Parent Asks:

I hear teachers talk about "school readiness". What does "school readiness" mean?

Educator Answers:
"School readiness" is a term often used to describe how ready children are socially, physically, and intellectually, to start formal schooling - usually kindergarten. Early childhood educators often look at the following to determine a child's readiness for school:
  • Does the child separate easily from parents?
  • Does the child know how to sit still and pay attention during class and take the initiative to get up and work independently in learning centers?
  • Does the child appear curious and eager when introduced to new activities?
  • Does the child take turns and respect the needs and rights of others?
  • Does the child communicate his/her needs and ideas verbally to other children and adults?
If your child has had experience with day care, preschool or regular group experiences with other youngsters, he or she is likely able to demonstrate a majority of these behaviors. If educators determine your child isn't ready for formal classroom experiences yet, find out what you could do to engage your child in age-appropriate learning experiences while your child matures. Arts & Crafts provide a rich assortment of hands-on projects you can work on with your child.

You can observe the "school's readiness" for your child. Discuss the following with the educators in your child's school:
  • Is the classroom child-centered, geared to children's needs and interests and encourage children to make choices?
  • Does the curriculum encourage exploration and play that is age-appropriate? Are the learning activities primarily hands-on and experiential?
  • Is the staff warm, friendly, and sensitive to the needs of both children and parents?
  • Does the schedule accommodate young children's needs for group and individual experiences, active and quiet activities, and adult-directed as well as child-selected learning experiences?