What is the average preschool age?
In the United States, most parents send their children to Preschool at age 4 or 5 (some children commence preschool at 3 years old, but would turn 4 during that year). Preschool is a form of early childhood education, known in most countries outside the US as Kindergarten (In the US, Kindergarten is the first year of Elementary School).
Preschool usually refers to the final year before a child enters elementary school and is not currently compulsory in the United States. However, moves have been recently underway to move towards a compulsory system, requiring attendance at Preschool by all 4-year old children.
What is the difference between ‘Preschool’, ‘Pre-K’ ‘Nursery School’ and ‘Pre-Kindergarten’?
‘Preschool’ is a catch-all term that covers pre-elementary school education. Typically this translates to students who are 4 or 5 years old. ‘Preschool’ can incorporate Nursery Schools and Pre-Kindergarten (which is also known as ‘Pre-K’). While we like to think our resources are accessible and many are appropriate to very young children, this site and its resources are targeted at those children who will be entering elementary school the following year.
When does school become compulsory?
The first year of formal, mandated education is ‘Kindergarten’ which, in the United States, is the first year of Elementary School.
Most students commencing Kindergarten are either 5 or 6 years old. While it is technically possible for a student to commence school at 4 years I would advise against this in almost all cases. While a child might well be ready academically to handle the curriculum, developmentally, emotionally and socially it’s really important that they remain alongside peers their own age.
Where a particularly intellectually curious child shows a lot of promise, it is of paramount importance that they remain engaged and are provided with sufficiently challenging work. There are ways to achieve this without isolating them from their own aged peers, and I would recommend skipping only as a last resort.