Difference between Nursery and Kindergarten

Key difference: A nursery stands for a preschool, which centers on kids from three to five years of age. A kindergarten refers to the first year of schooling of a child, who is five years old.

Schooling is often considered as a crucial juncture in a child’s life. Reason being that at this stage a child is like raw clay, which makes it easy to mould his/her mind in any direction. It is highly imperative that children receive preschool education because the valuable lessons learnt at this tender age are likely to stay with them for a lifetime. This is the rationale behind the development of nursery and kindergarten.

In general, a nursery takes in children between the ages of three to five. Activities such as learning by play and intuitive learning are emphasized in a nursery. Nurseries help children understand the concepts of studies and school. By and large, a nursery falls somewhere between a preschool and child care in the sense that it is more like a preschool, with subtle hints of child care. However, the curriculum in a nursery is much easier in comparison to a preschool.

A kindergarten focuses on the first year of compulsory schooling of a child, who is five years old. Tailor-made for children of this age, kindergartens in many countries also allow children who’re six years of age, to take admission in the first grade of school. More often than not kindergarten succeeds nursery, which is why it is considered a part of formal education.

Comparison between Nursery and Kindergarten:





Generally, nursery is used to denote a preschool that focuses on the children from three to five years of age.

Kindergarten denotes the first year of formal schooling. It focuses on the children aged five years.


"breeding, nursing," from Old French norture

From German Kindergarten, literally "children's garden"


Nursery schools come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Kindergartens are supervised by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.


Kindergarten programmes are generally scheduled for three to four hours daily, five days a week.

Nursery programmes are normally scheduled for two hours, several days a week.


A 3 year old child can be admitted to a Nursery. Child has to be toilet/potty trained. Normally, nursery education is very expensive.

The child must be 5 years of age by a specific date/month, which is decided by the school.


Pre-school education in nursery classes or schools is fully funded by local government for children aged over three years.

The term kindergarten is rarely used in Britain to describe pre-school education.


Focussing on children from 2 to 3 years of age. They are also known as Playgroups.

Lower Kindergarten - focussing on children from 3 to 4 years of age.

Upper Kindergarten - focussing on children from 4 to 5 years of age.

Image Courtesy: xseedpreschool.com, englishthroughlaxas.blogspot.com

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