School readiness is determined on a variety of levels such as cognitive readiness, social readiness, emotional readiness and perceptual readiness.
Social readiness refers to the fact that children should be less egocentric and sufficiently socially integrated. Children must be willing to share, ready to play with others and should show signs of identifying with the group. A positive self-concept is essential.
Cognitive readiness means that children can understand one-to-one relationships, can trace shapes, understand cause and effect and have the ability to pay attention and to complete tasks.
Emotional readiness refers to self-confidence and asking questions and learning to be less dependent on the mother.
Finally perceptual readiness implies the normal development of the child's perceptual functions (visual and auditory perceptual skills).
Children who enter Grade 1 without developing vital readiness skills are 'at risk' for their future academic, social and occupational success.
Quite often, the decision is clear - the indicators are strong, and unambiguous - the pre-schooler would benefit from a further year in a preschool setting. However, there are times when the situation is not so clear cut and then it becomes necessary for parents and educators to seek a professional and objective opinion.
School readiness can most definitely be assessed using a combination of valid and reliable psychometric tests together with more informal data gained from targeted interviews with teachers and parents.
Cognitive readiness is assessed by using the Group Test for Five-and-six year olds. This provides us with an estimated I.Q score as well as with a mental age.
Visual perceptual skills and visual-motor development is assessed by means of the Bender Gestalt Test.
An in-depth physical and conceptual examination is also conducted during the investigation. Here we look at issues such as laterality, gross and fine motor control, spatial orientation, dominance and postural control.
Conclusions about the child's emotional and social readiness are based on the child's background questionnaire, test behaviour, interviews with parents and teachers and the child's drawings.