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What Is the Difference Between Nursery and Preschool?

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Can I enroll my one-year-old child in school?” Has this question been crossing your mind over and over again? The answer is, yes, you can enroll your child in school. Most parents do not know that there is a difference between a preschool and a nursery school. Most of them use the term nursery school to refer to preschool.

A nursery school is a daycare; you know where you can take a child who is even six months old? But a preschool prepares children who are 3-5 years old for primary and secondary school. So, as a parent to a one-year-old child, you should be specific with your question. You should be asking, “Can I enroll my one-year-old child in nursery school?” Various features distinguish a nursery school from a preschool, but first, a focus on why it is crucial to enroll your child in nursery or preschool.

The following are reasons for enrolling a child in nursery and preschools;

For Social and Emotional Growth

A child should learn how to relate with others from as early as when they are toddlers. By enrolling them in a nursery or preschool, they interact with other children, developing communication skills, the art of sharing, and empathy by relating to each other’s feelings. If your child is an only child, the development of social skills is difficult and slow. But preschools provide an enabling environment for children to acquire social attributes.

1.   Physical Growth

Physical exercise and play are a priority in these institutions; hence, your child will engage in play and fun activities, which boosts your child’s physical growth.

2.   Prepare a Child for Primary and Secondary School

In preschool, teachers are specially trained to equip learners with the necessary skills and knowledge applicable to other education levels. They mainly focus on exploiting the cognitive abilities of a child.

3.   Allow Parents to Focus on their Work

You will agree that getting someone to babysit your eight-month son as you go to work can be a challenge. Any help with your child comes in handy. Therefore, enrolling a child in a nursery school is a welcome relief to most parents. Now that you are up-to-date on why it is crucial to enroll your child in either a preschool or a nursery school, you should familiarize yourself with the differences between a nursery school and a preschool.

The following are features that distinguish a nursery school from a preschool;

The Curriculum

A preschool follows a stricter curriculum whereby emphasis is on preparing a child for primary school. In a preschool, children undergo formal education like learning their letters and doing preschool math activities, unlike in a nursery school where children mainly focus on play.

The Teachers

In a nursery school, the staff is mainly trained in childcare. The staff focuses on giving the necessary childcare and ensuring the general child’s wellbeing. The teachers in a preschool are trained in early childhood education. Theirs is to prepare a child to transition to primary schools smoothly. Teachers introduce the learners to learning necessary skills such as reading and writing.

The Admission Age

There is no age limit for children attending a nursery school. Even an infant who is six months old is welcome to enroll in a nursery school. However, preschools only admit children between the ages of three years to five years. The children ought to be of the right age to acquire reading and writing skills.

Toilet Training

Most preschools require that children who enroll in these schools are toilet trained before admission. However, nursery schools are open to younger children, some who are even six months old. Obviously, at six months, most children are not potty trained; hence they end up spoiling their clothes. But because most nursery school staff is trained in childcare, they can provide the necessary attention and help. So, as a parent, do not let your child’s inability to use a potty yet deter you from enrolling them in a nursery school.

The Working Hours

Most preschools are often open for 6 hours. So if you take your child to school at 8 AM, you must pick them up at 2 PM. For a parent working for longer hours, a preschool may not be an ideal set up. Nursery schools are more flexible in their timing and can operate even for twelve hours. With a nursery school, a parent gets to go to work and even gets time to buy groceries before picking up their child from school!

A nursery school forms a foundation for preschools. A child who has been to nursery school will not have a hard time adjusting to a preschool. It is best to enroll your child in a nursery school before enrolling them in a preschool. However, if you are available and want to spend more time with your child, there is no harm in enrolling them in a preschool when they are of the right age. But first, familiarize yourself with the differences between a nursery and a preschool before making a decision.