How do you know when a child is ready for school?
Early childhood screening can help ensure a child is adequately prepared for kindergarten. The screening is available to children starting at age 3. By performing the testing at this age, age-appropriate resources can be made available to children needing support and readiness training. Surprisingly, Cradle 2 Career (C2C) has found that 57% of Rochester area children at age 3 are not participating in early childhood screening. This lack of screening leads to an unknown percentage of children missing out on valuable and needed support and resources. This support and resources could greatly improve children’s readiness for kindergarten.
Why is school-readiness important?
It is well understood that a child’s early physical and mental preparedness for school are key to their ability to learn. And that the academic success of children in later years depends heavily upon their kindergarten readiness. The first few years of education and preparedness are the most crucial because they establish a solid foundation so children can adapt to school environments and learn successfully. Before and during kindergarten, children develop basic skills that form the foundation of reading, counting (math), and social interaction.
What is required for school-readiness and kindergarten preparedness?
According to the Preparing a School-Ready Child pamphlet the ready child has the following characteristics:
- Has been well-cared for physically, interacts socially with others, has a positive self-perception, has the ability to understand the emotions of others, and can interpret and express feelings
- Approaches learning with enthusiasm and curiosity, has developed language and listening skills, and has cognition skills and general knowledge
- Is prepared to learn successfully in school
The C2C Kindergarten Readiness Change Network has identified 23 indicators for kindergarten preparedness that support the criteria in the pamphlet, the indicators have been grouped into the following categories:
Social and emotional development: for example, consistently calms self when feeling strong emotions or discomfort with only occasion adult guidance and assistance
- Approaches to learning: such as showing eagerness and a sense of wonder as a learner
- Language, literacy, and communication: includes, negotiating, sharing, planning, and solving problems with others and asking and answering questions to seek help or get information
- Creativity and the arts: for example, using a variety of media and materials for exploration and creative expression
- Creative development: such as expressing wonder about the natural world and demonstrating increasing interest in and awareness of numbers and counting
- Physical and motor development: includes development of large and small muscle group control and coordination and follows basic health and safety rules
By understanding the school-ready child characteristics and C2C Kindergarten Readiness Change Network indicators, the early childhood screening activity performed by Rochester Community Education takes on additional importance.
What does the early childhood screening entail?
Rochester Community Education performs early childhood screening. Screening includes the following elements:
- Review of the child’s immunization records
- Check of child’s growth, including height and weight
- Test for possible hearing or vision problems
- Review any other factors that might interfere with the child’s health, growth, development, or learning
- Check the child’s development
- Information about community resources and programs based on your child’s or family’s needs
This information is gathered in coordination with the child’s parents or guardian. The most important outcome of the screening is to determine if the child needs any community resources or programs. The screening results help a school district identify children who may benefit from district and community resources that are available to help in the child’s development.
What actions can you take to inform those you know with young children about this service?
Ways to engage others in early childhood screening are as follows:
- Friends and family – encourage people you know to have their children screened at age 3
- Employers – encourage your staff to have their children screened and allow time for the screening
- Community group members – help teach parents the value of this screening and encourage them to participate in the process
For additional information on topics covered in the blog post, see the following: