Are Pre-K And Preschool The Same Thing?


Many parents use the terms preschool and pre-K interchangeably, mistakenly believing they are the same thing. While they are similar in many ways, the also differ in some significant ways. Generally, attending preschool is entirely optional and you are free to choose any preschool you wish. But, when it comes to pre-K, your school district may require attendance in its program before your child is allowed to enter kindergarten. Understanding the differences between the two will help you prepare for your little one's transition into the educational system.

What is Pre-K?

All children are tested on a wide range of skills before they enter kindergarten. This includes both receptive (the ability to understand what he hears) and expressive (the ability to express feelings and thoughts in words), language skills, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills, self-care skills and other school readiness skills. These tests are designed to determine whether your child is ready and able to meet the expectations of a typical kindergarten classroom. If your child tests low in any of the areas, he may be required to attend pre-K. This does not mean that your child cannot or will not develop the skills. Because all children develop at different rates, it simply means he is not ready yet. Children may sometimes be referred to pre-K after the first few weeks of school, if they exhibit difficulty with social and self-care skills. Giving the child an extra year of age-appropriate experiences typically takes care of the problem and your little one can enjoy a successful academic career. Pre-K is limited to children of legal school age in your state and is funded by your school district.

What is Preschool?

Preschools are typically private institutions that service children during the preschool years, or children who have not yet reached the legal age to enter school. It generally includes children age three and four. Some preschools may include children as young as two and as old as five, depending on the mandatory school attendance requirements in your state. If your child is legally required to attend school, you cannot send him to a preschool instead, even if he is recommended for pre-K. Many preschools are privately funded and you are responsible for the cost of your child's attendance.

Can a Child Go to Both Preschool and Pre-K?

Children who attend preschool typically do very well in kindergarten and are not commonly recommended for pre-K, but some children do end up attending pre-k after attending preschool. According to Parents, children who attend a quality preschool enter kindergarten with higher math skills, better pre-reading skills, and a larger vocabulary. It further explains that they also have good social skills and have well-developed behavior management skills. If your child is developmentally delayed or has special needs, he may be recommended to pre-K even after attending preschool.

Should You Send Your Child to Preschool to Avoid the Possibility of Pre-K?

Whether you send your child to preschool is an individual choice, but many professionals recommend children attend preschool to prepare them for school. If you have concerns that your child will not be developmentally ready for kindergarten, sending him to preschool for a year or two before he enters school may prepare him and build the skills he needs to enter school as scheduled. Here's why:

  • Teaches children to follow routines.
  • Builds strong social skills, such as learning to share and wait his turn.
  • Encourages interaction with peers.
  • Exposes your child to new experiences, new ideas and new ways of doing things. Preschools often provide educational field trips or invite guest speakers to demonstrate intriguing activities.
  • Encourages curiosity via educational toys and play centers.
  • Introduces pre-reading and math skills with age-appropriate games and activities, such as story time and sorting games.

If your child did not attend preschool and is recommended for pre-k, don't sweat it. These programs are designed to help children master school readiness skills with their peers.

Click here to continue reading about preschool and other options for your child.


8 December 2016

Improving Education At Home

After my children started school, I knew that I had to do something to improve their comprehension. I started slowly by working with them with their homework, and then I slowly gravitated towards working with them to master the core concepts they were learning in school. It was a lot of work, but my efforts really paid off. After about three months, my children's teachers were reporting improved grades and better mastery of most of the core concepts. This blog is here to help other parents to know how to improve their own child's education so that they can enjoy a happier life.