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From that description, 'Reception' sounds quite like AmE 'kindergarten', and ... perhaps AmE 'kindergarten' and BrE 'kindergarten' have rather distinct meanings?

Certainly in Australia kindergarten is something you go to before you start primary=elementary school. The "first" grade of primary school ... is never called anything but "Prep" btw - although I assume it stands for Preparatory, although I've also seen "Pre-Primary").

US elementary schools typically have kindergarten as the entry grade (even if it is not required, as may still largely be the case), and it is followed by so-called "first grade".
When Coop resurfaces he can provide some helpful, though possibly dated, information in this regard.
Our "kindergarten" is US "preschool" (and indeed that term is occasionally used here, I suspect more in some states than others).[/nq]I'd forgotten about "preschool". Preschool is a term that seemed to be just starting to get popular when I was in the earliest stages of elementary school in the 1973-1975 era, sort of replacing 'nursery school'. I'm not sure how nursery school and preschool differed, if at all (other than in name). "Nursery school", now that I think of it, sounds sort of archaic. My younger brother went to what I think was a preschool (called "The Neighborhood Playhouse", IKYN) before kindergarten (I think), and that would have been around 1976.

I didn't attend nursery school, which I think was mainly the province of the kids whose families had more money. I always pictured it as being like Romper Room , which I used to watch though have little memory of. I'm not sure why my younger brother was sent to that preschool place, but it might have been that my mother had already returned to *** at that time after many years of being what several decades later was called a "stay-at-home mom" (a euphemism for "housewife", a term which was done in by the feminist movement, so that a new term had to be invented when the neo-'50s culture rolled in in the '90s (this Clintonian version of the neo-'50s was quite different from the two previous and benign neo-'50s movements of the 1970s {which gave us Happy Days , Grease , disco, punk, and the rebirth of 'cool' and 'nerd'} and the 1980s {the whole Gekko/Reagan/Astor Place barbershop thing})).
Neither playgroup, kindergarten or even Prep are considered part of compulsory education, which as far as I know starts at Grade 1.

I think of kindergarten as part of the standard elementary school setup (indeed, the common present-day expression "K-12" would suggest that it is), whether or not it's actually compulsory anywhere. Coop wrote some time ago of kindergartens being separate from elementary schools.
"Let a smile be your umbrella" is not particularly good advice.

Any port in a storm.

Christopher ('CJ')
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I realize now that education terms are the most incomprehensible difference between US English and UK English. Parts of cars ... years as opposed to the college years. I wonder whether the UK people find the US terms just as slippery.

It's bad enough being a Brit and trying to understand what other Brits are talking about when it comes to education. I'm only in my early thirties, but the terminology has completely changed since I was at school: "Key Stage 1", "AS Level", "Year 4", "the National Curriculum", and a whole host of other things.
Mind you, our year was (I think) the first that took GCSEs, rather than O-Levels/CSEs, and I still tend to say "O-Levels" when talking about other people's school-leaving exams (even if they're clearly younger than me).

Andrew Gw.
Dylan Nicholson premed:
From that description, 'Reception' sounds quite like AmE 'kindergarten', and ... perhaps AmE 'kindergarten' and BrE 'kindergarten' have rather distinct meanings?

Certainly in Australia kindergarten is something you go to before you start primary=elementary school.

Actually, in Australia the terminology varies from one state to another.
When I was growing up in Victoria, I went to kindergarten at about age 3. When I turned 5 (more precisely, a few weeks before I turned
5) I entered a real school, and was placed in Grade Bubs. I neverfound out the official name of Grade Bubs - possibly it was "infants" - but it was the year before Grade 1. Grade Bubs up to Grade 6 was primary school, and Form 1 up to Form 6 was secondary school.

My children went/go to school in New South Wales, and here the rules are different. Before starting school they spent a couple of years in a pre-school. Their first year in school was called Kindergarten, and after that they proceeded to years 1 to 12. Kindergarten to year 6 was at the time called primary school, and years 7-12 were called secondary school. By now that latter terminology has changed. In their school (and in many others) there is now a three-part division into Junior, Middle, and Senior school.
On occasion I've had to look up the rules in other states. I've forgotten the details, but they were different yet again from the two systems I knew about.
One consequence of having different school systems in different states is that a child who moves between states (regardless of direction) often has to repeat a year, because of unfamiliar elements in the syllabus.
Those differences also complicate the criteria for university entrance. It can be difficult to get into a university in a state other than the one where you finished high school. Of course, these days the fastest way to graduate in an Australian university is to move outside the country and apply from there.

Peter Moylan peter at ee dot newcastle dot edu dot au http://eepjm.newcastle.edu.au (OS/2 and eCS information and software)
From that description, 'Reception' sounds quite like AmE 'kindergarten', and 'nursery' sounds like what was called 'nursery school' when I were a lad. So perhaps AmE 'kindergarten' and BrE 'kindergarten' have rather distinct meanings?

Reception sounds like what we now call Grade 1.
Kindergarten sounds very old-fashioned. I went to kindergarten about half a century ago. It's now called Grede 0.
Infant schools, however, are usually Grades 1-3.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
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Areff filted:
I think of kindergarten as part of the standard elementary school setup (indeed, the common present-day expression "K-12" would suggest that it is), whether or not it's actually compulsory anywhere. Coop wrote some time ago of kindergartens being separate from elementary schools.

K-6 were all at the same school for me...and in fact, I had the same teacher (Miss Sperling) for kindergarten, first grade and second grade, and this was not the traditional "one-room schoolhouse" where several grades were taught together...I never realized it at the time, but I may have been considered enough of a "special case" that this one teacher remained in charge of the class containing me for three years running...I was later told that by the end of second grade, she had been giving me fifth grade math assignments to keep my mind occupied..
Now it takes AUE to approximate the same challenge..r
I realize now that education terms are the most incomprehensible difference between US English and UK English. Parts of cars are easy by comparison. What to call a resident of the UK is tricky but there are limited options and evasions are available.

Yes, there doesn't seem to be a generally accepted noun to describe a UK resident. I suppose "Briton" comes closest. "Brit" is horrible IMO. If pressed, I'd describe myself as a "British citizen", but would normally just say "I'm British".
The discussions are still useful because I can now recognize these as education terms and maybe that they are for the high school years as opposed to the college years. I wonder whether the UK people find the US terms just as slippery.

Yep, we tend to be baffled by terms such as "valedictorian" and "semester", and confused that Americans are still "in school" at the age of 20 or so! (We'd always say "at university".)

John in Wales
The discussions are still useful because I can now recognize ... the UK people find the US terms just as slippery.

Yep, we tend to be baffled by terms such as "valedictorian" and "semester", and confused that Americans are still "in school" at the age of 20 or so! (We'd always say "at university".)

Why would "semester" be a baffling term (so to say) for a Brit(ish person)? Google:
semester site:.uk 374,000
Seems to be popular in lots of universities and other educational institutions, including some often mentioned by AUErs (UMIST, Oxford Brookes).
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Areff typed thus:
Yep, we tend to be baffled by terms such as ... age of 20 or so! (We'd always say "at university".)

Why would "semester" be a baffling term (so to say) for a Brit(ish person)? Google: semester site:.uk 374,000 Seems to be popular in lots of universities and other educational institutions, including some often mentioned by AUErs (UMIST, Oxford Brookes).

It's true, some UK higher education establishments are now working in semesters, but this is a recent change.
UMIST will cease to exist in October, when it will return from whence it came and be reabsorbed back into Manchester University. This is being portrayed as a merger of equals, but it's worth noting that the new establishment will be called Manchester University (OK, this is actually a name change as the current Manchester University is really named "The Victoria University of Manchester").

David
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