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Contemporary school readiness conceptualizes that ready schools can affect parents’ and children’s school preparation practices. Ready schools are responsible for meeting the diverse needs of every unique child. It is an important consideration that can improve the quality of education for children’s best interests. Yet, current school readiness research is dominated by how stakeholders view children can adjust to fit schools while the concept of ready schools remains unexplored, especially in Singapore. A discernible gap exists in the literature on parents’ perception of ready schools. Hence, the present study reports parental conceptions of ready schools and their unique perspective of school readiness in Singapore.
This study employed an exploratory case study methodology to unveil the obscure phenomenon of ready schools. 13 parental experiences with preparing their K2 children for Primary 1 in Singapore were gathered with two types of data collection methods: an in-depth interview and a scenario-based interview. The sample included 4 married couples to develop a comprehensive understanding of school readiness and ready schools.
The study’s novel approach to investigating school readiness revealed that parents recognized that current primary schools had prepared their staff, environment, and policies for incoming children only to a limited degree. The study highlighted two key issues, namely a) the academic rigor of existing schools and b) the heavy workload of schoolteachers, which are foundational and need addressing before a school can become ready and facilitate continuity from preschool to primary school. Parents held traditional school readiness definitions that focussed on preparing children to fit into schools. Hence, they expressed ambiguity with the concept of Ready Schools. They could not easily conceive how schools could become ready schools. However, they selected ready primary schools for their children and called for primary schools, in general, to become ready. Other significant findings included parents’ reliance on preschools as crucial agents in adjusting children for primary schools and parents’ experience of COVID-19 and the ways it shaped existing ready schools practices.
Findings can inform policymakers and stakeholders on barriers to ready schools. The study presents Singapore’s unique state of school readiness as perceived by parents. This investigation anticipates that it can be a starting point that shifts societal views on school readiness – from simply preparing children to a perspective that considers ready schools. In this context, further study into teachers' and children’s perspectives of school readiness and ready schools is essential.
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checked on Jun 5, 2023
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