Early Childhood Education around the World
The United Kingdom offers several types of early childhood education provisions. Nursery schools and nursery classes are offered during the regular school term free of cost to three and four-year-olds (but only for a couple of hours a day). A program referred to as “The Early Years Unit” is available during the school term for children three to five years. This program is also available at state-funded primary schools and infant schools.
Rather than kindergarten, children in the United Kingdom can attend a Reception class (or Class R) at the age of four. This class is offered on a full-time schedule during the school term. Reception class is considered the first class students take in the primary system (Scotland does not have a Reception class). In addition to these Department of Education and Employment-funded programs, Opportunity Groups are also available to families who have children with special needs. In the OECD report published in 2000, about 98 percent of three and four-year-olds in the UK participated in these preschool programs.
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