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A kindergarten (German Kindergarten (help·info), literally children's garden) is a preschool educational approach traditionally based around playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school. The first such institutions were created in the late eighteenth century in Bavaria and Strasbourg to serve children both of whose parents worked out of the home.
The name kindergarten was coined by Friedrich Fröbel, whose approach greatly influenced early-years education around the world. The term is used in many countries to describe a variety of educational institutions for children ranging from the ages of two to seven based on a variety of teaching methods.
In 1779, Johann Friedrich Oberlin and Louise Scheppler founded in Strassbourg an early establishment for caring for and educating pre-school children whose parents were absent during the day. At about the same time, in 1780, similar infant establishments were established in Bayern In 1802, Pauline zur Lippe established a preschool center in Detmold.
In 1816, Robert Owen, a philosopher and pedagogue, opened the first British and probably globally the first infant school in New Lanark, Scotland. In conjunction with his venture for cooperative mills Owen wanted the children to be given a good moral education so that they would be fit for work. His system was successful in producing obedient children with basic literacy and numeracy.
Samuel Wilderspin opened his first infant school in London in 1819, and went on to establish hundreds more. He published many works on the subject, and his work became the model for infant schools throughout England and further afield. Play was an important part of Wilderspin's system of education. He is credited with inventing the playground. In 1823, Wilderspin published On the Importance of Educating the Infant Poor, based on the school. He began working for the Infant School Society the next year, informing others about his views. He also wrote "The Infant System, for developing the physical, intellectual, and moral powers of all children from 1 to seven years of age".
Countess Theresa Brunszvik (1775–1861), who had known and been influenced by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, was influenced by this example to open an Angyalkert ('angel garden' in Hungarian) on May 27, 1828 in her residence in Buda, the first of eleven care centers that she founded for young children. In 1836 she established an institute for the foundation of preschool centers. The idea became popular among the nobility and the middle class and was copied throughout the Hungarian kingdom.
Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852) opened a Play and Activity institute in 1837 in the village of Bad Blankenburg in the principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Thuringia, as an experimental social experience for children entering school. He renamed his institute Kindergarten on June 28, 1840, reflecting his belief that children should be nurtured of and nourished 'like plants in a garden'.
Women trained by Fröbel opened Kindergartens throughout Europe and around the World. The first kindergarten in the United States was founded in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856 and was conducted in German.
Elizabeth Peabody founded America's first English-language kindergarten in 1860 and the first free kindergarten in America was founded in 1870 by Conrad Poppenhusen, a German industrialist and philanthropist, who also established the Poppenhusen Institute and the first publicly financed kindergarten in the United States was established in St. Louis in 1873 by Susan Blow.
Canada's first private kindergarten was opened by the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in 1870 and by the end of the decade, they were common in large Canadian towns and cities. The country's first public-school kindergartens were established in Berlin, Ontario in 1882 T Central School). In 1885, the Toronto Normal School (teacher training) opened a department for Kindergarten teaching.
Elizabeth Harrison wrote extensively on the theory of early childhood education and worked to enhance educational standards for kindergarten teachers by establishing what became the National College of Education in 1886.
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Describing the use of the term around the world.
ECD programs were first introduced during the Soviet occupation with the establishment in 1980 of 27 urban preschools, or kodakistan. The number of preschools grew steadily during the 1980s, reaching a high of more than 270 by 1990, with 2,300 teachers caring for more than 21,000 children. These facilities were an urban phenomenon, mostly in Kabul, and were attached to schools, government offices, or factories. Based on the Soviet model, they provided nursery care, preschool, and kindergarten for children from 3 months to 6 years of age under the direction of the Department of Labor and Social Welfare.
The vast majority of Afghan families were never exposed to this system, and most of those who were never fully accepted it because it diminished the central role of the family and inculcated children with Soviet values. With the onset of civil war after the Soviet withdrawal, the number of kindergartens dropped rapidly. By 1995, only 88 functioning facilities serving 2,110 children survived, and the Taliban restrictions on female employment eliminated all of the remaining centers in areas under their control. In 2007, there were about 260 early years centers serving over 25000 children. Though every governmental center is required to have an early childhood center, at present, no governmental policies deal with early childhood and no institutions have either the responsibility or the capacity to provide such services.
In each state of Australia, kindergarten (frequently referred to as 'kinder' or 'kindy') means something slightly different. In Tasmania, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, it is the first year of primary school. In Victoria, kindergarten is a form of preschool and may be referred to interchangeably as preschool or kindergarten. In Victoria and Tasmania the phrase for the first year of primary school is called Prep (short for 'preparatory'), which is followed by grade 1. In Queensland, kindergarten is usually an institution for children around the age of 4 and thus it is the precursor to preschool and primary education. The year preceding the first year of primary school education in Western Australia, South Australia or the Northern Territory is referred to respectively as pre-primary, reception or transition.
In New Zealand, kindergarten can refer to education in the 2 years preceding primary school, from age 3 to 4. Primary Education starts at age 5.
In Bangladesh, the term 'Kindergarten' or 'KG School (Kindergarten School)' is used to refer to the schooling of children attend from 3 to 6 years of age. The names of the levels are nursery, shishu(children) etc. But the view of Kinder Garten Education has changed much from previous years. Almost every rural area now has at least one Kinder Garten School. Most of them are run in the Bangla language medium. They also follow the text books published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) with a light modification, adding some extra books in syllabus. The grades generally start from Nursery (sometimes "Play"), "KG" afterwards, ends with the 5th grade. Separately, though, from the National Education System, kindergarten is contributing greatly to achieve the MDG (Millennium Development Goal).
In Bulgaria, the term detska gradina (деτска градина) refers to the schooling children attend from 3 to 7 (in some cases 6) years of age. The last year of kindergarten is also referred to as preschool. It is elective. The actual school starts as grade 1.
Within the province of Quebec, junior kindergarten is called prématernelle (which is not mandatory), is attended by 4-year-olds, and senior kindergarten is called maternelle,which is also not mandatory by the age of 5, this class is integrated into primary schools. Within the French school system in the province of Ontario, junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten are called maternelle and senior kindergarten is sometimes called jardin d'enfants, which is a calque of the German word Kindergarten.
Outside of Quebec and Ontario, there is only one year of kindergarten, except some private schools offer junior kindergarten for 4-year-olds (school before kindergarten is most commonly referred to as pre-school). After kindergarten, the child begins grade one. The province of Nova Scotia refers to Kindergarten as Grade Primary.
In Chile, the term equivalent to Kindergarten is "Educación parvularia", sometimes also called "Educación Preescolar". It is the first level of the Chilean educational system. It meets the needs of boys and girls integrally from their birth until their entry to the Educación Básica (Primary education), without being considered as compulsory. Generally, schools imparting this level, the JUNJI (National Council of Kindergarten Schools) and other private institutions have the following organization of groups or sub categories of levels:
In China, the equivalent term to kindergarten is 幼儿园 (yòu ér yuán). The children start attending kindergarten at the age of 3 until they are at least 6 years old. The kindergartens in China generally have the following grades:
The public kindergartens only accept children older than 3 years, while private ones do not have such limitation.
Kindergarten is a day-care service offered to children from age three until the child starts attending school. Kindergarten classes (grade 0) are voluntary and are offered by primary schools before a child enters 1st grade.
Two-thirds of established day-care institutions in Denmark are municipal day-care centres while the other third are privately owned and are run by associations of parents or businesses in agreement with local authorities. In terms of both finances and subject-matter, municipal and private institutions function according to the same principles.
Denmark is credited with pioneering (although not inventing) forest kindergartens, in which children spend most of every day outside in a natural environment.
In Egypt, children may go to kindergartens for two years (KG1 and KG2) between the ages of four and six.
In France, pre-school is known as école maternelle (French for "nursery school"). Free maternelle schools are available throughout the country, welcoming children aged from 2 to 6 (although in many places, children under three may not be granted a place). The ages are divided into Grande section (GS: 5-year-olds), Moyenne section (MS: 4-year-olds), Petite section (PS: 3-year-olds) and Toute petite section (TPS: 2-year-olds). It is not compulsory, yet almost 100% of children aged 3 to 5 attend. It is regulated by the Ministry of National Education.
The German pre-school is known as a Kindergarten (plural Kindergärten). There is also a Kita, short for Kindertagesstätte (meaning "children's daycare center"), labeled that way to stress full day care for children, usually also taking children under the age of 3. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 attend Kindergärten, which are not part of the state-run official school system, therefore attendance is optional. They are often run by city or town administrations, churches, or registered societies, many of which follow a certain educational approach as represented, e.g., by Montessori or Reggio Emilia or "Berliner Bildungsprogramm" or Waldorf, etc. Due to the prevalent religions present in Germany, i.e. Roman Catholic and Protestants, even in smaller townships often there are at least one catholic and one protestant kindergarten available. Forest kindergartens are well established. Attending a Kindergarten is neither mandatory nor free of charge, but can be partly or (rarely) wholly funded, depending on the local authority and the income of the parents. All caretakers in Kita or Kindergarten must have a three-year qualified education, or are under special supervision during training.
Kindergärten can be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or longer and may also house a Kinderkrippe, meaning crèche, for children between the ages of eight weeks and three years, and possibly an afternoon Hort (often associated with a primary school) for school-age children aged 6 to 10 who spend the time after their lessons there. Alongside nurseries, there are day-care nurses (called Tagesmutter, plural Tagesmütter – the formal, gender-neutral form is Tagespflegeperson(en)) working independently from any pre-school institution in individual homes and looking after only three to five children typically up to three years of age. These nurses are supported and supervised by local authorities.
The term Vorschule, meaning ‘pre-school’, is used both for educational efforts in Kindergärten and for a mandatory class that is usually connected to a primary school. Both systems are handled differently in each German state. The Schulkindergarten is a type of Vorschule.
Pre-primary Services in Hong Kong refers to provision of education and care to young children by kindergartens and child care centres. Kindergartens, registered with the Education Bureau, provide services for children from three to six years old. Child care centres, on the other hand, are registered with the Social Welfare Department and include nurseries, catering for children aged two to three, and creches, looking after infants from birth to two.
At present, most of the kindergartens operate on half-day basis offering upper, lower kindergarten classes and nursery classes. Some kindergartens operate full-day kindergarten classes too. Child care centres also provide full-day and half-day services with most centres providing full-day services.
The aim of pre-primary education in Hong Kong is to provide children with a relaxing and pleasurable learning environment to promote a balanced development of different aspects necessary to a child's development such as the physical, intellectual, language, social, emotional and aesthetic aspects.
To help establish the culture of self-evaluation in kindergartens and to provide reference for the public in assessing the quality and standard of pre-primary education, the Education Bureau has developed Performance Indicators for pre-primary institutions in Hong Kong. Commencing in the 2000/01 school year, Quality Assurance Inspection was launched to further promote the development of quality Early Childhood Education.
In Hungary a kindergarten is called an óvoda ('place for caring'). Children attend kindergarten between ages 3–6/7 (they go to school in the year in which they have their 7th birthday). Attendance in kindergarten is compulsory from the age of 3 years, though exceptions are made for developmental reasons. Though kindergartens may include programs in subjects such as foreign languages and music, children spend most of their time playing. In their last year children begin to be prepared to attend elementary school.
Most kindergartens are state-funded. Kindergarten teachers are required to have a diploma.
In India, pre-schools is divided into two stages - Lower Kindergarten (LKG) or Junior Kindergarten (Jr. KG) and Upper Kindergarten (UKG) or Senior Kindergarten (Sr. KG). Typically, alower or junior class would serve children three to four years of age, while the upper or senior class would serve children four to five years of age. After kindergarten, a child enters primary school. There are both state and independent kindergartens.
In Italy pre-school education refers to two different grades:
Asili-nido have been settled after a 1971 State Law (L. 1044/1971) and may be ruled either by private or public institutions. Italian asili-nido were originally settled to allow mothers a chance to work out of their home, and therefore were seen as a social service. Today, they have mostly the purpose to help children in growing, communicating and learning. In Italy, much effort has been spent on developing a pedagogical approach to children's care: well known is the so-called Reggio Approach (after the name of Reggio Emilia city, in Emilia-Romagna). Emilia Romagna Region is recognized as a leader for innovative approach to children's education.
Asili-nido are normally settled in small one-story buildings, surrounded by gardens; buildings are always small and usually are suitable for no more than 60 or 70 children. The heart of the asili-nido are the classrooms, split in playroom and restroom; the playroom always has windows and doors leading to the outside playground and garden.
Maternal schools (Scuola materna) were settled in 1968 after State Law n. 444 and are a full part of Italian official education system, though attendance is not compulsory. As well as asili-nido (nursery schools), maternal schools may be held either by public or private institutions.
Early childhood education begins at home, and there are numerous books and television shows aimed at helping mothers & fathers of preschool children to educate their children and to parent more effectively. Much of the home training is devoted to teaching manners, proper social behavior, and structured play, although verbal and number skills are also popular themes. Parents are strongly committed to early education and frequently enroll their children in preschools.
Kindergartens (yōchien 幼稚園), predominantly staffed by young female junior college graduates, are supervised by the Ministry of Education, but are not part of the official education system. The 58 percent of kindergartens that are private accounted for 77 percent of all children enrolled. In addition to kindergartens there exists a well-developed system of government-supervised day-care centers (hoikuen 保育園), supervised by the Ministry of Labor. Whereas kindergartens follow educational aims, preschools are predominately concerned with providing care for infants and toddlers. Just as there are public and private kindergartens, there are both public and privately run preschools. Together, these two kinds of institutions enroll well over 90 percent of all preschool-age children prior to their entrance into the formal system at first grade. The Ministry of Education's 1990 Course of Study for Preschools, which applies to both kinds of institutions, covers such areas as human relationships, health, environment, words (language), and expression. Starting from March 2008 the new revision of curriculum guidelines for kindergartens as well as for preschools came into effect.
In South Korea, children normally attend kindergarten between the ages of three or four and six or seven in the Western age system. (Korean children's ages are calculated differently from Western children's ages: when they are born they are one year old, rather than one day old. Also, every January 1, everyone's age increases by one year regardless of when their birthday is. Hence in Korea, kindergarten children are called "five, six and seven" year olds.). The school year begins in March. It is followed by primary school. Normally the kindergartens are graded on a three-tier basis. They are called "Yuchi won" (Korean: 유치원).
Korean kindergartens are private schools. Costs per month vary. Korean parents often send their children to English kindergartens to give them a head start in English. Such specialized kindergartens can be mostly taught in Korean with some English lessons, mostly taught in English with some Korean lessons, or completely taught in English. Almost all middle-class parents send their children to kindergarten.
Kindergarten programs in South Korea attempt to incorporate much academic instruction alongside more playful activities. Korean kindergarteners learn to read, write (often in English as well as Korean) and do simple arithmetic. Classes are conducted in a traditional classroom setting, with the children focused on the teacher and one lesson or activity at a time. The goal of the teacher is to overcome weak points in each child's knowledge or skills.
Because the education system in Korea is very competitive, kindergartens are becoming more intensely academic nowadays. Children are pushed to read and write at a very young age. They also become accustomed to regular and considerable amounts of homework. These very young children may also attend other specialized afternoon schools, taking lessons in art, piano or violin, taekwondo, ballet, soccer or mathematics.
In Kuwait, Kuwaiti children may go to free kindergartens for two years (KG1 and KG2) between the ages of four and six.
Macedonian equivalent of the kindergarten is детска градинка (detska gradinka), sometimes called забавиште (zabavishte) when the kids are younger than 4 years. Detska gradinka is not part of the state mandatory education, because the educational process in the country begins at the age of 5-6, i.e. first grade.
In Malaysia, kindergarten is known as "tadika". Most kindergarten available to children of ages five and six (and some available to children of ages four). For children of ages three (and some until ages of four), there are Pre-school playgroups for them. There is no fixed rules on when a child needs to go to a kindergarten but majority will when the child turns 5 years old. The child will go to kindergarten usually for 2 years, that is when they are at age 5 and 6, before they proceed to primary school at age 7.
In Mexico, kindergarten is called "kínder," with the last year sometimes referred to as "preprimaria" (primaria is the name given to grades 1 through 6, so the name literally means "prior to elementary school"). It consists of three years of pre-school education, which are mandatory before elementary school. Previous nursery is optional, and may be offered in either private schools or public schools.
At private schools, kinders usually consist of three grades, and a fourth one may be added for nursery. The fourth one is called maternal. It goes before the other three years and is not obligatory. While the first grade is a playgroup, the other two are of classroom education.
The kindergarten system in Mexico was developed by professor Rosaura Zapata (1876–1963), who received the country's highest honor for that contribution.
In 2002, the Congress of the Union approved the Law of Obligatory Pre-schooling, which already made pre-school education for three to six-year-olds obligatory, and placed it under the auspices of the federal and state ministries of education.
In Mongolia, kindergarten is known as "цэцэрлэг" or tsetserleg. As of September 2013, there are approximately 152 kindergarten registered in the country. From those 152 kindergarten, 142 are state owned. Children begin a kindergarten at age of 2 and finish it by 5.
The education system before kindergarten in Mongolia is called "ясль" which accepts children between 0-2 age.
In Morocco, pre-school is known as école maternelle, Kuttab, or Ar-Rawd. State-run, free maternelle schools are available throughout the kingdom, welcoming children aged from 2 to 5 (although in many places, children under 3 may not be granted a place). It is not compulsory, yet almost 80% of children aged 3 to 5 attend. It is regulated by the Moroccan department of education.
In Nepal, kindergarten is simply known as "kindergarten". Kindergarten is run as a private education institution and all the privately run educational instituitions are in English medium. So, kindergarten education is also in English medium in Nepal. The children start attending kindergarten at the age of 2 until they are at least 5 years old. The kindergartens in Nepal have following grades:
The kindergarten education in Nepal is almost similar to that of Hong Kong and India. All the books in private education institution are in English except one compulsory Nepali.
In the Netherlands, the equivalent term to kindergarten was kleuterschool. From the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century the term Fröbelschool was also common, after Friedrich Fröbel. However this term gradually faded in use as the verb Fröbelen gained a slight derogatory meaning in everyday language. Until 1985, it used to be a separate non-compulsory form of education (for children aged 4–6 years), after which children (aged 6–12 years) attended the primary school (lagere school). After 1985, both forms were integrated into one, called basisonderwijs (Dutch for primary education). For children under 4 the country offers private, subsidized daycares, Dutch: kinderdagverblijf, which are non compulsory, but nevertheless very popular.
In Norway, barnehage (children's garden) is the term equivalent to kindergarten, used for children in the ages between 3 months and 6 years. The first barnehager were founded in Norway in late 19th century. Even though they have existed for 120 years, they are not considered to be part of the education system. They are both publicly and privately owned and operated. The staff, at minimum the manager, should be educated as førskolelærer (pre-school teachers). The children spend most of the time outdoors. There is also an institution called barnepark (children's park), which does not have to certified staff.
In Peru, the term nido refers to the schooling children attend from 3 to 6 years of age. It is followed by primary school classes, which last for six years. Some families choose to send their children to primary school at the age of 6. In 1902 the teacher Elvira Garcia and Garcia co-founder of the Society cited above, organized the first kindergarten for children 2 to 8 years old, Fanning annex to the Lyceum for ladies. Her studies and concern for children led her to spread through conferences and numerous documents, the importance of protecting children early and to respond to the formation of a personality based on justice and understanding, as well as the use of methods Fröbel and from Montessori and participation of parents in this educational task.
In the Philippines, education officially starts at the Elementary level and placing children into early childhood education through kindergarten is optional to parents. Early Childhood Education in the Philippines are classified into:
Early childhood education is strengthened through the creation of Republic Act No. 8980 or the Early Childhood Care and Development Act of 2000. In 2011, the Department of Education disseminated copies of the Kindergarten Education Act through Republic Act No. 10157 making it compulsory and mandatory in the entire nation. As provisions in this law, children under five years old will be required to enroll in the kindergarten in any public elementary in the country. This goes with the implementation of the K-12 system in the Basic Education Curriculum.
In Romania, grădiniţă, which means "little garden" is the favored form of education for preschool (under-6 or under-7) children. The children are divided in "little group" (grupa mică age 3–4), "medium group" (grupa mijlocie age up to 5) and "big group" (grupa mare up to 6 or 7). In the last few years, private kindergartens have become popular, supplementing the state preschool education system.
In the Russian Federation Детский сад (literal translation of a children's garden) is an Education Institution for children usually 3 to 6 years of age. It is a Дошкольное образовательное учреждение (preschool educational institution).
Kindergartens in Singapore provide up to three years of pre-school programs for children aged between three and six. The three-year program, known as nursery, kindergarten 1 (K1) and kindergarten 2 (K2) prepares children for their first year in primary school education. Some kindergartens further divide nursery into N1 and N2.
Kindergarten in Sudan is divided into private and public kindergarten. Preschool is compulsory in Sudan. The proper Kindergarten age spans from 3–6 years. The curriculum covers Arabic, Religion, English, Mathematics and more.
While many public kindergartens and preschools exist in Taiwan, private kindergartens and preschools are also quite popular. Many private preschools offer accelerated courses in various subjects to compete with public preschools and capitalize on public demand for academic achievement. Curriculum at such preschools often encompasses subject material such as science, art, physical education and even mathematics classes. The majority of these schools are part of large school chains, which operate under franchise arrangements. In return for annual fees, the chain enterprises may supply advertising, curriculum, books, materials, training, and even staff for each individual school.
There has been a huge growth in the number of privately owned and operated English immersion preschools in Taiwan since 1999. These English immersion preschools generally employ native English speaking teachers to teach the whole preschool curriculum in an ‘English only’ environment. The legality of these types of schools has been called into question on many occasions, yet they continue to prosper. Some members of Taiwanese society have raised concerns as to whether local children should be placed in English immersion environments at such a young age, and have raised fears that the students abilities in their mother language may suffer as a result. The debate continues, but at the present time, the market for English Immersion Preschools continues to grow.
In 2010 a total of 56% of children aged one to six years old had the opportunity to attend preschool education, the Education and Science Ministry of Ukraine reported in August 2010. Many preschools and kindergarten where closed previously in light of economic and demographic considerations.
The term kindergarten is rarely used in Britain to describe pre-school education; pre-schools are usually known as nursery schools or playgroups. However, the word "kindergarten" is used for more specialist organisations such as forest kindergartens, and is sometimes used in the naming of private nurseries that provide full-day child care for working parents.
In the UK children have the option of attending nursery at the ages of three or four years, before compulsory education begins. Before that, less structured childcare is available privately. The details vary slightly between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Some nurseries are attached to state infant or primary schools, but many are provided by the private sector. The government provides funding so that all children from the age of three until they start compulsory school, can receive five sessions per week of two and a half hours each, either in state-run or private nurseries. Working parents can also spend £55 per week free of income taxes, which is typically enough to pay for one or two days per week.
The Scottish Government defines its requirements of nursery schools in the Early Years Framework and the Curriculum for Excellence. Each school interprets these with more or less independence (depending on their management structure), but must satisfy the Care Commission in order to retain their licence to operate. The curriculum aims to develop:
Nursery forms part of the Foundation Stage of education. In the 1980s, England and Wales officially adopted the Northern Irish system whereby children start school either in the term or year in which they will become five depending on the policy of the Local Education Authority. In Scotland, schooling becomes compulsory between the ages of 4½ and 5½ years, depending on their birthday (school starts in August for children who were 4 by the end of the preceding February). The first year of compulsory schooling is known as Reception in England, Dosbarth Derbyn in Welsh and Primary One in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In the United States, kindergarten is usually part of the K-12 educational system. While kindergarten was once viewed as a separate part of the elementary program, it is now generally considered the first year of formal education and fully integrated into the school system. In most state and private schools, children begin kindergarten at age 5 to 6 and attend for one year. Though in many states kindergarten is compulsory, as the age of required schooling begins at age 5, in others, compulsory education begins at age 6, 7, or (in two states) 8. Forty-three states require their school districts to offer a kindergarten year.
The following reading list relates specifically to kindergarten in North America, where it is the first year of formal schooling and not part of the pre-school system as it is in the rest of the world:
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