Preschool education is the provision of education for children before the commencement of statutory education, usually between the ages of two and five, dependent on the jurisdiction. Preschool is also known as nursery school, day care or kindergarten.
Preschool work is organized within a framework that professional educators create. The framework includes structural (administration, class size, teacher-child ratio, etc.), process (quality of classroom environments, teacher-child interactions, etc), and alignment (standards, curriculum, assessments) components that are associated with each individual unique child that has both social and academic outcomes.
 Developmental areas
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication, including talking and listening
- Knowledge and understanding of the world
- Creative and aesthetic development
- Physical development
- Mathematical awareness and development
Allowing preschool aged children to discover and explore freely within each of these areas of development is the foundation for developmental learning. While the National Association for the Education of Young Children has made tremendous strides in publicizing and promoting the idea of developmentally appropriate practice, there is still much work to be done. It is widely recognized that although many preschool educators are aware of the guidelines for developmentally appropriate practice, putting this practice to work effectively in the classroom is more challenging. The National Association for the Education of Young Children(NAEYC) published that although 80% of Kindergarten classrooms claim to be developmentally appropriate, only 20% actually are.
 Age and importance
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Preschool is generally considered appropriate for children between three and five years of age, between the toddler and school stages. During this stage of development, children learn and assimilate information rapidly, and express interest and fascination in each new discovery. Studies have proven that the most important years of learning are begun at birth. A child's brain at this age is making connections that will last the rest of their life.
Universal preschool is an international movement that has made access to preschool available to families in a similar way to compulsory elementary education. Various jurisdictions and advocates have differing priorities for access, availability and funding sources.
 Methods of preschool education
Some preschools have adopted specialized methods of teaching, such as Montessori, Waldorf, Head Start, HighReach Learning, High Scope, The Creative Curriculum Reggio Emilia approach, Bank Street and various other pedagogies which contribute to the foundation of education.
In the United States most preschool advocates support the National Association for the Education of Young Children's Developmentally Appropriate Practices.
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 See also
- Child development
- Early childhood education
- Nursery school
- Universal preschool
- Comenius Foundation for Child Development