Nursery School

Nursery education in Guyana is not compulsory, though most children attend them. Nursery or kindergarten schools, sometimes referred to as play schools are provided by the government as well as private entities. It is essentially a formalised extension of early childhood education and is available to children who are age 3 years 9 months at the end of the first term of the school year. The education section of Guyana's National Development Strategy (NDS), chapter 18, further indicates that the nursery education programme is a two-year programme which focuses on child development.

The introduction of a national nursery education programme occurred in 1976 as part of larger education reforms in the country. The programme is delivered in specially designed nursery schools or in primary schools. Some nursery schools function as feeder programmes for primary schools which are seen as high achievers - gaining entrance into those schools inevitably becomes competitive and sometimes exclusive.

Nursery schools in Guyana since the 1980s have faced serious challenges such as adequate numbers of trained teachers as well as adequate facilities. However, as early childhood education takes on a higher level of importance in development and poverty eradication, efforts are afoot to address those challenges. UNICEF is one body that is involved in addressing nursery education challenges as it is a major funder of initiatives which further childhood development in Guyana and elsewhere.