“Can you tell me about your School Readiness Program?” is possibly the most asked question of Centre Managers, followed closely by “Do you think my son/daughter is ready for School?”
The concept of readiness; and more broadly, being capable to emotionally process the complexity of transitions, is the fundamental base of any quality transition to school program. In the Australian landscape of Early Education, all programs and curriculum are in line with the Early Years Learning Framework, which focuses on providing children with quality learning environments to enhance their ability to question, wonder, understand, and engage in their world in a broad context. Early childhood educators provide and value, at all stages of early education the dispositions for learning that we are fostering in each individual child in our centre. As discussed below, each of the Early Years Learning Outcomes links directly to individual aspects of School Readiness.
Building relationships and communication skills
When discussing successful transition to school approaches, the links to children’s social, emotional and behavioural capabilities are frequently discussed, this is due to the vital importance of our role in formation of partnerships with families in nurturing a child’s ability to initiate friendships and articulate their emotions and needs- this is unpacked further in Outcome 3- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing and Outcome 5- Children are effective communicators. Developing effective communication is a skill for success as a lifelong learner and member of the community; children in our programs are empowered in voicing their opinions and offering input infront of peers and adults, gaining confidence in their abilities to communicate.
Developing confidence and respect
Outcome 2- Children are connected with, and contribute to their world is embodied in each service through the children’s connections to the environment, both outdoor environments in sustainable practices, as well as their individual sense of belonging within the classroom, as an active member of the class. Children are encouraged to actively contribute their ideas, and socially navigate small and large group experiences, using turn taking and problem solving skills, and are always encouraged to ask questions that will be answered through interactions with their peers and teachers. These skills develop confidence and resilience in children, which are both fundamental in the formation of profound relationships, ultimately making the transition to formal schooling as successful as possible.
Interest focused, play-based learning
The Early Years Learning Framework outcomes are explored through the implementation of an emergent curriculum; using play based learning experiences based on each child’s input, interest and ideas. It is widely understood that children learn, and are most engaged when they are interested in a certain topic. It is the role of an effective Early Education program to respond to these interests from children and then embed key literacy and numeracy concepts in authentic play based ways, around these interests, all the while encouraging input from other children to extend on and enhance the overall learning of the group. By providing opportunities for children to engage with pre-reading, pre-writing and numeracy experiences throughout all stages of the day, children know that they are viewed as capable by the educators at the centre.
Our Early Educators understand that school readiness is not achieved in a 40 minute sit down session once a day; it needs to be authentically embedded in all elements of their day, specifically self-help skills like dressing, toileting, hand washing and feeding themselves. Parents often focus heavily on the acquisition of skills such as name writing, counting, colour and shape recognition, which can all be achieved through rich discussions, play and engagement with peers and responsive educators.
Our services offer Kindy information evenings, which provide opportunities for parents to engage with educators, and ask any questions that they may have. We welcome you to join us at our next Kindy information night!
By Angie Robbins