School readiness refers to the different skills, abilities, and experiences that are required by a child before they start school during early development stages. Being ready for school does not only involve pre-academic skills such as reading, writing, counting, and coloring. Several factors characterize a child's readiness. The readiness is assessed just before the child leaves the foundation level just before joining year one of the studies. The nursery level is used to prepare a child for the level one. After the preparation, the child will have gain skills as well as experience to start the school. They will have the experience to leave and stay away from their parents or caregivers on considerable periods of time on a daily basis. The children will have also been exposed to social aspects and learned how to interact and play with other children including playing in groups comprising of several children (High, 2019).
Children should show social and emotional maturity. A child should be able to stay around other children and are able to dress themselves without the help of their parents, follow simple home schedules. In addition, they should be able to share and take turns with other children. Social and emotional maturity ensures that the children find joy interacting and staying with other children, feels good about themselves, have confidence in their abilities (Miller & Goldsmith, 2017). Such children will not only excel in academics but will also enjoy the life of the school and the experience that comes in hand.
Factors Characterizing School Readiness
Physical and health wellbeing is also a major indicator of readiness for school. Children should have well-developed motor skills before they start school. The skills will be useful in learning various aspects. For example, handwriting is one of the lessons taught in early childhood development. It is relatively easy for most students but can be hard for children with motor skills problems. Physical wellbeing determines whether a child is physically fit to go to the next step in school. Physical wellbeing has an impact on how a child engages and exploits learning opportunities in various tasks both physically and mentally. Physical health is negatively affected by factors such as injuries or diseases leading to deformities or illnesses that affect the learning ability of a child (Al-Hassan & Lansford, 2009; Cole, 2019). Children should be assessed for readiness by checking their current as well as health history. Aspects such as medical records including immunizations are useful when assessing the child.
Communication is a vital factor that shows readiness for school. A child who is about to start school should be able to communicate with other children as well as the educators. A child with difficulty in language might have a problem communication leading to limited interaction and social problems might arise (Al-Hassan & Lansford, 2009). Listening to the child and teaching them how to listen to others will be useful in teaching a child how to communicate. In addition, telling children stories and allowing them to tell their stories to others will be helpful in improving communication. Communication does not only involve the ability to speak; the child should know the limits by following some set rules. In addition to language, children should also be able to use multiple tools of communication in school including drawings and paintings.
Besides children readiness for school, the school should be ready to receive the children while the children's families should also be ready to release their children to school. The school should present an ideal environment that encourages a smooth transition and entry into the school. The environment should support easy learning for children (Bhise & Sonawat, 2016). The parents' attitude and perception should show readiness for releasing their children to school without interfering with their new environment. These factors will enhance adjustment skills in the child (Magdalena, 2013). Children who heavily rely on their parents or caregivers in doing virtually everything might not be ready to start schooling. The parents and the caregivers should allow their children to do some tasks such as putting on a sweater when it is cold and going to the toilet without being reminded.
Factors Affecting Children's Readiness for School
There are various factors affecting children readiness for school. The factors can be divided into three categories; individual child's readiness, school readiness for the children and parental/caregivers influence. Individual child's readiness involves the opportunities that the child experienced to allow the development of the required skills for school. These factors include the opportunities to integrate and play with other children. If the children missed these opportunities, they are likely to experience difficulties starting school while children who have been exposed to these experiences will have a smooth transition. The pre-school system such as nursery schooling offers a wide range of experience that prepares children for school entry. The system allows for mental adjustment to a level that is ideal for dealing with the social, personal and learning challenges experienced when the child starts the school (Bhise & Sonawat, 2016). The pre-school experience enhances the cognitive abilities that not only prepares the child for the entry of school but goes a long way in impacting the performance of the child in the subsequent years of school (Haque, Nasrin, Yesmin & Biswas, 2013). One of the main factors that enhance readiness is plays. A play is regarded as a natural way of learning in children. The child is able to explore various learning opportunities allowing them to take responsibility for their learning. Plays are also useful in language and writing development among other developments in cognitive abilities (Pelligrini, 1991).
The parent/caregiver- child relationship is also a major factor that influences child readiness. The relationship influences the level of independence and self-confidence of the child. If the child heavily relies on the parent or the caregiver on all activities, then they might find it difficult to adapt to the new environment (Bhise & Sonawat, 2016). Several factors are also associated with school readiness to receive the students. The information the school obtains from the previous setting of the child as well as parents or caregivers is also a major influencing factor on the readiness. The school should obtain information such as the behaviors of individual students at the pre-school level. Medical history and special diet needs are also important information that should be obtained. The information obtained will allow the educators to prepare adequately for individual children with a consideration of the special needs of each child.
The school environment should be ideal to cater for every child. The environment will influence how the child feels. The proper environment will make the child feel valued and welcomed leading to a comfortable state ready for school. The environment will prepare the mental abilities of the child. The content of the curriculum and teacher's experience affects the preparedness in various ways. The curriculum should be designed to involve activities that enhance the preparedness of the children. The planning and the support the teachers get will influence how the curriculum is implemented. The curriculum of the pre-school attendance has major effects on how the child transits to the primary education. Involvement of activities such as game numbers, counting and comparisons are essential for cognitive preparedness. Properly trained and experienced teachers show better preparedness. They are able to handle the children than inexperienced and untrained teachers (Landry, Swank, Smith, Assel & Gunnewig, 2006).
Family background and settings affect the overall development of a child from birth and has an influence on readiness to school. Socio-economic status and maternal education are the main factors linked to a child's preparedness for school. Children from low-income setups experience difficulties than those from economic stable setups. This difference is linked to the level of exposure to various concepts related to education (Starkey, Klein & Wakeley, 2004). Maternal education forms the first form of education a children experiences. Distinct parents expose their children to varying levels of maternal education consequently affecting the level of preparedness to join the school. The maternal education given to children directly correlates to the development of cognitive abilities, language, and overall academic development. Ideal maternal education is linked to factors such as the provision of learning materials, a conducive home environment, and parent's effort. The constitution of family and experience of the parents is also a major player in the preparedness to school. Mothers exert a higher influence than the fathers and thus children who spend more time with their mother are likely to be more ready for school than children who have limited time with their mothers (Nirmala & Rao, 2011).
How the Early Years Practitioner Supports Children to Prepare for School
Early year practitioner plays a great part in laying the ground for children to enter school. The practitioner offers a wide range of activities, opportunities as well as experiences that will prepare the child for progressing to the primary level. The staff plays a significant role in enhancing self-regulation and independence. They impact independence by encouraging the children to do things on their own. The activities may include tidying activities such as how to properly dress, washing hands and serving themselves snacks (Blair, 2002). Educators should involve children in decision making. This intervention allows the children to think about themselves as people who contribute valid opinions. The staff incorporates valid activities in the curriculum planning to allow children participation. The teacher may raise an issue in a group and ask the children's opinion in solving a certain issue. Such activities challenge the children to think on their own and develop solutions to problems they face (Blair, 2002). For example, three children could be interested in one toy which they all want. The teacher will come and ask what is the problem in which the children would answer they want the toy. The teacher would then ask them how many children are and the children respond they are three. With three children and one toy, the teacher would ask them what they should do because they are three and there is only one toy. In this case, the children would be taught how to self-regulate themselves and at the same time learn how to share.
Early year practitioner assists children in developing social skills essential for starting school. The practitioners act as a role model to the children. Their behaviors will have a great impact on children. If the children observe that the teacher always sits on the chair instead of the table, they will subsequently that chairs are for sitting on. If the teacher finds a waste paper, picks it and places in the dustbin or finds a misplaced toy and puts it at the right place, the children will acquire such behaviors and regard them as appropriate.
The early school practitioners also have a role in early language development and communication skills. The practitioners create a language-rich environment through activities such as storytelling, children rhymes, songs as well as providing an environment for child-adult interactions. The results will be enhanced vocabularies, improved speech presentation as well as overall language development.
Children require proper c...
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