With preschool and nursery school programs becoming more varied throughout the United States, the conundrum for many parents is what type of nursery school, preschool, or Pre-K program is best suited for their child. All of these programs seek to prepare children for kindergarten, but each individual preschool, nursery school, and Pre-K program does this in different environments and with different methods. With that said, preschool versus nursery school becomes a complicated comparison.
Preschool and nursery school mean different things to different people. A nursery school program may be geared to younger children (age 3) while a preschool program is often focused on preparing older children (ages 4 and 5) for kindergarten. However, there are preschool programs for 3 year olds, which begs the question: what is different between this type of program and a “traditional” nursery school?
The answer is: it varies. Instead of focusing on preschool versus nursery school program labels, a parent’s best bet is to research individual programs. For example, does the child have difficulties sitting for long periods of time? If so, a smaller nursery school or preschool program (10 kids or less per class) may offer your child a better chance for success. Montessori schools may be a great option for a child who thrives in an open classroom environment. Larger preschool or Pre-K classes can also be a great way for children to prepare for formal classroom work.
With preschool and nursery school programs ranging between small groups in church basements to large classes in elementary schools, the options for Pre-K programs are endless. In determining whether a preschool or nursery school is best for your child, discuss both the program goals and your child’s strengths with the program instructor in order to determine whether your child is a fit for the program you are considering.