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ADE BIENNALE ON EDUCATION IN AFRICA (L IBREVILLE, GABON, MARCH 27-31, 2006) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pre-School Education and School Readiness: the Kenya Experience --------------------------------------------------------------------------

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ade biennale on education in africa l ibreville gabon march 27 31 2006


Pre-School Education and School Readiness:the Kenya Experience


by NGARUIYA Samuel, B.Ed (Science honours), MA (CYC), SEO MOEST Kenya

pre school and school readiness
Pre-school and School Readiness:
  • The overarching objective of pre-school program is to:
    • build a strong foundation for cognitive, socio-emotional and health development that will enable the child to maximize his/her learning potential upon entering primary school.
  • School readiness is the acquisition by the child of:
    • Theappropriate knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities that will help him / her to cope with the primary school curriculum and other learning demands.
why school readiness
MDG No 2, underscores the need to ensure that by 2015, everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

The indicators include: net enrolment ratio in primary and the proportion of children starting grade one who reach grade five

In order for children to enroll and complete primary education without drop out or repetition, then children need to enter school ready to learn and the schools must also be ready to receive and retain the children

One of the key expected results in the sessional paper No. 1 of 2005 on policy framework for Education, Training and Research are: to attain UPE and EFA by 2015 and to raise primary school to secondary transition rate from 47% to 70% by 2008

develop a comprehensive ECD policy, enhance access and quality of ECDE services and build capacityThese will be done under the Kenya Education Sector Support program (KESSP) 2005- 2010.

Free Primary Education policy (2003)

Why School Readiness?
why school readiness cont
Why School Readiness Cont.?
  • Enhancing completion rates in primary, secondary and tertiary education levels
  • lowering the likelihood of grade repetition and dropout of school
  • Reducing the need for special education services
  • government and society cost reduction in provision of education
  • decreased government spending hence investment for development
  • increased revenue for investment in development programmes
  • increased productivity due to better educated populace
what influences school readiness
What Influences School Readiness?

Physical well-being

cognitive dev. problem solving

Language dev social dev.

learning approaches Emotional dev. Temperaments

transition to primary school study
Transition to Primary School Study

Transiting from one learning environment to another can be a sources of:

  • vulnerability
  • uncertainty
  • exposure to new demands
  • feeling of stress
  • Changes which may be beyond developmental capacities of the child.
transition to primary school cont
Transition to Primary School Cont.

Transition is determined in four probability situations (Mwaura & Nyamwaya):

  • child is ready for school BUT school is not ready for the child.
  • the school is ready BUT the child is not ready
  • both child and school are NOT ready and
  • both child and school are ready
transition study key findings
Transition Study: Key Findings
  • Smooth transition from pre-school to primary school could be enhanced through a situation of mutual readiness, whereby children are ready for school and the school is also ready for the children.
  • School readiness would be determined by: physical environment, quality of services, teachers’ characteristics, learning/teaching aids, social emotional climate and learners’ behaviuor. Other variables include availability of the pre-schools, accessibility, quality and responsiveness to local needs and circumstances
transition study key findings conti
Transition study: Key Findings Conti.
  • There were different perceptions of school readiness
  • Academic testing/interviews used for placement in class one
  • Teaching approaches in lower primary NOT child friendly
  • inadequate and inappropriate Physical facilities
  • Low degree of linkage and interaction between pre- school (teachers and children) and primary school.
what inhibits smooth transition
What Inhibits Smooth Transition?
  • Lack of clear policy guidelines (on the relationship between preschool and primary school).
  • Lack of data (on the need and effects of the preschool and primary linkage)
  • Disparity in learning environment
  • Lack of indicators for mutual readiness
  • Lack of harmony between the perceived objectives of pre- school, the practice in place and formal objectives and practices of ECD.
assessment of school readiness study background
Assessment of School Readiness:- Study Background
  • Recognition that, the learning capacity and value orientation of a child are largely determined by the time the child reaches age of formal schooling
  • Politics:- FPE policy
  • Different pre-school models /same primary curriculum
  • Admission criteria:- academic testing; school entry age
  • Lack of holistic, developmentally based assessment of school readiness
  • High drop-out, repetition and absenteeism rate in lower primary
  • Need to reinforce importance of ECD for SR.


school readiness study methodology
School Readiness: Study Methodology

Study Design

A causal-comparative survey research to compare

school readiness amongst pre-school children in public and private pre-schools models located in three different SES neighbourhoods.

  • Westlands Division [High SES neighbourhood]
  • Buruburu Division [middle SES neighbourhod]
  • Mathare Division [low SES neighbourhood]

Nb. Nairobi has extremes of economic group with 74% of Households classified as low or very low income); many different pre-school models;

school readiness study methodology cont
Public pre-schools

Community pre-schools-established and managed by local communities and uses the government ECD curriculum guidelines

Madrasa pre-schools – learning centres established by Moslem communities to offer Koranic teachings and secular pre-school activities.

Private pre-schools models

Pre-schools following government curriculum guidelines but are owned and managed by private individuals, firms or companies.

Pre-schools following Montessori curriculum. They are established and managed by private individuals or organisations.

School Readiness: Study Methodology Cont.
domains of development school readiness
Domains of Development /School readiness
  • Language and Literacy
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Health and Motor Development
  • Cognitive /Logic and Reasoning
  • Approaches toward Learning
  • Special needs
school readiness study major findings
School Readiness Study: Major Findings
  • Children from private models outperformed those from public models in language and cognitive development skills.
  • Children from low SES, had relatively better social emotional readiness scores compared with those from middle and high SES.
  • There is a significant relationship between the school readiness scores outcomes and the type and location of pre-school.
school readiness major findings cont
School Readiness:Major Findings Cont.
  • Age at which children start pre-schooling differs by SES and pre-school model.
  • comparatively children in private pre-school were rated better in physical/health development
  • Private pre-school models had better stimulating and child friendly classrooms compared with the public pre-school models.
initiatives to address transition and school readiness
Initiatives to Address Transition and School Readiness
  • GOK /WB Project - Implementation of a transition component in 30 districts (1998- 2004): Results….
      • Development of a bridge curriculum,
      • harmonization of teaching /learning methodology
      • Capacity building of school quality assurance officers
  • Piloting of the rapid school readiness initiative
      • Targeted GOK & UNICEF KCO intervention
      • Pilot in three ASAL districts (Garissa, Marsabit and Turkana)
      • Goal is to equip children 5+ yrs with basic learning / coping skills
      • FPE – many parents in ASAL do not take children to ECDE centre due to cost
      • Implemented thro’ community social mobilization, teachers training & support, 3 months preparation of children & Nutrition (Uji Bora).
  • 2000 children prepared for schoolthrough the program
  • 2000 children benefited for health & nutrition component
  • 60 teachers inductedon methodology and supported
  • 1000 parents mobilized
  • Follow-up monitoring- indicate children are comparatively better prepared for school in comparison with children from direct from home
  • understanding how ready for school the children are as they enter primary school is critical:( toprovide clues to help the primary school teachers understand the performance of the children they receive, how to provide individualized attention and also enable parents to improve the conditions of children before school entry.
  • To adequately prepare children for school, pre-schools should address holistic aspects of children’s growth and development
  • Addressing the disparities in quality of the pre-school services will improve children development and school readiness.
  • Children who may require special attentions should be identified at an early age in order to improve their school readiness and learningpotentials
conclusion cont

Ensuring that children enter primary ready to learn may be affected by:

  • Policies (are there policies on school readiness and smooth transitions?)
  • Assessment criterion(what is the best criteria and are there appropriate tools?)
  • Transition arrangements (what type of linkages are there btwn pre-school and primary?/ is Pre-school part of Basic Education)