In recent years, the concept of readiness has attained new importance as the focus of the first National Education Goal, endorsed in 1989 by the nation's governors and the President: "By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn."
What does readiness mean? Gredler (1992, p. 7) identifies several viewpoints on the concept of school readiness:
Gredler (1991) discusses the implications of these viewpoints:
"Implications of adopting the maturational view are that the child must wait until deemed ready to be taught the curriculum. Transition rooms and prekindergarten placements are two administrative mechanisms used when school entrance is delayed. Implications of the other models, however, consist of planning and implementing instruction that adapts to individual differences. In other words, in one view the child adapts to the curriculum, while in the other perspectives the curriculum adapts to the child." (p. 18)
He concludes: "School readiness is not an absolute concept, since readiness is related to the expectations and demands that children face at entry into kindergarten and subsequent years of schooling" (p. 16). This relativism makes assessment of school readiness a complicated issue.
For further information on readiness, refer to the NAEYC Position Statement on School Readiness (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1995).