Concept note - School Readiness Curriculum What is School

Concept note - School Readiness Curriculum
What is School Readiness?
A primary school teacher “The child must meet the demands of schooling which comprises exclusively of
academic skills related to literacy and numeracy acquired before entering primary school.”
According to a preschooler parent view “Their child attains 5 plus years of age, and also learns alphabets and
numbers in Anganwadi/balawadi/ECE.
But recent researches and literature reveals as a common theme that school readiness is a ‘holistic’ concept,
incorporating cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical components (Janus and Offord, 2007: 2) Children’s
readiness for school is made up of multiple components and shaped by numerous factors.
Accordingly, there are 5 distinct developmental domains that influence readiness namely
Physical well-being and motor development
Social and emotional development
Background of experiences
Approaches to learn
Cognitive and language development, including pre-literacy and pre numeracy skills.
Physical Well-Being and Motor Development
Healthy children are more able to engage in the full range of life experiences that promote early learning.
Children’s motor skills and coordination have an important influence on their cognitive and social-emotional
development, as well as their academic achievement.
Social and Emotional Development
Children’s school experience is more positive and productive when they have a sense of personal well-being
established through stable, caring relationships in their early lives. Emotional health and social competence
enable children to participate in learning and form good relationships with teachers and peers.
Background of experiences
Children will not enter school ready to learn unless families, schools and communities provide the environments
and experiences that support the physical, social, emotional, language, literacy, and cognitive development of
infants, toddlers and preschool children. Efforts to improve school readiness are most effective when they
embrace the rich cultural and language backgrounds of families and children.
Approaches to Learning
Children’s school success depends not only on academic skills, but also on the learning styles, habits and
attitudes with which they approach learning. Curiosity, creativity, independence, cooperativeness and persistence
enhance early learning and development.
Cognition and language development (Pre literacy and Pre numeracy skills)
Cognitive skills, reflecting an array of experiences in the early years, help make children ready to acquire new
knowledge and information. Through cognitive development, children learn to observe, note similarities and
differences solve problems and ask questions (Mathematical knowledge and Abstract thinking). Language
proficiency is a key predictor of school success. Early literacy skills (size of vocabulary, recognizing letters,
understanding letter and sound relationships) at kindergarten entry are good predictors of children’s reading
abilities throughout their educational careers. Language and literacy skills enable children to develop cognitive
skills and knowledge and to interact effectively with peers and adults.
Importance of school readiness
The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close. If we want all children to read proficiently by fifth
grade—and to grow into healthy teens and productive adults—then we must make wise investments in the early
years. The first five years of life are critical to a child’s lifelong development. Young children’s earliest experiences
and environments set the stage for future development and success in school and life.
Children have far greater capacities for learning than previously believed, in pre-school period they are very
curious and use their imagination to guess or draw conclusions, seek answers to their questions and insist on
having their questions being answered. So schools must be ready to address the diverse needs of the children and
families in their community and be committed to the success of every child.
Early experiences actually influence brain development, establishing the neural connections that provide the
foundation for language, reasoning, problem solving, social skills, behavior and emotional health. Children’s
readiness for school is also influenced by number of other factors besides participation in a high-quality preschool
programme. Research reveals that the following factors significantly influence the process of school readiness:
o Socioeconomic status
o Mother’s education level
o Home and community environment
The policy makers and stake holders are well aware that the majority of children who attend government schools
in our country are victims of the above serious risk factors, and the existing preschool programmes that some of
them do attend fail to nurture their minds.
Therefore it becomes crucial for us to ascertain whether our primary schools have been made ready for our
children, rather than thinking wether our children are ready for school. The curriculum and pedagogy of class 1 in
all our government schools must cease to focus only on isolated academic skills and repetitive drill. The class 1
curriculum must attempt to readdress the inequalities in early life, with the aim of developing scientific thinking
skills in children and support them in this sense; Children should be given opportunities to use their senses to
make research, satisfy their curiosity, see the cause and effect relationships, bring ideas forward and make
guesses while appropriate education environments should be presented to them (Bal, 1993, p. 146). These
diversified needs can be addressed by structured readiness curriculum. To fulfill the gap in quality primary
education at early stage need for school readiness emerged.
“MANCHI PRARAMBHAM” A Readiness Curriculum, Methods and Materials for class 1
Children entering school for the first time in class are a motley group, to help children become successful learners in
primary school; “developing readiness” involves giving them the following opportunities:
communicate and express themselves freely
think for themselves, a reason
observe and question
use their imaginations
see the cause and effect relationships
bring ideas forward
make guesses
The curriculum for the first few months of class 1 should therefore focus on the above abilities, rather than
immediate use of text book to teach reading and writing. More specific activities for reading readiness and
mathematical readiness then can be introduced, which gradually lead to the actual teaching of reading, writing
and mathematics.
“Manchiprarabham” focuses on activities for intellectual stimulations to children who are entering school in
class 1. It includes tangible materials for teaching and learning of essential concepts and reasoning abilities that
all children need to develop at this stage, also materials for specific skills for in language, beginning of reading,
writing and mathematics will prepare them for further learning in primary school. For this purpose, an activitybased curriculum together about 50-60 sets of materials are provided in the package. The comprehensive
Teacher’s Hand book comprises simple step-by-step directions on how to do and deal each of the activities. It
also contains several ideas for activities that can be devised by using the most ordinary, everyday things found in
the immediate environment.
The curriculum contains different activities under specific domains as follows
Getting children ready for School; getting the school ready for children
Thinking things out
•Making relations
•Perceiving patterns
•problem solving
Begining to Count &
•Pre concepts of
less,more,greater than
,less than concepts.
•Counting, adddtions
and subtraction skills
•Numerical and number,
face value concept.
Developing Spoken
•Vocubulary activities
•Language games
•Story telling
Creative activities
•Thread, Finger painting
•Activities related to fine
motor skills
•Magic painting etc..
Getting ready for
Reading and
•Orientation to print
•Motivation to read
•Eye and hand
Out door and
Indoor games
•Physical activities
•Games useful for gross
motor skill/ long muscle
development games.