Our curriculum incorporates the development of school readiness skills throughout our entire year, supporting the development of skills through social, meaningful and purposeful contexts. We believe this is more important than a separate ‘school readiness’ program towards the end of the year, as research shows that children learn best when they are learning through play and are actively involved in experiences that are meaningful to them (Preschool research action project, School Readiness, 2017).
ACECQA’s article, ‘School Readiness and Transition to School’ (published in Putting Children First, 2017), highlights the importance of Early Childhood Services in transitioning children to school. Effective school readiness encompasses all areas of a child’s development, focusing on responsive relationships and confidence to continue along a path of lifelong learning. When children participate in play based experiences it allows them to develop the skills to take turns, build relationships and express thought and ideas.
Early Childhood Programs can promote many learning opportunities to support school readiness, these can include: social skills, cognitive skills, language skills, independence and life skills and physical skills. The article states, “Childcare services don’t need to turn into a school environment to prepare children for school”. This supports our programming and curriculum choices.
Many families assume that children need some reading and writing skills before they go to school, however, these skills are not essential for school readiness. It is more important for a child to have good social skills and be a confident learner. School readiness does not need to be a separate part of the program; using children’s strengths and interests as a foundation for promoting learning will prepare children better than a structured academic program.
Educators can play a vital role in supporting children and families in transitioning to school. Effective transitions are possible when there is a strong collaboration between families, educators, children and school. Open discussions about a child’s readiness for school is also very important, and we provide regular opportunities for these throughout the year.