How do I know if my child may need a school readiness assessment?
A school readiness assessment is often required by prospective primary schools for children who are currently in Grade R and are scheduled to proceed to Grade 1 the following year. The assessment helps to determine if there are any developmental delays or areas where your child may need support in order to cope in their Grade 1 year. A child’s Grade 1 year is important as it sets the tone for how they feel about school going forward. If a child struggles and is perhaps not ready for Grade 1, they could have a negative experience which might carry over into future years. In order to be school ready, your child should be able to meet the social and academic expectations in their Grade 1 year. Being ‘school ready’ is not only about the academic skills that your child needs but more importantly the social and emotional maturity they will need for this year.
How will a school readiness assessment help my child?
A school readiness assessment will look holistically at a child’s functioning. This will help parents and teachers to better understand the child and how they can support the child and promote healthy development. The assessment will look at the following areas of development: a child’s motor development (gross and fine motor skills), their social and emotional development, their cognition and general knowledge, language development, and approaches to learning. This will then help parents and teachers ascertain if the child is ready to cope with the demands of Grade 1. The assessment may indicate areas that need additional or specialist attention. It is good if this is picked up early as it allows for early intervention and support which will greatly assist the child in the future.
What exactly is involved in a school readiness assessment?
School-readiness assessments are a subset of psycho-educational assessments and are usually recommended for children in the third and sometimes fourth term of their Grade R year. This assessment will involve similar assessments that are involved in the Psycho-educational Assessment, however, the tests are designed for a younger child. The formal school readiness assessment is done looking at the following areas: social, emotional, physical and intellectual capabilities. The assessment usually starts with an initial interview with the parents (+/- 60 minutes). Thereafter testing is done, during which time a series of tests are used, including formal and informal tests. Testing will take place in the morning when your child is well rested. A feedback session will then be setup up with parents to discuss the results of the assessment and the way forward. A formal report outlining the results of the assessment will also be given to the parents. The onus is on the parents to decide if they would like to share this report with a teacher or prospective school.