According to the proper English usage, a preparatory school or a prep school is an independent, usually a private, school that prepares children for formal secondary education. The definition of preparatory school in India and the age for preparatory school in India is somewhat similar to the system followed in the United Kingdom. This is essentially a result of our British Colonial history.
However, the perception in the United States and Canada is a bit different where the shortened/abbreviated term ‘prep school’ refers to a University-preparatory school. In North America, secondary education is very discerning and entry to a formal educational institute is less competitive. In the United States ‘preparatory’ school graduates enter a college or university.
Such kind of a secondary, private ‘preparatory’ school definition is found among selected countries such as Japan. The age for gaining entrance in a ‘pre-prep school’ in UK is parallel with the age for preparatory school in India. An easy-to-follow summary regarding age for preparatory school and further education in India —
STUDENT GROUPS AGE
• Playgroup/preparatory / 2 + years preschool
• Nursery 2-and-a-half + years
• LKG 3-and-a-half + years
Keeping in mind the increasing competition in senior secondary schools and the importance of scoring good marks which eventually pave the path for entrance to a college, the age for preparatory school in India cannot be regarded as too immature. However, it may seem that sending a child to a ‘school’ at the age of 2/3 is hampering their natural childhood development but the fact-of-the-matter is that a preparatory school has become essential and in fact aids in the holistic development of a child physically, intellectually and psychologically. It equips the students with better learning, cognitive, communication and behavioural skills.
Besides this, the mental conditioning that a child undergoes in a playschool/preparatory school is essential to make sure that the child develops social adaptability. A few hours spent playing and learning in the company of other children, under professional supervision, can’t be really questioned. In addition, preparatory schools lay the foundation for students to make them more adept at learning and adjusting in a formal senior secondary educational set-up.