Pre-kindergarten (also called Pre-K or PK) refers to the first formal academic classroom-based learning environment that a child customarily attends in the United States. It begins around the age of four or five in order to prepare for the more didactic and academically intensive kindergarten, the traditional "first" class that school children participate in. Pre-Kindergarten is not required. On the other hand, it acts as a way to prepare children (especially those of a disadvantaged population) to better succeed in a kindergarten (often compulsory in many U.S. states). Pre-Kindergarten was also known as Nursery School, but the term was fazed out during the 1990s.

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