Reflecting on "school readiness" and transitions to school

Transitions to school and school readiness

We have a long way to go in Australia to apply emerging research about early years appropriate pedagogy to teaching and learning in Kindergarten, pre-school, and preparatory years. There is still massive pressure for early years teachers to 'get children ready for school' in the year before they enter formal schooling. This push down often creates a push back from children who are not developmentally ready to learn in this way. At Phoenix Support for Educators, we strongly advocate for age appropriate pedagogy and believe that there is absolutely no need for a preparatory preparatory (pre-prep) year. We need to give children one last year of childhood, to allow them to grow and develop physically, socially, and emotionally, before attempting to 'institutionalise them' with listening at large group times, sitting for extended periods of time with large groups of children, and learning to write and read before they're ready. It is important for your opinion on this topic to be an informed one - consider the below links then develop your own statement around how you support healthy and successful transition to school and push back on the push down for school readiness.

Australian government links and resources

Opinions and blogs for rethinking school readiness

This brief focuses on what the research tells us about the nature of and pathways to school readiness. It emphasises the importance of schools, services and communities supporting children and families and providing the conditions and experiences needed to ensure that all children reach school able to take advantage of the academic and social learning experiences that schools provide. 
Adults who participated in a high-quality early childhood education program in the 1970s are still benefiting from their early experiences in a variety of ways, according to a new study. The study provides new data from the long-running, highly regarded Abecedarian Project, which was founded by Craig Ramey, now a professor and distinguished research scholar at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and is led by the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Researchers have followed participants from early childhood through adolescence and young adulthood, generating a comprehensive and rare set of longitudinal data.
It’s the question that can make decision-fearing parents like myself anxious – when is the right age to send my child to school? It seems there are so many differing opinions on what is right, but this new study seems to have some pretty compelling evidence. New research shows benefit of ‘holding back’...
A University of Otago researcher has uncovered for the first time quantitative evidence that teaching children to read from age five is not likely to make that child any more successful at reading than a child who learns reading later, from age seven....
The subject line was irresistible: “Early Childhood Pushes Up.”  The Teachers College Record, a hotbed of radical critique, had delivered another gem to my inbox.  Here was a scathing commentary on Obama’s “Cradle-to-Career” education policy. “Wish you hadn’t moved to Australia,” I emailed Jeanne Marie Iorio, a senior lecturer at Victoria University, in Melbourne. She’s co-author of the aforementioned work, with Clifton Tanabe, who hasn’t left the United States, but offers perspective from the periphery, at the University of Hawaii, Manoa...
While school readiness is gaining currency around the globe, there remain many issues linked with a cohesive understanding of the concept and its applications to improve the learning and development of all children, the quality of schools, and the participation of families and communities. The aim of this paper is to provide the latest evidence and knowledge on school readiness within an easily understandable framework relevant to the lives of young children in the majority of the world. To that end, this paper focuses on three basic yet critical questions: What is school readiness? Why is school readiness important? And what are the consequences of inaction? 
The year Sam started kindergarten, he turned 6 in October. He was one of the oldest children in his class, and he didn't know how to read. When he started first grade he was almost 7, and he still didn't know how to read. Fortunately for Sam, he entered first grade in 1999. And his teachers, Mrs. Gantt and Mrs. Floyd, didn't panic if a child didn't learn to read in kindergarten. In fact, they expected that most children would learn to read in first grade. (They also supported and encouraged children who learned to read easily in kindergarten, like Sam's brother Ben.)...
I’m still scratching my head that I actually witnessed this…  Years ago, I was investigating preschools for my first child and made a scheduled visit to one of the most popular schools in the neighborhood, chosen by parents I consider to be intelligent and thoughtful.  As I entered the classroom and discreetly sat on the floor behind about fifteen 3-4 year olds, a teacher stood at a chalkboard to present a lesson on ‘shapes’. She drew a square and asked, “What is this?” One of the preschoolers raised her hand and shouted “Square!” The teacher gave a brief nod of approval and continued drawing, this time a circle… A few hands shot up, and she pointed to a boy. “Circle!” the boy exclaimed. To my astonishment the teacher frowned, shook her head and corrected him. “No, round.” Huh? A trick question? Preschoolers need this? ...