Readiness to School is How Early? – Part 2
Posted on: December 29, 2018. Comments ( 1 )

Author: Mrs. Radhika Mohan, Educational Consultant

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“Transition to school involves adjustment to new experiences, and physical, social, behavioral, and academic challenges and expectations. The way in which each child responds has the potential to impact on their progress and future schooling”, says Kay Margarette, Professor at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Children need to have the skills to cope with that transition as well as flourish in an alien and academic situation.

“It’s about moving from a friendly environment at preschool or home to one where the adult-child ratio is very different. The more children can do for themselves, the more successfully they will function at school.”

To base a child’s readiness for school on age is a matter of serious questioning, particularly when that readiness will vary enormously according to cultural background, personality, temperament, family structure, economics, and  gender. Research reveals that boys have more difficulty adjusting, than girls. Some educationalists suggest that it’s better to go to school too late than too early and encourage parents to consider not whether the child is ready for school but whether a school is ready for the child.

The Steiner Waldorf schools introduce literacy and numeracy later than most schools. Their holistic approach embraces the belief that there are many things a child needs to learn before they begin to read and write, such as speech and listening skills, social and emotional skills, capacity to do things like dress themselves, and do up shoelaces. These important skills take time to develop. Let us just consider how independent our child is, as the physical setting is bigger, there are more rules, children come from many and varied backgrounds, and the days are much longer. The maximum time taken for adjustment could even be six months! The more experiences children have before school, the better they will cope in school.

‘Readiness’ will be possessing a level of composure and the ability to cope when things go wrong, being able to speak clearly and engage with adults so they can say when they need help, understanding the importance of being able to share and play nicely with other children, and the beginning of some responsibilities, so as to look after their belongings. We must not just consider the emotional readiness for school and the confidence to make friends, but also see if the fine motor skills are well developed.

Can my child hold a pencil correctly?

Draw simple shapes?

Write her name?

Dress herself?

Use a pair of scissors?

Hop, skip, and jump?

Tie shoelaces?

“The inability to do these things may lead to a child losing confidence and flail, and possibly become ostracized by other children, which would constitute an unhappy, and possibly damaging, start to a child’s school-going”, concludes Anthea Rowans.

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Comments (1)


    Sharoni Sen says:

    There are some inconsistencies. If literacy and numeracy isn’t the criterion to decide on readiness for school, why would we expect the child to know how to hold a pencil and draw shapes or write her name before schooling? Also, I thought the writer said the school had to be ready for the child rather than vice versa. From my experience the only reason for parents to consider delaying the child’s first foray into the classroom is to consider whether he or she will be age wise or developmentally at par with the other children. It never hurts for the child to be older as it will make coping easier not just at the beginning but through the school years thereafter. Whereas consider the daunting prospect for a child even a 10 months behind the rest of her batch. The developmenral difference (sometimes) lasts till the end of class Ten.

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