Preschool teachers often worry about how they can get their little ones ready for the next step in other academic careers, kindergarten. Teachers frequently believe that some indicators of school readiness include having their children be able to recite colors, shapes, numbers, and letters as well as having them be able to sit attentively during Circle Time. However, according to many researchers, elementary school teachers tend to focus on social and physical development as the most important aspects of school readiness. Further research also shows that children who enter school with poor language and literacy skills are at a big disadvantage when they enter school (Tabors, Beals, & Weizman, 2001).
According to research by Coppell and Bredekamp (2001) the best approach to thinking about school readiness is to focus on the whole-child approach. This means to include the body, mind, and emotions. For academic purposes, this means addressing the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development of each child. As teachers, we need to nurture development so children can develop specific skills and behaviors with the understanding that they will be on the road to school readiness when they leave our classrooms.
It is important to note that this developmental viewpoint says that children will not achieve the same degree of school readiness at the exact same time, nor will they move at the same pace (Copple and Bredekamp, 2009). Typically developing children will have the same skills and behaviors at around the same chronological age, and it is the job of the preschool teacher to offer activities that are meaningful, fun, and physically and mentally possible for the children to do. Teachers also need to scaffold, or gently guide, children to the next step of learning. It would be unrealistic to expect 3- to 4-year-olds to be able to write their name only after showing them how to do it once and not providing them with any practice afterward. Similar activities would first need to be introduced to get them ready to hold a pencil, then to eventually start to make scribbles, then to ultimately write their name. But where can we incorporate these activities that are meaningful, fun, and physically and mentally possible for children to be able to do? This is where the Georgia Early Learning Development Standards, intentional planning, and PLAY take over the preschool classroom. By implementing these, you can rest assure that your children will be ready for kindergarten!
H&H Child Care Training Center (ChildCareEd) can help Georgia’s pre-k teachers get their children ready for kindergarten with such courses as:
Brighter Futures: Social Emotional Development
All our online courses provide text, voice, and videos to make the content engaging as well as informative and are Bright from the Start approved for clock hours! Search the GaPDS website under our Approved Sponsor Organization code (TR-ASO-76) for a full list of all our courses! Visit our website to see a full list of classes on how to support the children in your classroom today!