Talk:Primary education

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Major Clean-up Required[edit]

Despite the length of this article, many important sections and contents expected from any Wikipedia article are simply missing, such as:

  • History of primary education and the nature of primary education in different eras and civilizations
  • Need and importance, effect on children's development, economic impact
  • Different approaches, subjects/skill typically taught in primary school
  • Percentage of children without access to primary education etc.

This article is little more than an indiscriminate list of how old one has to be to go to which class in which country. Apparently everyone who noticed their country to be missing in the list felt the need to be "represented". Instead of giving an encyclopedic view of the topic, it is merely a collection of random very specific information. I have visited this page multiple times and it has gotten worse with time. Geeteshgadkari (talk) 17:57, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Old discussion[edit]

why "K12"? what does it stand for?

"kindergarten through twelfth grade"

The Elementary school section there seems a bit odd - I can't quite tell whether it's basically covering similar ground to the rest of the article, and should be integrated more smoothly; or whether it is something different but the distinction isn't clear enough. It looks to have been added from a stub somewhere, and subsequently ignored. I'd try and fix it, but not being American I genuinely don't know what it's talking about. I'm assuming the system described is that of the USA, although that is currently unclear. Anyone care to lend a hand? - IMSoP 00:02, 6 Dec 2003 (UTC)

  • Agree with IMSoP entirely. As a New Zealander I don't understand this article at all. The grade system needs to be explained because to most of the world's population it is meaningless. Icurite

Please see my comments below in the Grade School section. To elaborate on the grade system, here are the corresponding ages for each grade: Kindergarten = 5-6 years old, 1st grade = 6-7, 2nd grade = 7-8, 3rd grade = 8-9, and so on to 12th grade (Senior year of High School)= 17-18.

There are exceptions for children held back or pushed ahead, and variations depending on state laws establishing cut-off dates for registration (children must be 5 years old as of a certain date to be eligible to start Kindergarten in a given year, but this may change from year to year.) 15:15, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Content moved from Infant school before I made it a redirect page here- if anything is worth salvaging (dubious!) please merge with the Primary School article quercus robur 14:55, 21 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Grade school[edit]

What's grade school? --Abdull 13:25, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

"Grade school" in the U.S. is usually synonymous with "Elementary school": Kindergarten plus the "Grades" 1 through 8. Grades 9-12 are considered "High School", but are referred to as Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years. (The same terms are also used for four-year college programs, which are effectively Grades 13-16, though those terms are never used in the U.S.). Many children in the U.S. now also go through "Preschool" prior to Kindergarten - originally a sort of babysitting service, but now covering much of the material (alphabet, colors, counting, telling time) that was once covered in Kindergarten.

I came to this article because I was surprised that the disambiguation page for "K-8" did not point to Elementary School (K-8 is sometimes used synonymously with Elementary School in the U.S., meaning "Kindergarten through Eighth Grade".) It looks like there once was an Elementary School page but it's been edited out of existence and just redirects here, where any useful information about the term has also been edited out. I would edit it back in, but I don't feel like doing the necessary reference lining-up that will avoid getting it slapped down by an overeager junior editor. 11:47, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Cuisinaire Rods[edit]

Are these really so important and ubiquitous that they need to be linked from here? Why not link blackboards, calculators and pencils too? Rojomoke 15:22, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Grade schools and high schools years (duration)[edit]

Well guys, we need to find out, when number of years changed in usa and worldwide, i do know community colleges came in 1901, but was grade school always 8 or more, we are trying to get this straight and it is of importance.

What about the Constitution?[edit]

Besides the overall shortness of the article, I noticed that it never touched on tax dollars paying for public schools. The blatant disobedience of the U.S. Constitution in modern American society today makes this subject a perfect example. The U.S. Constitution specifically states that no form or branch of government of the U.S. has any right to be involved in education. Being a Republican, I take a tall stand on this subject, as it is completely ignoring the Constitution. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:02, 5 March 2007 (UTC).

I know that this is a lot to take in but please try to keep up.! Did you get that or was there too much to take in, try reading it again, see if that helps. --Brideshead 19:35, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Proposed solution[edit]

The topic of the article can serve as a reasonable marker for where it needs to go, and for many of the concerns voiced above: Primary education is the meta-level topic, while the component parts of primary education, i.e. elementary schools (US & Canada), primary schools (UK, Australia), etcetera, can - and should - each have their own articles. Rather than be facetious or belittling, let's refocus our energy on creating articles that are worthy of their topics. Oh, and one sign of worthiness is attributable-ness. This article, and any developed from it, should be attributable. - Freechild 20:53, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I disagree.[edit]

I deleted the definition of grammar school for the secondary school. It makes no sense to include it. I'm sure the article for grammar school already includes this. This is the elementary school article which should only reflect the elementary part.

I understand that elementary schools are not as common in other countries which primary schools are preferred which I left in the article. I just don't like it when it says elementary school or primary school in the introduction. We should only be talking about elementary school since that's the article. And then later in the article we should say exceptions to the elementary school.

The division between elementary and high school is somewhat arbitrary...that just means the same as the transition...i don't understand why that was changed if it means the same.

Any comments about my change would be greatly appreciated. (MrsMacMan 17:55, 12 June 2007 (UTC))

You have to remember that Wikipedia is an international encyclopaedia not an American encylopaedia. Most of the terminology you've used is completely incomprehensible to anyone outside the US (eg, grades, grade schools, junior high school, etc). Kindergartens mean different things in different countries and in many countries are part of the pre-school system and have nothing to do with primary/elementary school at all. You cannot have a definition for one country and then write the article to make it appear that it covers the use of the words in the rest of the world. High school is also mainly a US term. Other countries would say secondary school or secondary education. The Grammar school page does already provide an explanation of the different uses of the word in different countries so it's probably not necessary to mention anything about secondary schools here. If you want to keep the article in its present form then it needs to be retitled Elementary school (US). If not then the article needs to be rewritten as I suggested with different sections explaining the use in different countries. I'm not sure how many other countries use the words elementary school. If it is only America you must make it clear that the article reflects American usage only. Dahliarose 19:35, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree, the previous version was a good explanation of the wide range of usages. There was much more deleted than stated above. The qualification of "I just don't like it" is really not sufficient to warrant such a massive change. I'm reverting back to the previous version pending further discussion of reasons that the introduction should not be as inclusive as possible. Nposs 19:57, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Elementary schools are becoming quite popular in other countries. For example, Japan. There's a picture of it on the article. How can you say that it is only for the US when clearly there is an elementary school in Japan? (MrsMacMan 20:15, 12 June 2007 (UTC))
The Japanese will have their own word for such a school which would be translated as elementary school or primary school depending on which country you live in. You have not answered any of the points raised above. Your version of the article is completely incomprehensible to anyone outside the US. Dahliarose 20:40, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
You are making this say elementary school is strictly only for the US and that's not even true. I visited other countries and they call it an elementary school. So it's not just for the US. You still didn't answer my question. Of course in Japan, they will have a Japanese word..but when it's would have to be the right word in English. I still don't see your point. (MrsMacMan 03:48, 13 June 2007 (UTC))
Your description of elementary schools describes the situation in America. You don't seem to be able to understand that all countries have different education systems. Elementary school will have a different meaning in different countries. Look at the page for Secondary school as an example. There are major differences in British English and American English and an international encylopaedia has to accept both versions and cannot use exclusively American English and American definitions. I don't understand which question hasn't been answered. You still haven't answered any of the points made above. If you wish to make changes to a long-standing article against the wishes of other editors you must provide references to prove your points. Dahliarose 07:34, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

This is a fine example of how systematic bias creeps into the Wiki. Specifically, the term introduces a perspective bias. Some serious thought should be given to overcoming this, perhaps by merging this article into primary school - the more wide-spread term; or finding a neutral term.Banno 08:03, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

This article was in fact previously a merger of primary and elementary education. Mrs MacMan was the one who thought it best to have two articles. Two separate articles are quite possibly justified, but the different meanings in different countries must be made clear. My Microsoft Encarta dictionary provides the following definitions of Elementary School - 1. US school for early education: in the United States, a school that provides the first four to eight years of basic education. 2. former type of school: a school of a type no longer in existence that was attended by children from the age of 5 until they left at 14. Elementary school was in fact the old name given to schools in the UK in Victorian times, which is presumably how the American usage of the word came into being. Dahliarose 08:58, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I've now done some further exploration and I've been able to expand the article by incorporating a section explaining the usage of the term in the UK. I've removed all references to grammar schools and grade schools from the introduction to the US section. As far as I'm aware these terms are only used in this way in the US and it is confusing to have them in the intro. The US section still needs a lot of work. The grades need to be explained - age eqivalents might help. If Mrs MacMan wishes to make further changes perhaps she could focus on the US section and back up her statements with references. Dahliarose 11:47, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

let me clarify it again...[edit]

Of course grammar school has two different definitions...In America we have a dictionary, do you think it just has US-centric? provides definitions for all over...that's what a dictionary is. so in our dictionary grammar school means elementary school and a private secondary school...

In Japan they have elementary schools...of course they will call it differently because they have a different language than America. How do you say dog in Japanese? A dog in Japanese is the exact same meaning as in America. You can't say that they will be different. So it's like elementary school. The meaning in Japan would be the same as in America.

It all makes sense. (MrsMacMan 13:53, 13 June 2007 (UTC))

We are talking about what an elementary school is called in other countries. The issue is that in other parts of the world that speak English, elementary, primary, and grammar are all used to describe the same thing. It is worth mentioning this in the introduction because this is not the "American" wikipedia, but simply the "English" Wikipedia. Nposs 15:04, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
And in the "English" Wikipedia, you need to keep everything neutral not the UK- and euro-centric terms. It's not just the US that calls it elementary school. In Japan they call it an elementary school. There's even an image on the article. How can you say that there aren't elementary schools in Japan? (MrsMacMan 15:15, 13 June 2007 (UTC))
We are already keeping everything neutral by using both the English and American equivalents (eg high school/secondary school and primary education/elementary education). You don't seem to understand that there are sometimes major differences between American English and British English. We have to include both meanings to make everything clear for readers from all countries. Japanese-American dictionaries and Japanese-English dictionaries will translate words in different ways according to local usage. Americans have sidewalks; the English have pavements, etc. Dog has the same meaning in both British English and American English. As I think we have proved here elementary school has a variety of meanings depending on where in the world you live and at what time. There will be no direct English-language equivalent of the name for the equivalent Japanese school. The American translation from the Japanese is elementary school and the English translation is primary school. Dahliarose 15:32, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Page title[edit]

The move was clearly not uncontroversial, and was made arbitrarily. I have returned the article to its original title (per WP:MOS), and move protected it to allow this to be discussed. Please do so here. Neil  16:39, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

I think there is a distinct need for two separate articles. Apart from the American use of elementary school the term also has a historical meaning in the UK. The paragraph which I spent some time preparing to explain this historical usage has now been lost with this present move and doesn't belong in an article on primary schools. It was not the move which was controversial but the re-naming of the previous primary school article to elementary school and the change of the content to focus purely on the US. I've spent a long time sorting out the mess created by Mrs MacMan. My most recent edits to both these articles have now I believe addressed these problems and the new articles are much improved. There is a precedent as there are already separate pages for High school and Secondary school to explain the usages in different countries.Dahliarose 17:00, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I would think two articles would be acceptable. Do you have copies of the two? Neil  17:17, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
This is the best version of the Elementary school article which was I believe fairly neutral and had resolved all the issues:

[1]. I can't seem to access the newly created Primary School article now. Presumably it will still be stored somewhere on the servers and will reappear once the redirects have been removed. It was only quite short and could be redone if necessary. Primary school seems to have a different meaning in the US. I think we really need the two separate pages to make sure that both terms are properly explained. However, just to complicate matters for you Mrs Mac has just created a new article for Elementary school! I hope you can sort out the mess! Dahliarose 17:48, 13 June 2007 (UTC)


That is so unfair! This article is completely not neutral. Why does the US and other countries have to accommodate for the United Kingdom? UK wants everything their way. They hate America that's why they have a completely different term. (MrsMacMan 17:00, 13 June 2007 (UTC))

Why should the rest of the world accomodate the US? This sort of issue has come up thousands of times before, and so it is determined by guideline ... WP:MOS#National_varieties_of_English says "If an article has evolved using predominantly one variety, the whole article should conform to that variety, unless there are strong reasons for changing it". Neil  17:15, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Well then I think that elementary school should have an article as well. There are other countries that use elementary schools too. (MrsMacMan 17:17, 13 June 2007 (UTC))
I honestly think that elementary school should have it's own even says that UK was formerly an elementary school. Wouldn't it make sense to place that in the elementary school article? (MrsMacMan 19:25, 13 June 2007 (UTC))

Requested move[edit]


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support - as nominator. After the turmoil of recent days I can't help but feel that this article might be better re-worded to suit the namespace Primary education and be located there. The phrase would be slightly more inclusive of elementary & other labels for first-level education. There are several other reasons for my suggestion:
  • It would fit better in the Category:Educational_stages structure between Preschool education and Secondary education
  • It would fit the broader sense of the article which refers to several types of primary education
  • It would align with common international use, for example the terminology used by UNESCO ([2])
  • It would align with the terminology currently used in the Education article.
  • It would allow other nations' sections to be introduced/developed to indicate how primary education is provided within that country.

Folk may also feel that a separate 'Primary school' entry need still be maintained, although I remain unconvinced about that myself at this stage. Any thoughts? Tafkam 21:54, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

There are currently separate entries for other "xxxx school" and "xxxx education" topics. Just pointing this out; I have no opinion on the matter, really. --- RockMFR 02:52, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose I don't agree with the proposed move. There is a clear need for a new page dealing with primary education which could potentially develop along the lines of the existing page for Secondary education with an explanation of the system in different countries. Some of the existing content of the present 'Primary school' article could be moved there. However, I feel strongly that we should retain a separate page for 'Primary school' and 'Elementary school'. The two terms have different usages in different countries and at varying times in history. Types of school are key concepts in an encyclopaedia and must be properly explained. At the very least there should be two separate pages for Primary education and Primary school, both of which should make clear that elementary is the preferred term in some countries. There are already lots of articles about the various types of Secondary school and we need to have the same coverage for primary/elementary schools. Dahliarose 07:57, 14 June 2007 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

Okay - I'm happy with the suggestion that the two articles should be separate, but I would argue that the bulk of the content on this page would belong on the primary ed article with mostly new info for primary school. Just needs someone to write them, I guess? Tafkam 21:02, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm happy to sort it out. I agree that the bulk of the content should go on the primary education page (which in fact was what this page was called until all the chaos started). I'd like to create separate pages for primary school and elementary school. I now have some further historical UK historical information to add to an elementary school page. I'm not sure what the procedure is now. Can all the blocks be removed so it can be sorted? As this page was originally called primary education perhaps it might be best to rename the page primary education and start a new page called primary school to preserve this existing talk page on the primary education page.Dahliarose 22:09, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
I've now done a draft of three separate articles for primary education, elementary school and primary school which can be found in my sandbox User:Dahliarose/Sandbox. The references don't work properly while everything is on one page but if the material is cut and pasted onto three separate pages then they should work in the normal way. There is still plenty of room for expansion. These are all important subjects. What is the procedure? Does an admin now have to approve the changes and all the many related redirects or should I go ahead and make the changes? Dahliarose 11:31, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I've no idea myself, but prefer all your suggested edits to my blunt suggestion of a move. Presumably someone more knowledgeable will arrive soon and abandon the move details. Or can I do that, being the original proposer? Might have to have a look. Tafkam 19:54, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the procedure is. Mrs M has already gone ahead and created an elementary school article. I've now sorted out her new elementary school page and incorporated my existing copy to make it more neutral. I'm not sure where we stand with all the redirects. Were they not blocked? Does an admin have to approve the moves? It's all somewhat complicated as this page was originally called primary education until Mrs M's moves and I'm not sure what the best solution is as far as retaining the talk pages, etc. Dahliarose 20:14, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
And also primary school is only for the first three or four grades of elementary school in the United States. Make sure in the future you add that. (MrsMacMan 20:33, 15 June 2007 (UTC))
Might be worth putting one of those helpme things on your userpage? Tafkam 20:35, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I think we need an administrator here...I feel so bad for causing such pain to both of you. I'm really sorry. (MrsMacMan 20:38, 15 June 2007 (UTC))
who's going to put the helpme on their userpage? should i do it? or you? (MrsMacMan 20:40, 15 June 2007 (UTC))
Might be best if dahliarose does it as she has the copy for the new articles. Would you mind doing that, dahliarose? Tafkam 21:10, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

It would appear that there is insufficient difference between primary school and elementary school to justify having two articles. As it stands, the articles reproduce much of the same material. I am going to revert elementary school to a re-direct. I would ask that that page not be edited again until there is a consensus. Doing so may result in that page begin protected. My reasons for this action are as follows:

Banno 22:00, 15 June 2007 (UTC) If a consensus is reached that Elementary school should remain a redirect, it will be necessary to do an article merge. Please contact me on my talk page if you need further support. Banno 22:05, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I was just about to post a help note on my talk page to get some help to get the new articles in place when I discovered that we were back to square one again. I have left some comments on Banno's talk page. I hope we can get this sorted once and for all. I thought we already had reached a consensus to have the three separate articles as per my proposal. If time had been taken to read the proposed new articles it would be quite apparent that there is no problem with duplication. A lot of content on this page will not be appear once the new article is in position. Dahliarose 22:21, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Google search test needs to be re-done[edit]

The google search tests cited by Banno comparing "primary school" and "elementary school" do not use the criteria specified in the Wikipedia:Naming conflicts article, which says to ... "compare alternatives surrounded by quotation marks." Using the quotation marks makes the google search look for an exact phrase rather than pages that merely contain all of the words in the phrase. Banno did not search for the exact phrase which, as I found in my re-test, makes a big difference in the results.

As a re-test, I did 4 google searches, all configured to search English only articles. Additional criteria are listed in each bullet item:

These two searches do not follow the guidelines set forth in the Wikipedia:Naming conflicts article:

  • Contains all words primary + school -- 60,600,000 [5]
  • Contains all words elementary + school – 27,500,000 [6]

These two searches do use the guidelines set forth in the Naming conflict article:

  • Exact phrase “primary school” --- 4,290,000 [7]
  • Exact phrase “elementary school” – 7,850,000 [8]

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but according to my understanding of the Naming conflicts guideline, and the google search tests I conducted, the term "elementary school" seems to be used considerably more often than the term "primary school." Best, Rosmoran 23:10, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

A Google test is completely irrelevant. Both terms have two distinct meanings. Elementary school is the normal North American usage and is also the historical UK usage (if my elementary school article could be restored then you would be able to see my references for this information). The historical UK elementary school is not the same as an American elementary school. Primary school is the preferred usage in the UK and in all UNESCO countries (again there are references in my articles which were just about to be added until the latest fiasco came along). Primary school is however also used purely in the USA, as far as I can ascertain, to describe schools in America which cater for young children from age five to about eight (the UK equivalent of infant schools). Because of these different meanings in different countries and at different times the two terms are not interchangeable, just as an American high school is not the same as a German gymnasium or an English grammar school. Wikipedia has thousands of insignificant articles about all sorts of schools. Surely any self-respecting encyclopaedia must endeavour to define the various types of school at various levels? In any case the debate about primary school/elementary school is beside the point. This page was initially entitled primary education. Primary education is a core encyclopaedic topic (it is included for example in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Microsoft Encarta, etc). Mrs MacMan changed the title to Elementary school and then the article got messed around endlessly and we now have this awful hotch-potch called Primary school which is a mix of what should essentially be three separate articles. Dahliarose 00:07, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
The Google test is relevant provided the terms are synonymous. The main question here may rather be whether there is sufficient material to write distinct articles. Banno 01:47, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

The source I used for the guidelines for the test is:

  • The Google test. Using Google's advanced search option, search for each conflicting name and confine the results to pages written in English; also exclude the word "Wikipedia" (as we want to see what other people are using, not our own usage). Note which is the most commonly used term.

from Wikipedia:Naming conflict#identification of common names using external references, which does not specify quotes. But I accept Rosmoran's point, since it seems to me that searching for the exact text is reasonable in this case. Banno 01:29, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Dahliarose, I can't see that you have demonstrated the case for three articles. There are, you say, apparently at least two quite distinct meanings for both elementary school and grammar school; should we then have articles for elementary school (English) and elementary school (US)? Then what of elementary schools elsewhere in the English speaking world? Unless there is sufficient difference to give us three articles that are any more than stubs, it would seem to me that the best approach will be to have as few articles as possible to start, and leave open the possibility of splitting if the article becomes too long - but they are a good distance from this as is! It is a much simpler thing to split an article than to merge them, and it is better to have one decent article than three repetitive stubs. Banno 01:42, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

My recommendation - and it is only a recommendation - would be to write one decent article, with a clear explanation of the differences in terminology up front, and once this article is stable, if you think it too long, look at the possibility of splitting it and creating a disambiguation page. Banno 01:42, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for clarifying the search you performed. I used the "tie-breaker" standard in the naming conflicts article, explained a few paragraphs after the one you used. Incidentally, I went to your search results and used the Advanced search function from that page as the basis for my search, so that our searches would be identical except for the placing the terms in quotation marks.
In any event, I'm glad that we agree on the outcome.

Dahliarose, I completely agree that the terms "elementary school" and "primary school" are not synonymous in the US. The search information I posted was only in response to Banno's assertion that "primary school" as a term is used much more often than the term "elementary school."
The precise usage of the term "primary school" in the US is slightly muddled because there are a *very few* actual schools that use the term "primary school" as part of the school name, as in "Primrose Primary School." They are usually private, and tend to serve very young children, as you say. Another term for this in the US is "early childhood education." The far more frequent usage in the US, however, is to use the term in a general way to refer to the "primary grades," usually meaning K-2, but sometimes extending through 3rd. For example, "Children who do not acquire basic reading skills in primary school have difficulty when they reach 4th grade where the curriculum shifts from learning to read to reading to learn."
I have no opinion about how or whether to divide up the article/articles. If it would be helpful to have a 3rd party look at the issues, I'd be happy to try to help.
Rosmoran 03:09, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

All sorted[edit]

I've now updated this page so that it focuses specifically on primary education. I hope that people from other countries will be able to expand the article and fill in the various country sections. I've also created new pages for Elementary school and Primary school. Now that Mrs MacMan aka User:Lanna9013 has been identified as a Sockpuppet and has been blocked from editing, it has been possible to remove the duplicated content from the elementary school page which was previously only there to stop her constantly reverting and redirecting everything. I hope I've demonstrated that there is a clear need for an article on elementary schools. I don't want to create separate articles for US and UK elementary schools at present but if the content does get expanded further then this could be a possibility. I agree that we don't want a forest of stubs. I've incorporated Rosmoran's helpful explanations of the American system in the Primary school article. The article is really only a stub at the moment but I think it is important to have the differing meanings clearly defined on a separate page. The article could potentially be expanded with international equivalents along the lines of the existing Secondary school article. If we had these articles in place before Mrs MacMan came along we wouldn't have had all this mess to sort out as there would have been no dispute over the various meanings. Dahliarose 14:26, 16 June 2007 (UTC)


All the redirects for this article and the other associated articles are now in order. Elementary education currently redirects to primary education. I wondered it might be better to redirect it to Elementary school instead? Do Americans tend to use elementary school as a synonym for elementary education? Dahliarose 11:59, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Well, Americans in general aren't really familiar with the terms "primary education" and "secondary education." Most intellectuals will recognize the terms but they are mostly used only by education specialists (people who study and/or work at university-based graduate schools of education). Most Americans, intellectual or not, describe their education in terms of the schools they went to. They'll say, I went to elementary school at (school name), and then I went to middle school at (school name), and then I graduated from (name) High School in (year).
So the point is, if you ask Americans where they went to school, or to describe their education, they'll understand, but if you ask them to describe their "primary education," or even their "elementary education," they'll look at you funny for a few seconds before they figure out what you're talking about.--Coolcaesar 07:34, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Maps - compulsory, free[edit]

It would be interesting to have maps showing 1.) where primary education is compulsory, and 2.) where primary eduction is available for free from the government. -- Beland (talk) 17:52, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Vandalism in lead[edit]

"In most countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education, though in many jurisdictions it is permissible for Teehee" - I'd fix it myself but I can't find a version before that - looks like it's been there a while. Jonathan Hall (talk) 01:52, 2 December 2011 (UTC)


Is there enough information here and in Primary school that it can stand alone, or can they be merged? Caduon (talk) 07:37, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

There is far too much material in the separate articles on Primary school and Elementary school to make a merge practical. Dahliarose (talk) 12:25, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
They should be merged, since the two names are just English language variants. It comes under Wikipedia:Naming_conflict#National_varieties_of_English. The earliest name should be used, which is Primary school. However the actual merge request is to merge both articles into Primary education, which does also look like another version of the same thing. Merging these articles in practice should be easy enough since they are just by-country listings. ghouston (talk) 02:53, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Some of the country by country content probably moved into the primary education article, but there is a real need for separate pages on primary school and elementary school They mean very different things in different countries and at different points in time. Dahliarose (talk) 13:02, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
I have now completed a merge of the coutry by country content from Primary school and Elementary school into this article. Fyi, I am now proposing a merge of Elementary school into Primary school on talk:Elementary school. PeterEastern (talk)
Thanks for doing this. This is mostly fine but the historical material on elementary schools in England does not belong in an article on primary education. The split between primary and secondary education is a twentieth century innovation. An elementary school was the only type of school available for the general population. This meaning needs to be preserved in a separate article. It also makes no sense to merge elementary school and primary school as the terms are not synonymous. From what I understand elementary schools in America cover very different ages. Dahliarose (talk) 11:07, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I do agree with you. Personally I will be supporting a refocusing of the primary education article around the theory and practice of educating this age group, there is plenty of content here which probably belongs elsewhere, and it is very thin on the theory of education. The primary school article does indeed need to show neatly and clearly how it progressed from be all the education many people received before leaving school at a relatively young age to being what it is now. For starters I am keen to merge all the school articles for that age range and the switch focus to this one. PeterEastern (talk) 12:20, 6 December 2013 (UTC)


The lists of the ages of students in each grade for each country seems to take up a lot of room relative to their usefulness, IMHO. Can they be replaced by age ranges, (say start to end of education), and let the readers fill in the middle?

It seems like there should be plenty more to say about this topic; I'll try to find a wikiproject to help, and give it an appropriate expert tag.

--Caduon (talk) 07:43, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

There is a separate article on Educational stage. The information about all the age ranges really needs to go in there instead. A lot of the ages now included in this article refer to secondary education and not primary education. I think it was also suggested somewhere that primary education should be made into a separate article. I think this would make sense. The article could then be linked from this article and the articles for Primary school and Elementary school. At present editors keep adding the country by country information to all three articles depending on which one they find first and which term they use in their particular country. Dahliarose (talk) 11:07, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

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