Ask the expert panel – The owner of Little Angels Nursery gives us her take on School Readiness

May 3, 2019 12:19 pm
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School readiness is a product of the interaction between the child and the range of environmental and cultural experiences that maximise the development outcomes for children.

UNICEF’s description of school readiness states that three elements together increase children’s likelihood of success. These are:

  • Children’s readiness for school affects their learning and development. This is related to things such as communication skills, personal, social and emotional and physical development.
  • Early years settings and schools’ readiness for children ensures learning environments are child-friendly and adapt to the diverse needs of young learners and their families. This is related to how early years professionals create learning environments that support children’s further development when they enter school.
  • Families’ readiness for school promotes a positive and supportive approach to education, their children’s learning and the transition from home to school.

The government’s guide on Good practice in School Readiness can be purchased below…

We have interviewed a member of our expert panel, Azarmindokhti Aalamani owner of Little Angels in Southwark to ask her what her views and experiences are in regard to school readiness. Here’s what she said;

What does the term School Readiness mean to you?

Prepare children to go to school. Ensure they are ready to enter a school by ensuring a good level of development is reached within the prime and specific areas. A few points that we use in our setting for school readiness are:

  • Dress themselves
  • Learn focus time
  • Communication needs to be able to listen to others
  • Toilet trained
  • Confident and self-esteem
  • Kind

In your setting how do you help to ensure a positive transition to school? Are there any resources you find useful?

We aim to work in partnership with parents and guardians to help with this transition. We like to identify any areas of weaknesses and turn these into positive ones through observing and tracking each child’s development, using documents such as tracking and progress summaries.

Family engagement is vital for school readiness. How do you ensure you are actively working with parents in the lead-up to their child starting school?

We are always actively engaged with parents. We meet and have a mini-parents meeting every 3 months. We sit down and discuss where they think as parents/guardians we need to work on as each child is unique.

What would your advice be for a setting wishing to develop its efforts in regard to school readiness?

Try and make school readiness fun for the children. We make it fun by having role play around school readiness, i.e. toilet training we have each child become a superhero or a character the child may like.

Purchase your Road to School Readiness poster below…

A new study suggests that when preparing children to start school there should be more emphasis on building skills to make and maintain friendships? How would you approach this

Children in my setting from a very early stage learn to be confident and independent. They learn to respect and love one another and be kind and generous. Children are very different in their own ways and we should as practitioners allow each child to shine through within their own time and how they may wish to. Setting certain rules would not work in my opinion but setting support and care and allowing a child to learn with support will help dramatically.

There are many studies that explore the idea that children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds for many reasons find becoming school ready and the transition to school particularly challenging. How have you or would you work with these children and their parents to support their transition to school?

We support all children and families from all walks of life the same way. We treat every and each one equal. We provide the same support, love and nurturing environment with the same educational help. Yes, statistics show that underprivileged children have a lower rate of finishing their education and are not as advanced as the higher-income families. But statistics also state that higher-income families children have higher behaviour issues. This is why Little Angels ensure that whilst in my setting that all children will get the same treatment no matter from what background.

Finally, is there anything else you’d like to say about school readiness?

School readiness is a huge and broad subject. When will a child be ready for school is my question? Should there be time spam for the children to be ready? In my experience children develop very differently and at different stages in their life, pressuring a family and children to get them ready for school can have an impact on them in a negative way. This is why in my setting we do follow school readiness but in a different way. We help and support and encourage that each child is unique and they may not be toilet trained by the time they go to school, but at the same time ensuring that no child is forced to learn anything they won’t be able to.

We forget in this day and age that kids are kids and there must be a fun factor in their life, we make sure that everything we do has a fun factor and this has enhanced our children to the max!

To get your FREE Am I ready for school? poster click here

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