The term primary school is derived from the French école primaire, which was first used in 1802.
Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Elementary school is preferred in some countries, especially in North America and Canada.
In the United States, "primary school" may refer to a school with gradesKindergarten through second grade (K-2). In these municipalities, the "elementary school" includes grade three through five. The terms first school or infant school may also be used in North America though these, strictly speaking, refer to different educational programs.
In some places, primary schooling has historically further been divided between lower primary schools (LP schools), which were the elementary schools, and higher primary schools (HP schools), which were established to provide a more practical instruction to poorer classes than what was provided in the secondary schools.