Preschool vs Nursery School – What Exactly is the Difference?

Parents of toddlers will be preparing for their next stage – admitting their little ones in the nursery or preschool. They will be searching for the best from private preschools near me. At this juncture, it is common to get confused about the difference between Preschool vs Nursery School.

On the surface, it appears that both preschool and nursery school are similar. The age group, activities, and set up all look the same. But a closer look at them reveals certain finer differences that differentiate them from one another.

Age group

Nursery schools take in toddlers ranging from 2 years to 7 years, in general. As they need not strictly be regulated according to government rules, the age group that children can join a nursery varies from one nursery to another. Some nurseries consider taking children ranging from one year and a half and above.

When it comes to preschools, the age group is mandated by government guidelines. Most preschools take in students from 3 years up and above. This is because the next stage of preschool is the lower kindergarten, they need children at the age where the real learning begins.


Nursery schools work at their own timings. Some extend till late in the day till 7-8 Pm. They are good choices for working parents who need help with taking care of their children while they are at work. On the other hand, nursery schools wrap up the day a little after the lunch timings. Some work till noon while others extend till 2 PM.

Food provision

Nursery schools offer snacks and meals, and sometimes dinner too. As they extend late in the day, this amenity is found in many nursery schools. You can also let the management know about the food preferences for your child.

In contrast, the pre-schools will supply only snacks for morning breaks. In seldom cases, you can find good preschools offering lunch provision too. As they wrap up the afternoon, you cannot expect them to provide lunch or evening snacks and food.


For onlookers, it may look like both the nursery and preschool teaches rhymes and alphabets. But, preschools adhere to regulated syllabus and curriculum. The syllabus here is planned in such a way that it helps children to learn and grasp the subject in the higher classes.

Nursery schools, on the other hand, are free to teach children in their own way. They use creative methods to teach children. The main focus here is to build sensual grasping in children and develop their learning skills gradually.


For nursery schools, attendance may not be mandatory. Considering the fact that they are designated to help working parents and the age of children is very small, attendance is not a compulsory aspect in nursery schools.

Preprimary schools take into account attendance. As we know that they are guided as per state rules, attendance is one of the mandatory aspects in preschools.

Similarities between nursery and preschool

Looking at the above differences, it may seem like both nursery schools and preschools are different. However, there are certain commonalities between both:

• Parents need to submit vaccination records before admitting their kids to either of these.

• You find a nursery and preschool in one building or separately run by a single management.

• They can be privately run or publicly managed.

• Both of them may offer transport facilities and contain an in-house kitchen.

Also, some schools need your children to compulsorily attend preschool to be eligible to gain admission into a formal school. A nursery admission on another side is an optional one. If you run short of time and helping hand to take care of your child due to your professional and personal reasons, you can join your child in the nursery. Else, parents are free to admit their children straight away in preschool. Whichever is the case, preschool is the one that is compulsory at least in many states.


Both nurseries and preschools differ in little ways. The age group, the attendance requirement, and the way of teaching and curriculum. One common aspect in both is the age group and the care they take. So, which one are you choosing now? Happy parenting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *