What does it mean to be “school ready”?

Many parents are looking at different school settings for next year and still scratching their heads wondering if they are making the right choice for their child.

School or Kindergarten Readiness is:

  • being able to be SUCCESSFUL in school without UNDUE STRESS OR STRAIN.
  • being DEVELOPMENTALLY READY or MATURE. Social, emotional, physical, and neurological development are just as much a part of school readiness as is intellectual development.
  • the ability to close out extraneous visual and auditory stimuli which are a constant reality in the room.  It is adjusting to many teachers and children.  It is putting up with schools bells, school rules and schedules.  It is getting on the right bus, waiting in line, keeping materials organized, purchasing lunch tickets, etc.  In short…School Readiness is the ability to COPE and LEARN at the same time.
  • should not be confused with LEARNING READINESS, VERBAL SKILLS or INTELLIGENCE.  These things are only a small part of school readiness.

 Most parents need to know:

  • the disastrous results of an unready child entering Kindergarten are not to be underestimated.
  • school readiness is much more than reading readiness. It encompasses the whole child and is concerned with social, emotional, and physical maturity as well as with intellectual ability.  Ready children are able to cope comfortably and thus are free to use their intellectual powers.
  • the first year of school is the most important.  It is the foundation upon which all other education is built.  Placing children in Kindergarten before they are mature enough to really profit from the experience cause them to “shut off,”  and reject learning, often from then on.
  • unready children do not usually “catch up.”  They may seem to because they push their intellectual growth at the expense of other areas of development (physical, emotional, social).  A child may catch up as a student, but  fall behind as a person.
  • readiness is only strengthened by time.  Waiting will not hurt the child.  On the other hand, pushing can do irreparable harm.
  • five-year-old boys are, on the average, six months less mature than five-year-old girls.
  • at least 33% of five year olds are not ready for the standard Kindergarten
  • very few children who become five in September, October, and November are ready for Kindergarten.


Much of this information quoted directly from One Piece of the Puzzle by Barbara Carll and Nancy Richard