Entering kindergarten ready to learn is a topic of growing concern in this country. The kindergarten year has important consequences for a child's acquisition of knowledge and skills that are powerful determinants for later school success. Kindergarten teachers report that more than half of children enter school with a number of problems and are not optimally ready to learn, putting them at-risk for school failure, retention, or in need of later intervention. We know what difference early childhood programs make in the lives of our kids. The time has come to put children first by focusing investments where research and effective practice tell us we will have the greatest opportunity for long-term success. -President Obama “Invest in Early Childhood Education,” The Obama Education Plan: An Education Week Guide, 2008. Extensive research, including in-depth longitudinal studies, has shown that quality PreK programs are critical to students' cognitive development, readiness to learn, and lifelong success beyond the classroom. It is estimated that every dollar spent on comprehensive early childhood programs yields a return of $7-$10 dollars in “decreased need for special education services, higher graduation and employment rates, less crime, less use of the public welfare system, and better health” (Obama 2008). The irrefutable evidence that investments in quality early childhood education and school readiness leads to significant gains in academic achievement and future success for students, especially among low SES students, has led this issue to be a top priority of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Education, and nearly every State department of education. As investments in ECE programs increase and pressure to create quality programming mounts, Kindergarten Readiness will become an indispensable resource for all prekindergarten educators and early childhood care providers. This book • Provides a solid theoretical framework in which both preschool and kindergarten teachers can understand the complexity of kindergarten readiness • Guides them in implementing developmentally appropriate practice • Helps preschool teachers align their curriculum with kindergarten Common Core Standards and kindergarten expectations • Assists in developing a common language among administrators, teachers, and parents about the importance and components of kindergarten readiness. Ultimately, this book will provide an excellent resource to all early childhood educators, enabling them to effectively prepare young children for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Chapter 1: Conceptualizing Kindergarten Readiness: What does it Mean to be Ready for Kindergarten?
Conceptualizing Kindergarten Readiness: What does it Mean to be Ready for Kindergarten?
[Page 6]Within the past two decades, an increased interest in kindergarten readiness has emerged alongside a growing body of research literature. Researchers, practitioners, and policymakers have attempted to provide greater understanding of this complex phenomenon. Conceptualizing kindergarten readiness has been, and remains, a challenging and often controversial task.
Conceptualizations of school readiness have been influenced by varying and often different perspectives. The complexity of kindergarten readiness becomes more apparent as one tries to establish operational definitions, guidelines, standards, articulations, and timelines. Earlier conceptualizations of readiness suggest that readiness is fixed—determined by specific indicators such as age, ability, or maturation. Other perspectives defined ...