Policy Report - Prepared for Kindergarten: What Does "Readiness" Mean?

March 2005

This policy report examines key issues for public policy related to school readiness, the relationship between school readiness and other factors in young children’s lives, and challenges in readying children for kindergarten.

By Debra J. Ackerman and W. Steven Barnett
NIEER Policy Report (March 2005)

Summary

What does school readiness mean? From age-eligibility requirements to readiness testing and from academics to social skills, it often depends on whom you ask. Studies have shown that teachers cite children's ability to communicate and pay attention as important factors of readiness while parents often concentrate on academic skills, such as counting to 20 or knowing letters, as being necessary for school readiness. How can we know that children are truly ready for school? This brief examines key issues for public policy related to school readiness, the relationship between school readiness and other factors in young children's lives, and challenges in readying children for kindergarten.

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