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Preschool vs. Pre-kindergarten: Similarities and Differences

A little girl working on her workbook in her pre-K class


A good quality early childhood education is crucial to a child’s development. It develops the skills that are essential for their success in their future endeavors. When it comes to early education, most parents find it hard to choose between preschool and pre-kindergarten. Both curriculums address the various needs of children, but preschool is different from a pre k program. To help you choose the program that fits your child, here are some points you may want to consider.

Similarities between a preschool and pre k program

Both preschool and pre k curriculums use the same approach. They both use learning through play technique to promote child growth in several different areas. They both aim to achieve child developmental objectives by promoting creativity, problem-solving, leadership and teamwork. In these programs, children are exposed to hands-on experiences and exploring. Kids are given plenty of opportunities to enjoy playing and learning art, science, music, math and a lot more.

Preschool and pre k programs both believe that social and emotional growth should be nurtured in a child’s early years. For this reason, their education requires teachers who are capable of creating healthy and safe environments where kids can build connections and relationships with their peers. They make use of daily interactions, teaching and mentoring to teach social skills.

Differences between preschool and pre k program

One of the main differences between a preschool and a pre k program is the age of the children and the stage of their developmental activities. Preschool classrooms are usually designed for children between 2 to 4 years. Pre k curriculum, on the other hand, is typically for children aged 4 to 5 years old. It is designed to get kids ready for kindergarten through kindergarten readiness activities. This program is focused on more structured skill building and deeper learning. Preschool is generally play-oriented.

Both pre-K and preschool are important in Early Childhood Development


School readiness skills are the focus on both curriculum. Playful activities and group teaching and instruction are injected throughout the day. However, in a pre-k program, children are being prepared for more advanced learning. The instruction provided is geared towards developing their skills in math, science, early literacy, writing and social studies. It is also in pre-kindergarten that fine motor skills are being strengthened while having fun. The classes are also longer compared to a preschool class. In a preschool classroom setting, kids learn how to be independent. They learn to interact with their classmates and cooperate with their teachers. This is where they learn the fundamentals of academics while given adequate time for play and having fun.

Between both, preschool is the one that is perceived as the step or an extension of daycare. It is because it offers less structured approach when it comes to learning. Pre-k programs have a more structured set of activities because it is the actual preparatory step for kindergarten. The curriculum is designed to focus on particular areas of learning as well as structured lessons.

Location is another factor that sets a preschool apart from pre-kindergarten.  Pre k classes are often connected to a wider school environment. Preschools, on the other hand, are usually more isolated. They are not necessarily attached to a bigger school setting.

Importance of a pre-kindergarten education

Pre-kindergarten education allows children to develop their vocabulary and language skills. They also learn other valuable skills by interacting and collaborating with others. As soon as they reach kindergarten, they will continue developing the skills they have learned. They will also gain more confidence when using these skills.

A high-quality pre-kindergarten program can significantly help your child for future academic success. It is also an essential element that builds a child’s self-esteem, confidence, social and emotional skills. It builds a strong foundation that will prepare your child for their following years in life.

If you’re looking for good quality pre-k program in Phoenix for your child’s early education, please consider Elite Preschool.   

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