The pressure on our four year olds to be reaching and attaining a certain academic level to ensure they are ‘ready for School’ is growing all of the time.
Too often a child is expected to MAKE the transition to School and be READY for School. The responsibility is placed on the child, rather than the emphasis being placed on the School.
A more important and helpful question to ask: Is the school ready for my child? By posing this question this shifts the view of the child from being needy or having a deficit in their learning to viewing the child as a capable and competent learner. It also reflects the uniqueness of each child and that each child brings with them a wealth of knowledge, strengths, interests and dispositions to build upon. (2013, Lisa Burman).
The pressure on early childhood settings to ensure children are ready for School is also growing.
To shift the focus from academic learning and skills, such as children learning their ABC’s, counting by rote, early reading, writing their name and so forth we need to identify the learning skills which our early childhood programs equip children with during their time at preschool to be life-long learners.
Learning Journey skills
At Central Yorke Early Learning Centre we identify the following skills as being important in supporting children in their learning journey:
Dispositions for learning – these include, curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination, perseverance, resilience and concentration.
Social and emotional development – social skills of interacting with others with care, empathy and respect, being part of a group, being able to communicate with other children and adults, listening to others, developing their sense of self and their identity, developing their sense of belonging, regulating their emotions and expressing their emotions in an appropriate way.
Independence and wellbeing – Following routines, looking after their belongings, self-help skills such as eating, toileting and managing clothing. Being responsible for themselves and being able to manage their day. Making choices about how they are going to meet their own needs.
Language and literacy – Being able to communicate and listen to others, using mark making, painting and drawings to represent and communicate their ideas, singing songs and chanting rhymes, listening to stories and recreating them in their play, awareness of environmental print and understanding the purpose of print.
Physical Health – gross and fine motor development, coordination, assessing risk, spatial awareness, manipulating equipment and tools safely, music and movement, sensory development.
Cognitive (thinking) – Being curious in their environment, problem solving, posing questions, expressing wonder, investigating and exploring their ideas/theories, engaging in rich and meaningful inquiry-based experiences, transferring their knowledge from one experience to another and resourcing their own learning.
Children’s time at preschool isn’t about preparing them for School, rather it is about empowering children to have a voice, make decisions and lead their own learning and to develop the skills to be independent learners.
Most importantly every child is unique and so is their learning and development journey.