A Kindergarten is the term used for a group or class that is part of a public school program, and is taught during the year preceding first grade. In other words a kindergarten is a pre school for children of ages 4 to 6 to prepare them for primary school The role of kindergarten education should be to set the children onto the path of life-long learning. For such a sure start to be realized, a major aim of kindergarten education is to support and foster the holistic development of the child.
The term kindergarten meaning a garden of children was first coined by a German educationist, Friedrich Frobel. He was a free thinker and believed that children should be allowed to develop their potential themselves. This revolutionary idea gave birth to the world’s first kindergarten. Frobel opened the first kindergarten in 1840 at Bad Blankenburg in Germany where a few years earlier he had opened a play and activity school.
Basically a kindergarten allows the children of ages 4 to 6 to come out of their home environments for the first time without their parents. Here they learn the – how to – of many things. They learn how to play, communicate and interact with other children of similar ages. The most important of all they learn how to share and behave in public. It is a stepping stone of their later behavior in society. The children also learn how to use the language the basics of everyday vocabulary, rudimentary math and simple science.
In different states
- In Australia, in New South Wales the terms primary school and kindergarten are used interchangeably, while in Victoria the terms kindergarten and preschool are used.
- In China as well as France kindergartens means preschools but in France they are not part of the school system.
- In Germany, kindergartens are not part of the school system and sometimes they are housed together with day care centers and crèches.
- In India, kindergarten schooling is divided into lower kindergarten (ages 3-4) and upper kindergarten (ages 4-5), after which the children enter the formal system in standard I.
- In USA kindergarten schooling is administered as part of elementary school.
- In U.K. kindergartens are called nursery schools and even Reception or Year 0.