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Pre-school education embraces all formal and informal education before the age of six (when compulsory schooling starts). It includes tots and toddler programmes, play school, nursery school (collectively known as pre-kindergarten) and kindergarten.
In many areas, private classes are offered for children aged from six months to three years. These combine the theory and practice of play groups and day care centres. Many areas also have what are termed ‘toddler’ or ‘tot’ programmes, which usually accept children from two to four years of age. Activities generally include arts and crafts, music, educational games, perceptual motor activities and listening skills. Most communities also have informal community schools or learning centres, playgroups, morning programmes at local YWCAs, and other inexpensive alternatives to private schools. Community colleges also offer a variety of courses for small children, e.g. painting, dancing and cooking, once or twice a week, e.g. on Saturday mornings.