AGES 2-6 YEARS :
All children are born ready to learn in their environment. Brain generates new cells each day and helps the child acquire new skills. But a good stimulating environment is needed for learning new skills. Inactivity kills the brain – “If you don’t use it, you Lose it”. A child starts learning from the Home environment and understands basic concepts of speech language communication and cognition at home. This learning starts occurring prior to entering school and extends beyond the walls of a classroom to daily life.
School Readiness is a program defined by two distinctive features; ‘transition’ and ‘gaining competencies’. A child being made to sit in a new environment to learn may appear as a great challenge to him/ her and may take time to adjust to the new educational setting. Physical and emotional health as well as readiness to learn new skills has the most direct link to child development, child’s mental health and performance in school.
School Readiness Programs are most successful when Parents provide quality time and understand & pursue the program consistently; the home environment is congenial and parenting style and disciplining methods at home is provided in a loving and assertive manner.
The five dimensions of Early Development and Learning considered critical to a child’s readiness for school.
- Health And Physical Development
- Emotional Well-Being And Social Competence
- Approaches To Learning
- Language Development
- Cognition And General Knowledge
A child who is ready for school should have the basic minimum skills and knowledge in a variety of domains that will enable the child to be successful in school. These minimum standards of what child knows and is able to do, makes the child eager to learn when he/she enters school. If these minimum basic skills are absent or deficit the child feels lost and doesn’t understand the purpose of being in the school environment and learning does not take place.
The three dimensions of school readiness are: [UNICEF, 2016]
- Ready children, focusing on children’s learning and development.
- Ready schools, focusing on school environment that supports a smooth transition for and promotes the learning of all children.
- Ready families, focusing on parental attitudes and involvement in their children’s early learning and development and transition to school.
The three supporting conditions that contribute to preparing a child to enter school are:
- Having access to quality preschool programs.
- Parents as children’s first teachers. Parent’s with the Right Assertive Parenting Skills.
- Appropriate home environment, appropriate nutrition and emotional & health care.
For a Good Approach towards learning to develop, skills such as following are essential and allow a professional to understand the child’s preparedness for school:
- Listening Skills
- Attention Span
- Body Awareness
- Task Persistence
- Task Completion
- Problem solving
- Building Curiosity to know about new things
- Cognitive Functioning
- Personal Social Skills
- Communication Skills
- Adaptive Skills
- Motor Skills
- Home Environment
- Parental Knowledge and Skills
- Parenting Style and Disciplining Methods
A transition into mainstream school can be an emotional and stressful time for children and parents alike, but even more so for a child with autism or any other intellectual developmental disorder. The School Readiness program draws on extensive research to provide children with the practical and social skills necessary in a classroom environment.
This is the first of its kind of a School Readiness Program as a targeted, comprehensive and accessible program for improving school readiness in children with autism, speech language and communication disorders, and other intellectual developmental disorders.
The program sees parents and a multi disciplinary team working together to ensure that each child has the skills to achieve a smooth transition into schooling.
SOME ESSENTIAL SKILLS IN CERTAIN DOMAINS ARE NECESSARY FOR A SUCCESFUL EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM:
Numerous rationales exist for assessing young children for school readiness and remedial programs; that it supports learning and instruction taking; it helps identify children for additional special services; it helps evaluate ongoing programs and to monitor the progress in development.
Personal-Social Domain – Those abilities and characteristics that facilitate children engaging in positive and meaningful social interactions. The behaviors measured include adult interaction, expression of feelings/affect, self-concept, peer interaction, coping, and social role.
Adaptive Domain –
a) Self-help skills – Those skills and behaviors that enable the child to become increasingly more independent in daily living skills such as feeding, dressing, and personal toileting needs.
b) Task-related skills – Those skills which involve the child’s ability to pay attention to specific stimuli for increasingly longer periods of time, to initiate purposeful activity and follow through appropriately for task completion. Behaviors measured include attention, eating, dressing, personal responsibility, and toileting.
Motor Domain – Gross motor development (large muscle movement and control) and fine motor development (hand and finger skills; and hand-eye coordination). Behaviors measured include muscle control, body coordination, locomotion, fine muscle, and perceptual motor skills.
Communication Domain – Understanding and using language to communicate for various purposes. Behaviors measured include a child’s reception and expression of information, thoughts, and ideas through verbal and nonverbal means.
Cognitive Domain – Skills and abilities that are conceptual in nature. Abilities measured include perceptual discrimination, memory, and reasoning. Tasks include comparison among objects based on physical features (color, shape, size) and properties (weight); sequencing events; putting together parts of a whole; grouping and sorting similar objects and identifying similarities and differences among objects based on common characteristics
Parenting Skills – Unconditional love for the child combined with Assertive disciplining is essential.
Home Environment –
- Physical Home Environment
- Cognitive Home Environment
- Social Home Environment
- Supportive Home Environment