School Readiness - Who's Responsibility Is It?



From an interactionist perspective of school readiness, children, their families, schools, and communities need to be ready for school.  Each of these components play an essential role in development and are interlinked.

The Ready Child

A ready child is prepared across developmental domains – they have been sufficiently stimulated and have met their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional developmental milestones.  As children develop holistically, growth and development in one area influences and is influenced by development in other areas.  Below are some general criteria for determining school readiness; however, it is important to note that these are only very broad guidelines!  If you are in doubt about your child’s development, we recommend that your child undergo a psycho-educational assessment.   A ready child may look like the following (de Witt, 2009, Virginia Department of Education, 2019):

Emotional Readiness
  • Ventures into and explores their environment,
  • Regularly asks questions, and expects answers,
  • Able to make choices,
  • Able to regulate and express emotions, and
  • Acts with independence and confidence.
Social Readiness
  • Able and willing to socialise and establish relationships with other children,
  • Able to share,
  • Beginning to detach from parents,
  • Indications of a positive self-image,
  • Becoming less involved with self and more attuned to others, and
  • Enjoys playing with others.
Physical Readiness
  • Able to run comfortably,
  • Able to balance on one leg for at least 5 seconds,
  • Able to walk along a straight line,
  • Able to throw and catch a ball of different sizes,
  • Able to distinguish left from right,
  • Able to hop,
  • Able to sprint,
  • Able to somersault, and
  • Has fluent movements.
Cognitive Readiness
  • Able to count with understanding – not just counting from memory,
  • Able to match one-to-one – think of situations where items are handed out,
  • Able to identify and copy certain shapes,
  • Beginning to understand the principle of cause and effect,
  • Able to notice certain similarities and differences,
  • Able to distinguish the visual and auditory foreground and background,
  • Able to estimate, plan, and evaluate,
  • Displays emerging literacy skills – learning to use new words and tell stories, learning about print concepts, recoginses and produces speech sounds.
  • Shows an interest in and understanding of numeracy – identifying and completing simple patterns, counts and uses numbers to describe and compare, able to make comparisons based on length, weight, time, temperature, and size.
  • Has some understanding of symbols and their meaning, and
  • Able to solve problems with insight.
Normative readiness
  • Able to subject self to authority,
  • Knows and uses concepts such as please, thank you, and sorry,
  • Fits in easily with meal-time and toilet routines,
  • Able to eat independently without messing,
  • Respects the rights of others, and
  • Able to follow simple rules and regulations.

Our next article in the series will give insight into the readiness of the family. 
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