Going from early childhood education and care into school is a significant transition for young children and families.
During these times, many consider the concept of children’s school readiness … but like many often-used terms, the definition becomes blurred by opinion, understanding, experiences, policy and expectations.
Research now suggests we need to change the traditional child maturation and development flavour of the school readiness concept. … It is so much more than a child’s development that determines readiness.
Readiness does not reside solely in the child, but reflects the environments in which children find themselves―their families, early childhood settings, schools, neighbourhoods, and communities
(Kagan & Rigby,2003).
In essence, school readiness requires consideration of these interrelated components:
- children’s readiness for school,
- school’s readiness for children,
- the capacity of families and communities to provide developmental opportunities for their young children
Determining a school’s readiness
Schools are ready (for everyone) when they:
- Investigate, identify and understand individual children’s strengths and needs associated with physical health, wellbeing, social competence, emotional development, language skills, cognitive skills, communication skills, general knowledge and independence.
- Create a starting (and continuing) school experience that caters for identified needs and strengths of children.
- Show interest and understanding about individual children’s contexts, environment and community
5 ways schools can get ready
- Effective communication between schools and early childhood settings
- Warm, responsive and nurturing relationships with children and families
- Curriculum, environment, experiences and learning enriched by play
- Being curious and interested in children, their families and their world beyond the school gates
- Having connections with the community in the day-to-day, plus an awareness of external supports available
Early Childhood settings can assist the starting school transition
This previous Planning, Doing Reviewing Issue is jam packed with relevant information about starting school and sharing information … plus many handy tools for both Early Childhood settings and schools.
More information about starting school and school readiness
Recently the KidsMatter team spent some time compiling a few favourite school readiness related resources:
- KIdsMatter Thinking about Transition to School
- Jenni Connor & Pam Linke, Your Child’s First Year of School
- The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne A Policy Brief about Rethinking School Readiness
- Maggie Dent, Is your child ready for school?
- KidsMatter Early Childhood Facebook post: What defines a child as being ready?
- Zero to Three School Readiness Interactive Birth to 3
- Dockett, S. & Perry, B. (2014). Continuity of Learning: A resource to support effective transitionto school and school age care. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Department of Education.
- Pregnancy, birth and baby: A school readiness guide for parents