School readiness : a comparative study of psychological and home environmental variables.
The main aim of this study was to identify those elements in a child's home background that assist him to become schoolready. The secondary, though closely related aims were to determine whether significant cognitive and linguistic differences existed between schoolready and non-schoolready children. The study, moreover, sought to establish whether the parents of these two groups of children differed in their views about the manner in which children should be reared. The sample of children comprised the following two groups: (a) The Preschoolers, who were due to enter Class i in 1990 had had approximately one year's preschool experience. On the basis of the results of a test of schoolreadiness, these children were divided further into two groups - a "schoolready" group and a "non-schoolready group". Each of these groups comprised thirty children. (b) The Non-Preschoolers, who were also due to enter Class i in 1990, but lacked preschool experience. These children were divided into a "schoolready" and a "non-schoolready" group on the same basis as the Preschoolers. Each group comprised twenty children. Cognitive ability was tested by means of the Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices and language ability by means of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. The results of this study highlighted the role of the home as perhaps the single most important educational agency in a child's early years. A stimulating home environment plays an important part in helping the child to become schoolready. The following aspects were found to be particularly influential in this process: low educational level of the parents, poor housing, low income and poor reading habits of parents. A second major finding of this study was that children who had had preschool experience were better equipped to meet the demands of the formal school situation. Moreover, cognitive development is highly dependent upon the kind of verbal interactions between parents and child, and this, in turn, has a marked impact on the child's scholastic performance. The study also revealed that the parents of non-schoolready children are, by and large, more authoritarian in their relationship with their children and in their views about how children should be reared. The report ends with an indication of various steps that can be taken to promote schoolreadiness among preschool children. It is suggested that the implementation of these steps would lead to a smaller number of non-ready six-year- olds seeking admission to Class i at the beginning of each year.