Tips for passing the school readiness assessment

The school readiness assessment measures how prepared a child is to success at school

Now, of course I won’t be giving you tips on how to help your child cheat on the school readiness assessment, as that would be unethical and would completely defeat the object of the assessment.  But many of the school readiness assessments standardised for use in South Africa include 2 items that are, in my opinion, rather outdated.

The first of these requires that the child tie a knot and bow in a shoelace – a great test of fine motor ability and motor planning. But tying a knot (and especially a bow) requires a certain amount of practice, something our children no longer do thanks to a wonderful new generation of shoes that all tie with Velcro straps or zips.  Undoubtedly saving busy moms lots of time but unknowingly tripping children up in their school readiness assessments. The unfair part about this is that several tests will then indicate that children have weak fine motor skills, while in fact their skills are perfectly adequate.

The second item requires that children are able to read an analogue clock.  This item was designed as a measure of both number sense  and independence, but has been rendered completely unnecessary by the use of digital displays on wristwatches and the newest must-have school accessory cellphones (yes, sad as it is, I’ve seen grade 1’s walking around on the playground with fancy Black Berries!).

So, the tip is: teach your child how to tie shoelaces and to read an analogue clock.  Sorry, there’s no short-cut around these issues but they will stand your child in good stead come assessment day and have the added benefits of allowing your child to gain a sense of accomplishment and a chance to spend some quiet time bonding with your special little person in our increasingly rushed society.

Have fun!