Teaching Essays – School Readiness
Teaching Essays – School Readiness

Teaching Essays – School Readiness

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  • Pages: 8 (2103 words)
  • Published: September 27, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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School Readiness

The main focus of this paper is School Readiness.

The purpose of this paper is to combine cognition and emotion in order to comprehend how children function at school. The changing work and societal landscape in the United States highlights the importance of individuals actively seeking and utilizing knowledge in various ways. Both the workplace and classroom now require easy access to information, as well as critical thinking and creativity skills, which lead to self-regulated learning through goal setting, strategy use, and self-monitoring. The ability of educational institutions to enhance thinking skills and produce self-regulated learners is essential for the future role of the United States in the global economy and sustaining democracy (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999; President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, 1997).

The issue is that there is a need for a better understanding of how young children actively seek out knowled


ge and apply it from a research perspective on learning (Lambert & McCombs, 1998).

The text explores the connection between motivation, self-regulation, and academic achievement. It asserts that regardless of intelligence, strong motivation and self-regulation contribute to academic success. However, there is limited understanding about how motivation and engaged learning develop during early childhood. The participation of parents, peers, and school factors can impact motivation and engagement levels. Furthermore, there has been inadequate research on children's characteristics related to brain development and their capacity for learning engagement. Ultimately, it emphasizes the importance of self-regulatory skills in facilitating successful school adjustment while influencing various behaviors and traits.

Research has indicated that intelligence has traditionally been considered a significant predictor of academic success. However, evidence suggests that indicators of self-regulation ability may also b

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independent and equally influential predictors of school performance. Numerous studies on school readiness underscore the importance of self-regulation (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994; Normandeau & Guay, 1998; Wentzel, Weinberger, Ford, & Feldman, 1990). Academic achievement in both elementary and preschool classrooms, as well as special education classrooms, has shown clear associations with the amount of time students spend engaged in academic activities (Carta, Greenwood, & Robinson ,1987; Greenwood, 1991).

The factors of emotionality and regulation in different stages of behavior are also linked to academic achievement in both regular and special education classrooms. Teachers rate children who are less easily distracted and demonstrate positive emotions and moderate levels of emotional strength as more cooperative and achieving at higher academic levels compared to children without these characteristics (Keogh, 1992; Martin, Drew, Gaddis, & Moseley, 1988; Palinsin, 1986). Additionally, the aspects of social and cognitive self-regulation, including skills related to friendship and social interactions (Ladd, Birch, & Buhs, 1999) and perceived control over learning (Skinner et al., 1998), highlight the importance of children's self-regulatory abilities during the transition to school. Moreover, data gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics survey on kindergarten teachers' evaluations of essential or very important child traits for kindergarten readiness indicate that teachers are primarily concerned with the regulatory aspects of children's behavior (Lewit ; Baker, 1995).

Notably, 84% of instructors believe that it is crucial for kids to communicate their wants, needs, and ideas verbally. Furthermore, 76% believe that kids should possess enthusiasm and a sense of humor, while 60% endorse the importance of kids being able to follow instructions, refrain from disrupting the class, and show empathy towards their peers. In contrast, only

21% of instructors see the ability to use a pencil or paintbrush as essential. Similarly, a mere 10% and 7% respectively consider knowing several letters of the alphabet and being able to count to 20 as crucial or very important for kindergarten readiness. Additionally, a survey conducted by the National Center for Early Development and Learning revealed that 46% of kindergarten teachers felt that over half of their students lacked the necessary skills and experiences needed to thrive in the classroom. This indicates that many children enter school without effective self-regulation skills.

In summary, the instructor studies have shown that kindergarten teachers prioritize children's ability to regulate their behavior in school activities rather than just focusing on their cognitive and academic preparedness. They stress the importance of children being attentive, responsive, and engaged in the classroom.

Development of Regulation

Despite the growing interest in self-regulation and its relevance to school readiness, there has been no research conducted on individual differences in self-regulation and how it relates to functional outcomes like school adjustment. The cognitive abilities that support self-regulated learning are commonly known as executive or metacognitive skills. Executive function combines working memory, attention, and inhibitory control to plan and carry out purposeful activities. In other words, it integrates basic cognitive processes with a goal-oriented executive system.

A normative developmental survey has been conducted on executive function, using cross-sectional designs and a battery of neuropsychological appraisals. The results indicate that there is an age-related maturation in the development of the concept and its constituent procedures. These findings suggest that the development of cognitive procedures involved in executive function rely partly on the maturation of the prefrontal cerebral cortex around the

time children start school. Additionally, research has found that executive ability and general intelligence have only a moderate correlation, emphasizing that executive regulation is an independent contributor to school adjustment. Clinical studies on frontal lobe damage have shown that depending on the location of the damage, specific cognitive abilities and general intelligence may remain intact but planning, self-monitoring, attention, and response to rewards or punishments may be greatly impaired.

The study conducted by Kochanska, Murray, and Coy (1997) discovered that effortful or repressive control plays a significant role in young children's adoption of behavioral norms. The study employed a multimethod approach to investigate effortful control, which encompassed the ability to suppress dominant responses and prioritize subdominant ones when instructed, such as delaying gratification. The findings indicated that effortful control increases with age, remains consistent over time, and becomes more reliable. Effortful control is influenced by various factors related to children and parents. These factors include infants' capacity to focus attention, maternal reactivity towards the child, and parental personality traits like dependability, prudence, and self-control (Kochanska et al., 2000). Additionally, maternal reactivity during face-to-face interaction in infancy has been identified as a predictor of effortful control at 24 months of age.

Notably, the interplay between mother-child affectional synchronism and child negative emotionalism is a significant predictor of self-regulation. Particularly, the impact of affectional synchronism in mother-infant interaction on the development of effortful control is significant for kids who display high negative emotionalism during infancy. Affectional synchronism has a lesser effect on effortful control for babies who do not exhibit negative emotionalism. The role of negative emotionalism in early intervention to prevent grade retention is of great interest. Grade

retention is an educational practice that often has detrimental effects on children's academic and social success in school.

Despite evidence indicating negative consequences associated with its use, the practice of grade keeping persists and effective strategies to prevent its occurrence are necessary. The ongoing use of grade keeping as a remedial measure appears to indicate a lack of alternative solutions when teachers have concerns regarding the academic progress, maturity, and overall school readiness of individual children. If rate keeping is dependent on the interrelationships among children's social, emotional, and cognitive adaptation to school, it is possible that early compensatory instructional interventions that specifically address social and emotional functioning could prevent its occurrence.

Future Directions

Examining the role of emotionality in early intervention to promote school readiness and prevent grade retention provides a useful model for assessing the potential impact that programs aimed at enhancing social and emotional competency may have in preschool education.

The survey of emotionalism suggests that a potentially effective way for early intervention attempts could be the implementation of plans in preschool and early elementary school. These plans would combine interventions focused on social and emotional competency with early compensatory instruction, providing a strong model for promoting school preparedness and success. As mentioned before, several compensatory instruction interventions have shown cognitive benefits for recipients. Additionally, various school-based programs aimed at enhancing social and emotional competency have demonstrated benefits for children's social skills. An interesting intersection between programs focused on social competency and those that are more cognitively oriented is problem-solving related to the development of executive cognitive function. An example of this is the Promoting Alternative Thinking Skills (PATHS) curriculum, which uses an executive cognitive problem-solving

approach to promote prosocial behavior and social competency in young children. This intervention program has been shown to improve social competency, emotion regulation, and problem-solving skills in early elementary grades (Greenberg, Kusche, Cook, & Quamma, 1995).

The neurobiological approach to early childhood instruction and school preparedness is based on the idea that the school classroom represents a distinct context where specific regulatory demands are placed on children. Children are expected to adapt to a socially defined role that they may or may not have been previously socialized into. Differences in children's ability to regulate themselves within this environment, as well as differences in support for their self-regulatory efforts both inside and outside of the classroom, are important for understanding preparedness in a broader ecological model (Meisels, 1996; Pianta, Rimm-Kaufman, & Cox, 1999). This means that considering children's characteristics in the development of preparedness does not exclude the study of the influences of parents, schools, and communities. On the contrary, taking an ecological contextual perspective in researching child development necessitates their inclusion.

Research workers in the past twenty years have shifted their focus from traditional measures of children's preparedness that solely focus on cognitive abilities and skills. The limited benefits of this approach have led researchers to seek alternative definitions and determiners of preparedness. Recognizing preparedness as a socially constructed phenomenon has resulted in expanding the research base to include schools, teachers, and educational policies that aim to maximize children's potential for success in school. Additionally, efforts to promote preparedness through understanding the neurobiology and psychophysiology of children's emotions and regulation may lead to long-term benefits. Measures of biologically based processes can serve as both predictors and outcomes

in evaluating programs that aim to enhance preparedness and school success.

Programs can utilize physiological and neurocognitive measures to identify individuals at high risk for poor school outcomes due to negative emotional responsiveness. Treatment-risk interactions can be specified to improve the accuracy of estimating intervention effects on outcomes. Although brain imaging techniques may not be available for children under seven years of age due to assessment limitations, magnetic resonance imaging and possibly positron emission imaging could be used, along with physiological and neurocognitive assessments, as outcome measures for evaluating the effectiveness of preschool interventions. Programs could demonstrate effectiveness through assessments of behavioral outcomes and underlying neurobiology and physiology, as seen in the studies by Fox et al.

(2001) and Davidson and Rickman (1999), studies have indicated that emotional responsiveness and EEG measures of frontal asymmetry change over time. Intervention studies may demonstrate changes in frontal asymmetry and emotionalism, in response to curricula designed to reduce stress, promote emotional competence, enhance attention, working memory, and other aspects of cognitive self-regulation. As Nelson (1999) pointed out, advancements in neuroscientific measurement techniques and understanding of neural plasticity and human development can now inform the conceptualization and evaluation of interventions aimed at promoting competency and resilience.


In conclusion, the neurobiological approach to studying preparedness can now replace nativist or idealist concepts that solely focus on maturation. The maturational perspective, primarily associated with Arnold Gessell (1925), proposed that preparedness develops gradually through the acquisition of abilities such as sitting quietly, focusing on tasks, following directions, and attending.

Certainly, the neurodevelopmental position of preparedness has some maturational element. However, the traditional maturational position has been completely replaced by an epigenetic framework that considers the interplay

between nature and nurturing (Elman et al., 1996). In fact, the ideas that led to the rejection of the traditional maturational position and the adoption of an epigenetic framework were already present during Gesell's time, particularly in Myrtle McGraw's work (1946/1995). While a purely maturational view is and always has been inappropriate as a theoretical basis for studying children, the characteristics of children that are important for preparedness, which such a perspective seeks to explain, remain crucial to the concept.

In their current form, however, these characteristics are now connected to a comprehensive and environmentally conscious approach that combines neuroscience and behavior research. Researchers, educators, and policymakers studying readiness and school adaptation should be aware of this. To achieve this goal, I have attempted to propose a concept of preparedness that emphasizes important aspects of child performance in a way that is well-established in theory and supported by empirical evidence, and that shows clear connections to family, peer, classroom, school, and community influences on readiness and academic success.

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