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Original Published Date: 
Friday, October 23, 2020

Full article issued by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (Life Course Centre). 

A new study supported by the Life Course Centre and undertaken by researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute at The University of Western Australia has found there is a bigger picture to consider when determining whether a child is ready to start school.

In the study, researchers reviewed the experiences of 4,000 families with pre-school-aged children to better understand the link between school readiness and subsequent outcomes such as reading comprehension, school attendance, and emotional and behavioural difficulties.

School readiness is an important predictor of the child’s future success and is often thought of in terms of formal assessments made at the start of a child’s education. It is broadly accepted to include capacities which will support a child at school, such as early academic ability, learning engagement, and social-emotional skills.

However, Telethon Kids researcher and Life Course Centre Research Fellow, Daniel Christensen, said the study had shown other factors – such as a child’s parents and family, their home environment and their local community – were just as important and should be part of the mix when working out how ready a child was for school and whether they needed extra support.

Promisingly, the study found 70 per cent of pre-schoolers were well-prepared for school. These children tended to perform better in a range of areas later in primary school, including reading, comprehension, school absenteeism and emotional and behavioural difficulties. 

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Image: pixabay (Public Domain).