There is no universally accepted definition of which skills are taught for school readiness. In the UK, there is a drive from the government for academic achievement across Maths and English, and many practitioners assume school readiness refers to developing these areas.
There are also a range of opinions on whether school readiness applies to starting the reception year at school, or whether the foundation stage - to include preschool, nursery and reception is the time when school readiness is developed in preparation for starting year one.
UNICEF have looked at this on a global scale, focussing on “ready schools, ready families and ready children” while researchers have coined phrases such as “Pre-Learning Behaviour” or “Pre-School Life skills” to describe the areas they want to teach.
Ofsted have developed guidelines on school readiness, and also make specific reference to children with additional needs. Ofsted identify general delays across communication, language, literacy and maths. In children with additional needs Ofsted report difficulties with communication, social and emotional, and physical development. Ofsted recommend addressing these difficulties through small group work, parental engagement, baseline assessment, speaking, listening and communication, and recommend identifying special educational needs before school starts - all of which can be supported and developed on our early steps course.
What Does Early Steps Teach?
We value the school readiness skills that help children to belong, be accepted and to be ready for the teaching and learning that schools can and do provide exceptionally well! The four areas we focus our teaching on are linked to an evidence base which incorporates research into preparing children for school, and also the views of over 3000 teachers. We focus on communication, independence, following instructions and friendship skills.
We also acknowledge the contribution preschools and nurseries can make towards exposing children to environments where they are surrounded by other children, have structure and routines to learn and have the opportunity to engage in self directed learning through play and the environment. We do not assume to replace this on the Early Steps course, but recognise many children are not learning these skills through practise and exposure to a group environments. More intensive and individualised teaching is required to break down skills into smaller parts, to use positive reinforcement, and to structure the environment to increase opportunities to practise and develop these skills until they are secure.
The Early steps course is a unique opportunity within the field of school readiness and children with additional needs because we have:
Parent training incorporated, working with experts and children together
Parent support and community
Supporting early diagnosis
Ongoing therapy programme, attend multiple courses, each one building on the previous
Daily monitoring and updating of targets
Effective, heavily researched programmes, delivered by highly trained and experienced professionals including a PhD researcher from the centre for educational development appraisal and research at the University of Warwick
Unique model- most parent courses don’t combine therapy with support outside of sessions.
If you would like to hear more about school readiness please get in touch.