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  1. #1
    janeybwild is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default Pre k vs preschool: what is the difference?

    I'm a bit confused by these terms. I always thought pre-k was something different than "regular" 4 year old preschool (perhaps one year before kindergarten with a heavy emphasis on academics). Some people seem to refer to all preschool as pre-k though (which it technically is). Clarity on this would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    At DS's school (he's now in K there), there is Early childhood Program that consists of an infant room, a toddler room, a twos room, a preschool class (for 3 year olds) and a Pre-K class (for 4 year olds). The preschool class was very much play based, but in his Pre-K class there was a curriculum that was followed for pre-reading. There was a lot more structured learning. I don't know if that's typical of all Pre-K programs, but that was our experience.
    Daniele
    mama to
    dd1 watching over her brothers and sister from Heaven
    ds1 my adorable 8 year old
    dd2 my sweet 5 year old
    ds2 safely arrived 12/12/11 at 36 weeks
    Placenta Increta/c-hyst survivor

  3. #3
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    The way that I use the terms is:

    3yo - Nursery
    4yo - PreK

    Together they are Preschool.
    DD1 - 1996
    DD2 - 1999
    DD3 - 2005

    Surfaces are for working, not for storing. - Peter Walsh

  4. #4
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    Our preschool has toddler 1 and toddler 2 (15 months + and 2+), nursery (3+) and prek (4+).

    Also in the state of FL we have something called VPK (voluntary pre kindergarten) where the state covers a portion of tuition during the last year of preschool. Pretty cool.
    Boy (4/03) -- Girl (12/05) -- Boy (11/10)

  5. #5
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    At our preschool, there is a 3yo (3 days a week) preschool class, a 4yo (3 or 4 days a week) preschool class, and a pre-K class (5 days a week) for kids who turn 5 by December 31st, which is made up of kids who just missed the cutoff and those who were held back.

    The pre-K class follows more of a pre-reading curriculum than the 3 and 4yo preschool classes and focuses on pre-kindergarten readiness skills like independence and responsibility.
    Kristen
    mama to 3 wild and crazy boys - ages 13, 10 and 8

  6. #6
    sste is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    A tangent, but I so MISS the term nursery school! Even two-year old programs in my area are referred to as pre-school. Nursery school was one of those terms that made me smile . . . it was just such a relaxing word association for me.

    Preschool and Pre-K not so much. It makes early childhood sound so preparatory . . . I mean your three or four year old life is being lived at age 3 or 4, not in preparation for age 5 (or 6 as the case may be).

    Obviously, overthinking here but my vote is for a return to the sweetness of the term nursery school for 3-4 and the use of pre-k or bridge to describe special programs for kids who just miss cut-offs or have other issues. And - - as many posters have noted - - for kindergarten to be kindergarten again with a focus on playing, singing, pre-literacy, and encouraging kids to love school!!

    Sorry, OP, I am now dismounting from my literary high horse . . .
    ds 2007
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    baby dd 2014

  7. #7
    baileygirl is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    My son goes to a playbased preschool. They have a 3 year-old class (2 or 3 mornings), 4 year-old class (3 mornings) or a pre-k class (4 or 5 mornings). I was told the pre-k class was more academic.

  8. #8
    icunurse is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    The way it was explained by the school our children attend(ed) is that preschool is about socialization and play and getting used to separation with education tossed in. Pre-k has more of a focus on preparation for K (following rules and instructions, sitting for short bursts of time, more focused academic instruction).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by g-mama View Post
    At our preschool, there is a 3yo (3 days a week) preschool class, a 4yo (3 or 4 days a week) preschool class, and a pre-K class (5 days a week).

    The pre-K class follows more of a pre-reading curriculum than the 3 and 4yo preschool classes and focuses on pre-kindergarten readiness skills like independence and responsibility.
    except that our 4yo class is only 3 days a week and our 3yo class is 2 or 3 days a week.
    Last edited by turtledove; 08-25-2010 at 05:59 PM.
    Kristen
    Mamma to a pretty little princess 3/06, a long awaited blessing 6/11, and a sweet surprise 11/13!

  10. #10
    mikeys_mom is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by sste View Post
    A tangent, but I so MISS the term nursery school! Even two-year old programs in my area are referred to as pre-school. Nursery school was one of those terms that made me smile . . . it was just such a relaxing word association for me.

    Preschool and Pre-K not so much. It makes early childhood sound so preparatory . . . I mean your three or four year old life is being lived at age 3 or 4, not in preparation for age 5 (or 6 as the case may be).

    Obviously, overthinking here but my vote is for a return to the sweetness of the term nursery school for 3-4 and the use of pre-k or bridge to describe special programs for kids who just miss cut-offs or have other issues. And - - as many posters have noted - - for kindergarten to be kindergarten again with a focus on playing, singing, pre-literacy, and encouraging kids to love school!!

    Sorry, OP, I am now dismounting from my literary high horse . . .
    You should move here . The 3 year old programs are generally called nursery. Nursery through K is collectively called preschool. The 2 year old programs are typically referred to as playgroups. K here is 2 years, so there is JK (junior K) - 4 year olds and SK (senior K) - 5 year olds.
    DS - 10
    DD - 7.5
    Twin Girls - 5.5

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