What is school readiness?
School readiness refers to whether a child is ready to make an easy and successful transition into primary school. School readiness encompasses several key dimensions, including language and literacy, thinking skills, self-confidence, self-control, physical skills and social-emotional skills.
Each of these capacities usually begin to emerge during the earliest years of a child’s life. They provide a good foundation for kindergarten readiness, and later academic success during the primary and secondary schooling years.
Many people assume that school readiness is primarily about academics, such as a child’s abilities in reading, writing, speaking, counting and comprehension. Whilst these are important, school readiness actually refers to a broader range of skills as mentioned above.
For example, students need to understand limits and how to appropriately communicate needs and wants (self-control/ regulation). They also need the concentration to sit still during lessons for long periods, and the social skills to interact with peers. School readiness also relates to characteristics such as knowing how to share and take turns, listening and asking questions and being able to work well with others.
If your child has problems with school readiness, it may be due to a language/ developmental disorder or other causes. The characteristics exhibited will differ from child to child, but may include:
- Weak expressive and/or receptive language skills.
- Difficulties in reading and/or writing.
- Limited play skills, and the inability to include new people or play items in their play.
- Being unable to interact well with peers, both inside and outside the classroom.
- Being unable to follow instructions when carrying out day-today activities.
- Struggling to complete tasks in the same timespan as most of their peers.
- Struggling to manage strong feelings such as disappointment and frustration without becoming aggressive or withdrawn.
- Being disinterested in learning and participating in classroom activities.
- A resistance to guidance and being taught new skills.
How does school readiness impact learning and development?
There is mounting evidence to show that school readiness relates to school success. A child’s performance during the key schooling years from kindergarten to primary school does affect their future prospects both in school and later on in life.
When children experience problems with school readiness, their learning is adversely affected. If they are in an environment that is not conducive for learning , they may be inclined to dislike school and their teachers. They also lack the foundational skills to grasp ideas and concepts.
This leads to poor academic outcomes, as well as stress and anxiety when they realise their limitations. Peer rejection and social isolation may occur as well, especially if they feel overwhelmed and unable to get along with others.
Why is a school readiness assessment important?
Starting primary school requires students to have acquired numerous skills and abilities. Children with speech delays, autism, ADHD and other learning difficulties lag behind their peers in a variety of skills such as speaking, understanding, vocabulary, reading, handwriting, spelling and math. The objective of the school readiness assessment is to assess the type of schools your child will be suited for and if your child has the literacy skills to begin primary school.
How is an assessment carried out by Thomson Kids?
In a school readiness assessment, our psychologist conducts intelligence, attention and literacy tests. Depending on your child’s needs, our psychologist will decide on the battery of tests needed. Some of the tests may include: Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Fourth Edition, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, York Assessment of Reading Comprehension and Conners Continuous Performance Test.
Our psychologist has extensive experience working with students, and can provide advice regarding suitable schools with the right environment for your child.
The benefits of a school readiness assessment
Understanding how young children are best prepared to enter and succeed in school has become a priority for parents, teachers and therapists/psychologists.
A school readiness assessment provides therapists and teachers with an insight into a child’s level of development. The information can then be used to decide if a child is suitable for mainstream education, and also the kind of curriculum and instruction that is best suited to their learning needs.
School readiness assessments, particularly assessments carried out with the aim of improving learning, can also help parents better comprehend their child’s abilities and how best to support them at home. As parents work with teachers and therapists to facilitate school readiness, this will enable the child to develop a positive attitude towards school and actively engage in their own learning.