Reflecting on "school readiness" and transitions to school | Phoenix Support For Educators

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

Age-appropriate pedagogies 

Age-appropriate pedagogies are shaping teaching and learning in the early years of school now and into the future. Visit the QLD Government Early Childhood Education and Care website.

Foundation paper summary - Age-appropriate pedagogies for the early years of schooling

The Age-appropriate pedagogies for the early years of schooling: Foundation paper reviews literature and research of age-appropriate modes of teaching (pedagogies) in the early years of schooling that engage young children and achieve effective learning outcomes. The foundation paper also considers the alignment of these learning and teaching approaches with current school accountability expectations. 

Supporting successful transitions

Effective transition programs are based on strong relationships and communication between the child, their family, early education and care services, the school and the community. Visit this QLD government website for more information.

Supporting successful transitions inquiry guide / school decision making tool

A resource for school's to reflect on age appropriate pedagogies for children entering school.
The Supporting successful transitions: School decision-making tool is a framework to reflect on your school's current transition practices. It can help you work with community partners to identify, plan and implement targeted, evidence-based actions. The framework guides you through a 4-step inquiry process to assess current practices, then develop (and measure the effectiveness of) your transition to school strategies and practices. Use it to maximise your school's readiness to meet the needs of all children and families.

First year at school - essential tips for parents and carers

By Early Childhood Australia and the Australian Primary Principals Association. As a parent whose child is starting school, there are many ways to help your child to have a happy and satisfying beginning to the great adventure of their school years.

Transition to school resource kit

The Transition: a positive start to school resource kit includes practical guidance for early childhood professionals working with children and families while they transition to school.

Transitions: preparing children and young people for change

Webinar objectives: Children and young people react differently to change – some find it exciting, some find it stressful, some hardly notice it. In this free Be You online event, our panellists discuss how children and young people adapt to new circumstances, expectations, people, environments and routines, and the impact change can have on their mental health and wellbeing. They provide practical tips and information to manage the potential impact of transitions on the mental health of children, young people and their families. 

Continuity of learning: A resource to support effective transition to school and school age care

The Early Years Learning Framework describes a number of principles of early childhood pedagogy, including an emphasis on providing for continuity in experiences and enabling children to have successful transitions (DEEWR, 2009, p. 4). Further, the concept of ‘becoming’ is described as including children building and shaping their identity through their evolving experiences and relationships which include change and transitions

Opinions and blogs for rethinking school readiness

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. 

Benefits of high quality child care persist 30 years later

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.

Maggie Dent: School readiness and learning

Is your child ready for school? Many families will by now have made the difficult decision about whether or not to start their child at school next year. As a mother of four boys this was a particularly challenging decision for me, especially as research has suggested that boys are less likely to be ready for school than girls....

New study discovers the best age for starting school

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’...

Research finds no advantage in learning to read from age five

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 incredible ridiculousness of readiness

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...

Experts warm starting school too young harms learning and wellbeing

Children in Australia start school younger than almost anywhere else in the developed world, up to two years ahead of students in top-performing countries such as Finland and Korea. Experts say the early transition could be detrimental to the learning and wellbeing of students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. In a major international study of 15-year-olds in 2012, 58 per cent of Australian students reported they started primary school at the age of five, 27 per cent started at six, and 3 per cent at seven. Twelve per cent were aged four....

Delayed Kindergarten enrollment and ADHD

Delaying kindergarten enrolment for one year shows significant mental health benefits for children, according to a recent study. Researchers found that a one-year delay in enrolling a child in kindergarten dramatically reduces inattention and hyperactivity at age seven....

School readiness: A conceptual framework

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? 

4 things worse than not learning to read in kindergarten

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.)...

4 reasons to ditch academic preschools

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 neighbourhood, 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 pre-schoolers 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? Pre-schoolers need this? ...

Nature Play QLD - Peter Gray Forum Videos