Defining and assessing the school readiness of Indigenous Australian children

Nicholas McTurk
Tess Lea

Charles Darwin University

Gary Robinson
Georgie Nutton
Jonathan R. Carapetis

Menzies School of Health Research.

THE RESEARCH EVIDENCE THAT underpins the school readiness of Indigenous Australian children is reviewed in this article, followed by identification of issues requiring research attention. Two key questions are considered:

1. How is school readiness defined and how applicable are definitions to Indigenous contexts?

2. What methods of school readiness assessment are applied to Indigenous children and are the tools appropriate or effective?

General definitions of school readiness are outlined. An ecological view defines school readiness as ready services, schools, communities and families. This view is scrutinised in detail to consider whether services, schools and communities are ready to promote Indigenous children’s education. Extended families are pivotal social constructions in many Indigenous contexts. The extent to which this is recognised in the ecological view of school readiness is assessed. Thereafter, the methods of assessing children’s school readiness are reviewed, highlighting the shortfall in techniques specifically designed and validated for Indigenous Australians and the variable applicability of the techniques currently in use.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood – Volume 36 No 1 February 2011

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Vol. 36 No 1 February 2010
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Last updated: (April 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm)

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