The school readiness debate – what future teachers should know

Assumption College Undergraduate

For those with aspirations to educate the next generation of our nation’s leaders, especially in elementary education, they will soon encounter the concept of school readiness — a measure of whether a given child possesses the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive skills needed to thrive in school.

How can teachers help those falling behind?

Education majors at Assumption College are exposed to these and many other important issues in the EDU 120: “Teaching and Learning in the Elementary School”  course. Students examine the practices of effective elementary teachers and the purposes of the elementary school in educating children.

A nationwide call for full-day kindergarten, and a general trend toward more and earlier assessments fuel a lively discussion among teachers, early childhood experts, parents and policy makers.

In essence, the debate comes down to whether the “ready for school” movement places an undue burden on children by expecting them to meet the expectations of school.

The National Association of School Psychologists offers a thorough overview of the issue. They emphasize the change in academic expectations away from kindergarten as a relaxed opportunity to learn the formal reading and math skills needed for first grade through guided play activities.

“Beginning kindergarten students are now often expected to be ready to learn what was previously taught in first grade,” the report states.

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