kindergarten, nursery school, or day care center?

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Hotmale

Senior Member
Polish
<< This thread is a result of merging several threads on the same topic.
There is another thread that is somewhat related - day care unit = day treatment center ?
panj >>


Hello :)

Are pre school, nursery and play group synonyms or maybe there some differences between them?

Thank you
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Yet Another Jefe

    Banned
    US - English
    Nursery typically denotes the care of infants,
    pre school is a more organized structure including
    learning activities and a play group is often an
    informal gathering of children, usually in a
    neighborhood home under adult supervision.

    That's my understanding, anyway.
     

    jga68

    Member
    United States/American English
    Pre-school refers to a school/institution that children often attend in the year (or two?) before starting kindergarten at age five or six. So you might say that your child is "in pre-school" or that you have to "take them to pre-school."

    Nursery usually refers to a specific place where babies are cared for. For example in hospitals, new babies are cared for in the nursery while the mother recovers. It can also refer to the child's room in a house, but it's not often used in America that way -- I believe it's more of a BE expression.

    Play group is a regular meeting of parents who bring their children together to play with each other. For example, "On Wednesday afternoons, I bring Anna to the play group."

    There's also "play date", which is when two parents make a date for their children to play together. Example: "Let's schedule a play date for Anna and Todd!" (This is a relatively new term -- when I was a child in the 1980s, we just called it "going over to someone's house to play.")

    That's my American perspective -- I'm sure it varies in other English-speaking countries.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Hotmale,

    Pre-school and nursery school is the same thing basically: a structured, school/learning environment for children between the ages of 2-4 years old, although you have to be potty-trained, so I'm not sure how many accept 2 year-olds.

    Daycare, while it is for older children, too, is where Moms ship their babies off to what are, in essence, babysitters for groups of babies. As young as newborns are sent here.

    AngelEyes
     

    namlan

    Banned
    Vietnam
    - a "child-care center" and a "day care center" are the same meaning as "kindergaten", right?

    Thanks a lot!

    NamLan
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    It's spelled "kindergarten", borrowed from the German (meaning "children's garden"), and in the U.S. it is different from a child care center or day care center. Kindergarten is essentially "Grade Zero", a precursor to the first grade in public schools. It's offered by many, but not all, school districts, and is usually a half-day or shortened day schedule. It is based on an academic model, albeit at a very basic level. Kindergarten is offered at a school campus.

    In my understanding, child care centers are for children who are younger than school age and are usually day-long programs that care for the children of working parents. A day care center is similar. In the U.S., many (if not most) day care and child care centers are private but some are operated by the government. Some large corporations have child care centers incorporated into the office complex so that parents can visit their children at lunch or be close at hand in case of illness or accident.

    Some child care and day care centers also have after-school programs to care for the children during the hours after school is out but before the children's parents have finished work. Some institutions, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, will have after-school programs but not any day care or child care.

    There is a degree of overlap, I think, in the terms "day care" and "child care", but they are both different from Kindergarten, at least in the U.S.
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    In British (and for that matter, NZ) English, basically, yes, although sometimes 'kindergarten' (note spelling) has more a sense of being an educational preparation for school, whereas 'daycare' may have more of a sense of just being somewhere parents leave their kids when they can't look after them themselves during the day. If you had a child of, say, 2 in care, I would probably use 'daycare' or something rather than 'kindergarten', which I think of as being for 3 - 5 year olds and much more structured/educational.

    However, in American English, 'kindergarten' is your first year of school.
     

    Rana_pipiens

    Senior Member
    USA / English
    Daycare is a type of child care; typically, the child goes home each day, and the caretakers are not close relatives. For instance, "What are your child care arrangements for Jack?" "He stays with Mom except on Wednesdays, when she volunteers at the hospital. Then he is in (or, goes to) daycare." Used with an article (a/the) it refers to the facility where child care occurs: "Jack goes to the daycare on Oak Street."

    In the U.S., most children start kindergarten at age five. Kindergarten is supposed to ensure that children have certain rudimentary social and academic skills before entering the first grade. Some kindergartens are part of private schools but most are part of the public (government) school system.

    Educational programs/facilities for even younger children are called "preschool" or "nursery school" (an older term). Some, such as Head Start, are government-funded (although not operated), but most are private. The line between daycare and preschool can be blurry: A daycare with an educational component might describe itself as a preschool (and charge accordingly).
     
    In the UK nothing is normally called kindergarten, though the term is widely understood. Nothing is ever normally called day-care either, child-care is used though this includes non-institutional options (childminder, nanny etc).

    Common names for pre-school facilities include:
    • pre-school (general term, but less frequently used as a word for a facility),
    • playgroup (tends to be more for the children benefit than for actual child-care when parents work as it consists of short sessions of 2.5-3.5 hours); the same word is also applied to a group to which parents bring children and have to stay with them)
    • nursery (tends to be longer, can works whole day, geared towards childcare as well as stimulation/education for children, and often, but not always, will accept younger children, eg toddlers, sometimes even infants)

    Any of the above can be run privately (with partial funding from 3 years old) or attached to a school (with places and funding from 3 years old). The facilities attached to a school for 3 year olds are invariably half-day only. In some counties, the same applies to 4 year olds, in others they go to what is called reception class, which is normally full-time, and is essentially a non-compulsory year "zero" in a primary school (starting at 4 years old). Not all counties have it in England, and none seem to in Scotland.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hello amigos!:)

    Do they mean the same? or it´s just a BE and AE nuances?

    Thanks,

    Sam:cool:
    Have you checked out the meaning of "nursery" in your dictionary, Sam? If so, you'll realize that there is more than one meaning of "nursery" in the context of children so, no, they do not necessarily mean the same thing. Please provide some context.
     

    anitaluzzz

    Member
    Spanish - english
    Is there any difference between these words?day care and chilcare. Because I looked them up in the dictionary and they had different meanings but I thought they were the same...And also it said that childcare was a British word and the American word was day care , but the meanings were different, so I don't understand...can anybody explain, please?
     

    Poca Cosa

    Senior Member
    English - US
    When I hear the term "day care," I generally think of a business that provides learning activities as well as just watching over your children. For example: La Petite Academy or Kindercare.

    And when I hear the term "child care," I usually think of someone who watches children in her home.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Both are used in AE and are fairly interchangeable. "Childcare" is probably a little more general and could cover, say, a babysitter who comes to your house twice a week as well as a day care center. But the day care center provides childcare.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I agree with the others and just wanted to underscore that they are not always interchangeable. For example, a church might have a special evening event and include the notice "childcare will be provided", meaning that there will be someone to watch the small children while the adults attend the event. You couldn't say, "Day care will be provided" in this circumstance.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Is there any difference between these words?day care and chilcare. Because I looked them up in the dictionary and they had different meanings but I thought they were the same...And also it said that childcare was a British word and the American word was day care , but the meanings were different, so I don't understand...can anybody explain, please?
    In the US, "day care" can also be used for the care of elderly people: "senior day care" or "day care for seniors."
     

    material

    Member
    Chinese
    What is the difference among these three words?
    Can I combine two of them together? Which two can be combined?
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Hi material. I think these three terms are used very differently in the UK and the US and in the regions that use one or the other variety of English. Which variety are you interested in?
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    Kindergarten is definitely US English - presumably from the influence of German immigrants.
    I think that in the UK very young children usually go to nursery or nursery school.
    A day care centre to me sounds like a place for old or disabled people to go during the day - perhaps it's used in the US for nursery school (I notice you've used the American spelling of centre).
    I have a feeling there's another thread on this topic somewhere...
     

    rusita preciosa

    Modus forendi
    Russian (Moscow)
    In the US:
    Kindergarten: first year of formal education children start at the age 5 or 6. After kindergarten children enter first grade. It can be either public (free for paternts; financed by the government) or private (paid by parents).

    Day care center: private establishments where kids go either during parents' workday or, if they are at school, kept after school until the evening. Like another poster mentioned, this could also be a center for older people, who spend evening/night at home and go to the day care center during caregivers' workday.

    Nursery school: similar to day care center, for babies and smaller children.
     

    Kayta

    Member
    English - Australia
    Hi,
    In Australia, Kindergarten is the first year of formal school attended by all children usually at age 5, although different states vary slightly.

    A day care centre is a place that cares for children aged 6 weeks to 6 years during the day while their parent/s work or study.

    We don't seem to use the term nursery school.

    Pre-school is similar to day care centre but aimed more at the 4 and 5 year olds that will soon be starting school.

    Playgroup is a group of mothers and children that get together usually once a week to play and socialise. Some are quite formal and have a facilitator, others are very casual and run by parent volunteers.
     

    material

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you for all of your replies.
    I think in my country, we tend to go with American system. So if I want to mention a school where children aged 2 to 6 can go and study there, can I call it "Nursery School and Kindergarten?" Or does Kindergarten include the age group I mention above?
     

    rusita preciosa

    Modus forendi
    Russian (Moscow)
    So if I want to mention a school where children aged 2 to 6 can go and study there, can I call it "Nursery School and Kindergarten?" Or does Kindergarten include the age group I mention above?
    Can you provide the context of where and how you will use that phrase, who will be the audience.

    Without any context or background, I don't think you can.

    If you pay better attention to the responses above, you will find that kindergarten is a very specific term (at least in AUS and the US).
     

    material

    Member
    Chinese
    Our company has a kindergarten, where children aged 2 to 6 can enrol.
    The name of the kindergarten is called " X X Kindergarten."

    But now, the government has changed its policy and says if the school "kindergarten" includes children of 2-6, the Chinese name of the school has to be shown to let parents know of what age of their children can study at this school.

    That's why I need to make sure what the exact meaning of Kindergarten and Nursey School.
     

    rusita preciosa

    Modus forendi
    Russian (Moscow)
    You have been given all the necessary information to make the decision yourself.

    Again, in the US and AUS, kindergarten means official obligatory school where children go from the age of 5 to the age of 6. If you say to someone "my son is 3, he is in kindergarten", people would think it is very strange (or that he is a genious and 2 years ahead of his peers:)). On the other hand, if you say "my son is in kindergarten", they would authomatically assume that he is between 5 and 6.

    However, if you are making a translation from Chinese in China for the Chinese audience, that may be absolutely different. I would ask this question in the Chinese forum.
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Nursery school is a BrE term. As are play group and play school. I would not use, nor do I think other British people would use Kindergarten, pre-school or day care centre. I guess China uses more American terms.

    However, a place where children can go during the day which is at their place of work is called a creche.

    I don't think children under the age of 5 study.
     

    Ann O'Rack

    Senior Member
    UK
    UK English
    Ah. I might send a baby to a nursery as a form of childcare while I went out to work. Typically they open at 7.30 - 8.00 in the morning and children are collected at 6.00 in the evening. A nursery may well cater for children up to school age and for the older children the day may well include an element of pre-school education, but its primary purpose would be childcare for working parents.

    A nursery school, on the other hand, would be specifically and educational establishment, and would not have care of the children for all that time. It might have full days the same length as a normal school but could just as likely be just mornings or just afternoons.
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well I couldn't open the second link, but having read the first link, I can't see much difference between a nursery and nursery school other than one being open longer hours.

    Google may well be a wonderful thing, but google is also full of rubbish. I tend to think that people starting a thread can google themselves, they're asking us for confirmation of how to use words in real life.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Nursery school in my part of the world is much more structured than play school or day care ... generally.
    My big granddaughter's nursery school was connected with a primary school and was considered an introduction to the structure and order of "big school". Before that, she attended several play schools.
    My little granddaughter has just begun something that seems to me to be similar to one of those play schools. It is called nursery school.
    Both of these occupy only part of the day.
    Children whose parents both work return to day care after nursery school finishes for the day.
     
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    rusita preciosa

    Modus forendi
    Russian (Moscow)
    But now, the government has changed its policy and says if the school "kindergarten" includes children of 2-6, the Chinese name of the school has to be shown to let parents know of what age of their children can study at this school.
    I have a suspicion that the info provided in this thread may not be relevant for the OP, given the fact that the audience is Chinese + there is a government policy on school naming involved…
     

    Thomas21

    New Member
    English
    Both Kindergarten and preschool are the same thing. Preschool and play groups accept children aged between two and five.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    In my experience, there's a distinction between Preschool and Kindergarten. First of all, preschool is optional. You can put your three-year-old in preschool if you'd like - or not. The Pre means it's learning that may be experiencd prior to actually becoming a student.

    But when your child is of a certain age, he/she must be enrolled in the school system. Kindergarten is the beginning of that school career.

    There used to be a program called "Young Fives" for those children who were judged not to be ready for regular Kindergarten. I'm not sure if that still exists. I'm not a young parent who knows.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    According to the Wikipedia article "Preschool education," whether there is a distinction between preschool and kindergarten or whether they identify the same thing depends upon the country:
    In some places, such as the United States, preschool precedes Kindergarten and the normal primary school system. In others, including much of Europe, preschool and Kindergarten programs are the same early childhood education programs.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Then I guess it depends on which system you want to represent. This difference doesn't surprise me. Until I started coming to the forums, though, I hadn't realized how different we really are when using the same terms.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Then I guess it depends on which system you want to represent. This difference doesn't surprise me. Until I started coming to the forums, though, I hadn't realized how different we really are when using the same terms.
    Wikipedia may be correct in referring to "much of Europe", provided that it does not include the UK in that group.
    Here, kindergarten is not necessarily pre-school, it is often the early years of compulsory school. That was certainly the case in the school I attended.
    Unless I'm mistaken, AE and BE are at one on this, even if the non-English countries of Europe use the term differently.

    Hmm. A quick look around indicates considerable flexibility in UK usage.
     
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