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An Introduction to School Readiness

Children with different personalities and special needs may respond differently to the types of activity presented to them in early years settings. The routines and norms of communication in different home cultures can also make adapting to different preschool expectations easy or challenging. From Bernstein (2002) to Baker Bell (2020) researchers show how white middle class patterns of speech can be difficult for some children to understand and be understood.

Some children can find it very difficult to sit still for 5 minutes, what will there experience of preschool be? Some children find other children playing around them uncomfortable and distracting, what type of environment will they prefer?

This activity is an opportunity to think about how particular children might respond to the different types of School Readiness identified in the previous activity.

Read the two case studies below and think about how the two children would respond to the different types of School Readiness activities identified in the previous activity.


Case Study 1

Happiness is 5 years old and has recently moved to Moss Side from Nigeria with her mother who is studying in the UK for a year.

She has been attending a Fee-paying Montessori Kindergarten in Nigeria for the last 6 months. She is lively and outgoing and has made friends in the kindergarten, engaging enthusiastically with the play-based activities, group stories and songs.

She can write her own initials and knows some letter names and can count up to 20 without prompts. She has been going to the toilet by herself since she was two and a half.

Case Study 2

Oscar is 4 and a half years old, and his family have been living in Hulme for some time. Oscar was born prematurely and has been susceptible to respiratory infections since he was small and has Asthma.

He has spent most of his time at home with his parents who are able to take turns caring for him through shift work. Oscar has attended some preschool sessions since he was 2 but this has been a little irregular mixed with periods of illness.

He is sometimes upset and reluctant for his parents to leave and then is quite clingy to staff members preferring to be close to them and observe them rather than join in with play. He is quite quiet but asks for the things he needs.

Oscar likes story and rhyme times when everyone sits together. Oscar was still in nappies when he started preschool and has recently started using the toilet independently following an initiative from the preschool working with Oscars’ parents.

After reflecting on what you have read above, complete the following task:

Write down some reflections for each child identifying your anticipations about how they might respond to the two different approaches to School Readiness.