. His system was successful in producing obedient children with basic literacy and numeracy.
Samuel Wilderspin opened his first infant school in London in 1819, and went on to establish hundreds more. He published many works on the subject, and his work became the model for infant schools throughout England and further afield. Play was an important part of Wilderspin's system of education. He is credited with inventing the playground. In 1823, Wilderspin published On the Importance of Educating the Infant Poor, based on the school. He began working for the Infant School Society the next year, informing others about his views. He also wrote The Infant System, for developing the physical, intellectual, and moral powers of all children from 1 to seven years of age.
Countess Theresa Brunszvik (1775–1861), who had known and been influenced by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, was influenced by this example to open an Angyalkert ("angel garden" in Hungarian) on May 27, 1828, in her residence in Buda, the first of eleven care centers that she founded for young children. In 1836 she established an institute for the foundation of preschool centers. The idea became popular among the nobility and the middle class and was copied throughout the Kingdom of Hungary.
Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852) opened a "play and activity" institute in 1837 in the village of Bad Blankenburg in the principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Thuringia, as an experimental social experience for children entering school. He renamed his institute Kindergarten on June 28, 1840, reflecting his belief that children should be nurtured and nourished "like plants in a garden".
Women trained by Fröbel opened kindergartens throughout Europe and around the world. The first kindergarten in the US was founded in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856 and was conducted in German.
Elizabeth Peabody founded the first English-language kindergarten in the US in 1860. The first free kindergarten in the US was founded in 1870 by Conrad Poppenhusen, a German industrialist and philanthropist, who also established the Poppenhusen Institute. The first publicly-financed kindergarten in the US was established in St. Louis in 1873 by Susan Blow.
Canada's first private kindergarten was opened by the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, in 1870. By the end of the decade, they were common in large Canadian towns and cities. The country's first public-school kindergartens were established in Berlin, Ontario (modern Kitchener), in 1882 T Central School). In 1885, the Toronto Normal School (teacher training) opened a department for kindergarten teaching.
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.
In Afghanistan, children between the age of 3 and 6 attend kindergartens (Dari: کودکستان; Pashto: وړکتون), which though not part of the school system are often run by the government.
ECD programs 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 many of these families are in opposition of the program due to the belief that it diminishes the central role of the family and inculcates 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. In 2007, there were about 260 early years centers serving over 25000 children. Though every government center is required to have an early childhood center, at present, no governmental policies deal with early childhood and no institutions have either the responsibility or the capacity to provide such services.
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 and Tasmania the phrase for the first year of primary school is called Prep (short for "preparatory"), which is followed by 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.
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 to the schooling children attend from 3 to 6 years of age. The names of the levels are nursery, shishu (children), etc. But the view of kindergarten education has changed much from previous years. Almost every rural area now has at least one Kindergarten School, with most being run in the Bengali language. They also follow the text books published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) with a light modification, adding some extra books in syllabus. The grades generally start from Nursery (sometimes "Play"), "KG" afterwards, and ends with the 5th grade. Separate from the National Education System, kindergarten is contributing greatly toward achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education in Bangladesh.
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. Since 2003, one year of pre-school education (usually at age 6) is compulsory.
Schools outside of Quebec and Ontario generally provide one year of kindergarten, except some private schools offer junior kindergarten for 4-year-olds (school before kindergarten is most commonly referred to as pre-school). After kindergarten, the child begins grade one. The province of Nova Scotia refers to Kindergarten as Grade Primary.
The provinces of Ontario, and Quebec provide two years of kindergarten. Within the province of Quebec, junior kindergarten is called prématernelle (which is not mandatory), is attended by 4-year-olds, and senior kindergarten is called maternelle, which is also not 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 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:
In China, the equivalent term to kindergarten is 幼儿园 (yòu ér yuán). The children start attending kindergarten at age 3 until they are at least 6 years old. The kindergartens in China generally have the following grades:
- Nursery/ Playgroup (小班/xiăo bān): 3- to 4-year-old children
- Lower Kindergarten/ LKG (中班/zhōng bān): 4- to 5-year-old children
- Upper Kindergarten/ UKG (大班/dà bān): 5- to 6-year-old children
- Preschool (学前班/xué qián bān): 5- to 6-year-old children Some kindergartens may not have preschool (学前班/xué qián bān).
The public kindergartens only accept children older than 3 years, while private ones do not have such limitations.
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", literally "maternal school"). Free maternelle schools are available throughout the country, welcoming children aged from 3 to 6 (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 all children aged 3 to 5 attend. It is regulated by the Ministry of National Education.
In Germany, a Kindergarten (masculine: der Kindergarten, plural Kindergärten) is a facility for the care of pre-school children who are typically at least three years old. By contrast, Kinderkrippe or Krippe refers to a crèche for the care of children before they enter Kindergarten (9 weeks to about three years), Kindertagesstätte—literally "children's day site", usually shortened to Kita—is an umbrella term for any day care facility for pre-schoolers.
Attendance is voluntary, and usually not free of charge. Pre-school children over the age of one are entitled to receive local and affordable day care. Within the federal system, Kindergärten fall under the responsibility of the states, which usually delegate a large share of the responsibility to the municipalities. Due to the subsidiarity principle stipulated by §4 SGB VIII, there are a multitude of operators, from municipalities, churches and welfare societies to parents' initiatives and profit-based corporations. Many Kindergärten follow a certain educational approach, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, "Berliner Bildungsprogramm" or Waldorf; forest kindergartens are well established. Most Kindergärten are subsidised by the community councils, with the fees depending on the income of the parents.
Even in smaller townships there are often both Roman Catholic and Lutheran kindergartens available. Places in crèches and kindergarten are often difficult to secure, and must be 'reserved' in advance, although the situation has improved with a new law in effect August 2013. The availability of childcare, however, varies greatly by region. It is usually better in eastern regions, and in big cities in the north, such as Berlin or Hamburg, and poorest in parts of Southern Germany.
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 7am to 5pm or longer and may also house a crèche (Kinderkrippe) 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 (Tagesmütter or Tagespflegepersonen) working independently of any pre-school institution in individual homes and looking after only three to five children, typically up to the age of three. These nurses are supported and supervised by local authorities.
The term Vorschule ("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.
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.
In Hungary a kindergarten is called an 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 3 years, though exceptions are made for developmental reasons. Though kindergartens may include programs in subjects such as foreign languages and music, children spend most of their time playing. In their last year children begin to be prepared to attend elementary school.
Most kindergartens are state-funded. Kindergarten teachers are required to have a diploma.
In India, there are only informal directives pertaining to pre-primary education, for which pre-primary schools and sections need no affiliation. Directives state that children who are three years old on 30 May in the given academic year are eligible to attend Nursery and Kindergarten classes. Typically, children spend 3 to 4 years of their time in pre-primary school after which they are eligible to attend 1st Standard in Primary School which falls under HRD ministry norms. Primary education is now compulsory in India, and accompanied with mid-day meals, in most parts of the country run by the government. Pre-primary is not mandatory, however preferred. All government schools and affiliated private schools allow children who are 5 years of age as of 30 May to enroll to standard 1 of a primary school.
In Italy, pre-school education refers to two different grades:
Italian asili-nido were officially instituted in a 1971 State Law (L. 1044/1971), and may be ruled by either private or public institutions. They were originally established to allow mothers a chance to work out of their homes, and were therefore seen as a social service. Today, they mostly serve the purpose of general education and social interaction. In Italy, much effort has been spent on developing a pedagogical approach to children's care: well known is the so-called Reggio Emilia approach, named after the city of Reggio Emilia, in Emilia-Romagna.
Asili-nido normally occupy small one-story buildings, surrounded by gardens; usually suitable for no more than 60 or 70 children. The heart of the asili-nido are the classrooms, split into playroom and restroom; the playroom always has windows and doors leading to the outside playground and garden.
Maternal schools (scuola materna) were established in 1968 after State Law n. 444 and are a full part of the official Italian education system, though attendance is not compulsory. Like asili-nido (nursery schools), maternal schools may be held either by public or private institutions.
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 (幼稚園 yōchien), 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% of kindergartens that are private accounted for 77% of all children enrolled. In addition to kindergartens, there exists a well-developed system of government-supervised day-care centers (保育園 hoikuen), supervised by the Ministry of Labor. Whereas kindergartens follow educational aims, preschools are predominantly 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, language, and expression. Starting from March 2008 the new revision of curriculum guidelines for kindergartens as well as for preschools came into effect.
In South Korea, children normally attend kindergarten (Korean: 유치원 yuchi won) between the ages of three or four and six or seven in the Western age system. (Korean ages are calculated differently from Western ages: when they are born they are considered one-year-olds, rather than one day old. Additionally, 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.
Korean kindergartens are private schools, and monthly costs 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 kindergartners 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. 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 Kosovo, kindergarten is known as Çerdhe or Kopshti i fëmijëve, and they serve as Day Care Centers. There are public and private kindergartens, and they are for children under the age of 3. Children between 3–6 years old go to Institucione parashkollore, which are different from the Day Care Centers, because here children start the basic learning process, and they serve as preparatory institutions for the Primary School. After the age of 6, children continue in Primary School. However, neither the Day Care Centers nor the Preparatory Institutions are mandatory.
In Kuwait, Kuwaiti children may go to free government kindergartens for two years (KG1 and KG2) between the ages of four and six.
In Luxembourg, a Kindergarten is called Spillschoul (literally "Playschool", plural Spillschoulen). It is a public education facility which is attended by children between the age of 4 (or 5) and 6 when they advance to the Grondschoul (elementary school).
The Macedonian equivalent of kindergarten is detska gradinka (детска градинка), sometimes called zabavishte (забавиште) when the kids are younger than 4 years. Detska gradinka is not part of the state's mandatory education, because the educational process in the country begins at the age of 5 or 6, i.e. first grade.
In Malaysia, kindergarten is known as tadika. Most kindergartens are available to children of ages five and six (and some are available to children as young as four). For children up to the age of three (or four), there are pre-school playgroups. There are no fixed rules for when a child needs to go to a kindergarten, but the majority will when the child turns 5 years old. The child will usually attend kindergarten for two years, before proceeding to primary school at age 7.
In Mexico, kindergarten is called 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"). The kindergarten system in Mexico was developed by professor Rosaura Zapata, who received the country's highest honor for her contribution. 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.
In 2002, the Congress of the Union approved the Law of Obligatory Pre-schooling, which 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.
In Mongolia, kindergarten is known as "цэцэрлэг" or tsetserleg. As of September 2013, there are approximately 152 kindergartens registered in the country. From those 152 kindergartens, 142 are state owned. Children begin kindergarten at the age of 2 and finish it by 5. The education system before kindergarten in Mongolia is called "ясль", which accepts children between 0 and 2 years of age.
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, kindergartens are run as private institutions, with their lessons conducted in English. The kindergarten education in Nepal is most similar to that of Hong Kong and India. Children start attending kindergarten from the age of 2 until they are at least 5 years old.
The kindergartens in Nepal have the following grades:
- Nursery/playgroup: 2- to 3-year-olds
- Lower Kindergarten: 3- to 4-year-olds
- Upper Kindergarten: 4- to 5-year-olds
In the Netherlands, the equivalent term to kindergarten was 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 slightly 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). For children under 4, the country offers private, subsidized daycares (kinderdagverblijf), which are non compulsory but nevertheless very popular.
In Norway, barnehage (children's garden) is the term equivalent to kindergarten, used for children in the ages between 10 months and 6 years. The first barnehager were founded in Norway in the late 19th century. Although they have existed for 120 years, they are not considered part of the education system. They are both publicly and privately owned and operated. The staff, at minimum the manager, should be educated as førskolelærer (pre-school teachers). The children spend most of the time outdoors. There is also an institution called barnepark (children's park), which does not have to have certified staff.
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 is classified into:
Early childhood education was strengthened through the creation of the Early Childhood Care and Development Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8980). In 2011, the Department of Education disseminated copies of the Kindergarten Education Act through Republic Act No. 10157 making it compulsory and mandatory in the entire nation. As a provision in this law, children under five years old are required to enroll in a kindergarten in any public elementary school in the country. This goes with the implementation of the K-12 system in the Basic Education Curriculum.
In Romania, grădiniţă, which means "little garden", is the favored form of education for preschool (under-6 or -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 (dyetskiy sad, literal translation of "children's garden") is a preschool educational institution for children, usually 3 to 6 years of age.
Kindergartens in South Africa provide up to three years of preschool 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.
In Spain, kindergarten is called infantil, ciclo infantil or guardería, and serves children from 3 to 6 years of age. It's commonly known by some people as parvulitos.
1º ciclo de Educación Infantil (from 0 to 3 years of age) 2º ciclo de Educación Infantil (from 3 to 6 years of age)
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, religion, mathematics and more.
In Sweden, kindergarten activities were established in the 19th century, and have been widely expanded since the 1970s. The first Swedish kindergarten teachers were trained by Henriette Schrader-Breymann at the Pestalozzi-Fröbel Haus, which she founded in 1882.
While many public kindergartens and preschools exist in Taiwan, private kindergartens and preschools are also quite popular. Many private preschools offer accelerated courses in various subjects to compete with public preschools and capitalize on public demand for academic achievement. Curriculum at such preschools often encompasses subject material such as science, art, physical education and even mathematics classes. The majority of these schools are part of large school chains, which operate under franchise arrangements. In return for annual fees, the chain enterprises may supply advertising, curriculum, books, materials, training, and even staff for each individual school.
There has been a huge growth in the number of privately owned and operated English immersion preschools in Taiwan since 1999. These English immersion preschools generally employ native English speaking teachers to teach the whole preschool curriculum in an "English only" environment. The legality of these types of schools has been called into question on many occasions, yet they continue to prosper. Some members of Taiwanese society have raised concerns as to whether local children should be placed in English immersion environments at such a young age, and have raised fears that the students abilities in their mother language may suffer as a result. The debate continues, but at the present time, the market for English Immersion Preschools continues to grow.
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. Many preschools and kindergartens where closed previously in light of economic and demographic considerations.
The term kindergarten is never used in the UK to describe modern pre-school education; pre-schools are usually known as creche, 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. Historically the word was used during the nineteenth century when activists like Adelaide Manning were introducing educators to the work of Friedrich Fröbel.
In the UK, parents have the option of nursery for their children at the ages of three or four years, before compulsory education begins. Before that, less structured childcare is available privately. The details vary between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Some nurseries are attached to state infant or primary schools, but many are provided by the private sector. The Scottish government provides funding so that all children from the age of three until they start compulsory school can attend five sessions per week of two and a half hours each, in either in state-run private nurseries. Working parents can also receive from their employers child care worth £55 per week free of income tax, which is typically enough to pay for one or two days per week.
The Scottish Government defines its requirements for 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:
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 ("reception class") and Primary One in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In the US, kindergarten is usually part of the K-12 educational system. While kindergarten was once viewed as a separate part of the elementary program, it is now generally considered the first year of formal education and fully integrated into the school system. In most state and private schools, children begin kindergarten at age 5 to 6 and attend for one year. Though in some states kindergarten is compulsory, as the age for required schooling begins at 5-8 years old. Forty-three states require their school districts to offer a kindergarten year.
In the Waldorf and Montessori schools, children may begin kindergarten as early as age 3 to 4 and stay for several years in a play- and activities-oriented program.