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In recent years, there have been calls in many countries to ensure that children come to school "ready to learn." This study explored what is meant by this term by different groups of people and the ways in which the beliefs underpinning such a term influence decisions such as when children start school, the classes they enter, and whether or not they progress annually. In this investigation, groups of parents, school teachers, and children associated with two schools in suburban Sydney, Australia participated in focus groups asking them to identify elements of school readiness, the ways in which they could be identified, and who bears responsibility for preparing children for school. Results showed that parents and teachers were clear in their belief that the major responsibility for getting children ready for school rests with parents and guardians; respondents felt teachers bear some responsibility for children's school readiness, however, especially related to the transition to school. Teachers and children emphasized the importance of talking with children and describing what school would be like. While parents also regarded this as important, many indicated that they also thought it important for children to have some knowledge and skills related to learning and school before they start. While children seemed clear on the distinctions between preschool and school, adults seemed to understand this least of all. Teachers in preschool and school settings seemed unaware of the skills and expertise of their colleagues in different settings, and while there was an acceptance of the importance of talking and working together, this seemed to happen only rarely. (Contains 29 references.) (EV)

Descriptors: Childhood Attitudes, Early Childhood Education, Foreign Countries, Learning Readiness, Parent Attitudes, Parent Role, School Readiness, Student Adjustment, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Role

Autor: Perry, Bob; Dockett, Sue; Tracey, Danielle


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