Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kindergarten Readiness: A Framework from Sesame Workshop

Preparing children for school, and ensuring they have the skills required to be a successful learner, can be a challenge for every parent. Parents are often left wondering what abilities their child needs to have mastered before entering school, leaving them with high levels of anxiety about how to best prepare their child for school, and what the commencement of kindergarten will bring.

Sesame Workshop, the educational research organization behind Sesame Street, commissioned the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study to examine school readiness in today’s children. Their findings where released in the Kindergartners’ Skills at School Entry report in July 2014. The report reveals discrepancies in kindergarten readiness, with 44% of children entering school with one or more risk factors that have the potential to impact their success in school.

In response to the data and in acknowledgement of the anxiety parents face around school readiness, Sesame Workshop decided to make their personal Kindergarten Readiness Framework available to the public. This document is the culmination of over 45 years of their independent research on early learning. Previously, Sesame Workshop has used this guide as their internal framework to help ensure that the content they produce is developmentally appropriate and supports the educational growth of their young audience. The document is robust, and highly supported by current research.

It does an excellent job of breaking down and detailing twenty key school readiness skills that are thought to help promote success in school settings. Furthermore, each content area (language, math, science, health, emotional regulation etc.) is sectioned by age, and offers developmentally appropriate skills that a child should be achieving in years two through five.

Hopefully, this guide is able to answer some of your questions about kindergarten readiness, and the key skills your child needs before entering the classroom. However, it is important to note that children progress and develop at different rates. Therefore, if you find that your child isn’t preforming at a level described in the framework, don't  be alarmed. This is only a guide, not a diagnostic tool. It is also only one tool of many to help you determine your child’s readiness for school. If you are still left with concerns over your child’s kindergarten readiness, you should start by talking to your child's pediatrician about how your child is developing and acquiring skills.

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