Psychological readiness of the child for school is an integral system characteristic of the processes of the mental and intellectual-volitional complex of the development of neoplasms in the personality of the child. The level of categories included in the concept of readiness should satisfy the need for successfully following the prescribed norms of a new lifestyle associated with the socialization processes in the newfound peer group, as well as fulfilling the norms and duties imposed on students.
The natural formation of a child's psychological readiness for school occurs due to the development of mental properties and a change in the direction of the leading activity, which, by the age of seven, changes its orientation. So one of the important acquired formations is to establish their own position regarding interaction with others - the child, through the game, experiments with various patterns of behavior and tries to grasp not only suitable for himself, but also to understand the social structure of the world. Also, thanks to the play activity, social rules are mastered in a flexible way - the child can independently understand whether the loads require him to be in a corresponding reality, and can get away from fulfilling certain norms, gaining knowledge about workarounds.
At the proper level of development, thanks to the practice of various constructions, drawing and modeling, the processes of behavior control become available, a planning function appears, rather than following minute impulses. The availability of effective adaptation to schooling depends on several components: physiological readiness (state of somatic development of the body and level of health), social readiness (ability to build new relationships, enter into other rules of interaction and navigate in a social situation), psychological readiness (features of mental neoplasms and development of mental processes). These categories can not be considered separately, since the level of education can affect attention, and somatic factors determine the characteristics of behavioral manifestations.
Preparation for schooling should be done on many levels, taking into account the development of the listed parameters. Knowing the features of their child, enlisting the support of teachers and educators, parents can do everything to adapt it as quickly and easily as possible. This is especially effective in kindergarten developmental activities and in special development groups. Children who are homeschooling or who often miss a preschool institution due to illness or other causes are often maladjusted due to the significant difference in home society and the requirements of general education.
Pedagogical approach to understanding child readiness for school
The pedagogical readiness of the child for school implies the primary development of basic skills for learning. The starting point is the physical readiness of the child to attend classes, that is, the absence of serious deviations in the sphere of health and general physical well-being that impede the general implementation of the rules. Children with features of physical development have the opportunity to study in specialized schools and centers or they can choose individual training, which is more optimal, since they cannot withstand the general load.
Unpreparedness at the physical level can also be expressed in mental retardation, lack of formation of necessary functions, such as holding attention, perseverance, and others related to nervous disorders.
Intellectual development has several directions, including the general level of intelligence (determines the class or school where the child can study), as well as the cognitive component. The latter implies the availability of basic knowledge necessary for a first-grader. Thinking that the child’s school will be taught to read, write and count, parents make a very serious mistake, because the curriculum is going at a high speed and these categories are only fixed and automated in most educational institutions. Those who initially do not know the alphabet and numbers experience high mental and emotional overload, since they are faced not only with the need for socialization, but with the mastery of a large body of previously unknown information.
Unpreparedness at the cognitive level is often associated with pedagogical neglect or the wrong psychological approach of preschool teachers. In dysfunctional families, children can lag behind, not because of a decline in the intellectual and mnestic sphere, but due to the banal absence of classes, both at home and in the upbringing group. Negative attitudes to learning and, as a result, ignoring or even boycotting the need for learning can arise from the psychotrauma caused by an unprofessional educator or the inadequate demands of parents.
But the amount of knowledge does not always help the child to show pedagogical readiness in a situation when the necessary skills for learning information are not developed. This ability to withstand long-term concentration, follow instructions, listen carefully and with interest - when forming these skills in a child, a primary school teacher can easily correct gaps in knowledge.
Psychological approach to understanding the readiness of the child
Psychological readiness of a child for school is somewhat different from pedagogical - there is no need for the formation of certain qualities and skills, but only the presence of prerequisites for their development. The psyche can receive the necessary neoplasms only in the process of carrying out a new activity, which is the main one at this stage of personal development, that is, there is no need to develop psychological properties, and there is a need to assess the situation of the child’s ability to develop the inherent skills.
Learning activities are decisive in the school process, therefore at the previous stage it is important to generate interest and motivation for learning. The presence of keen interest and curiosity - the main points that help to achieve high results. The personal motivation of the child in education is the internal support that will help to overcome the difficulties that arise. This motivation must be very stable and become part of the inner picture of the child’s world, otherwise, after the natural interest in the new environment disappears, the first difficulties arise, and the effort and fulfillment of the school’s requirements will disappear.
Motives can be social and reflect the desire to please others, to achieve a new one, to strive for the chosen profession. Also, these are cognitive processes - satisfaction of curiosity, natural for a given age, for understanding how the world works. Social aspects, based on the need for parental approval, may soon fail. But if this orientation is based on the desire to occupy a certain position (for example, to be heard in a dispute with adults), to enter a different social group (to communicate according to interests, level of development or to separate from younger children), then the motivation becomes sustainable.
The next psychological component of a child's readiness for school is the ability to navigate in social norms and adjust their behavior relative to the reaction of others. It involves the mechanisms of social hierarchy, subordination, structuring - many behavioral aspects that are not amenable to correction in the family can easily be adjusted by the team. There is an ability to single out the most important thing, to defend one's position in matters of principle and to adapt, in the opinion of others, to norms that are not subject to change.
Encouraging self-reliance at the preparatory stage will help the student better cope with the requirements of the system. Those children for whom all the decisions were made by the parents, and at the slightest difficulty solved the problem instead of the child, risk being completely helpless for the first time during the first days of training. In addition to attentively following the instructions, there are a large number of tasks and situations where the child will have to figure it out on his own and the development of this skill in advance will finally allow him to master.
Emotional-volitional aspects relate to behavioral manifestations of psychological readiness. The ability to concentrate on the teacher's speech, be in a certain class, sit in one's place, maintain a temporary schedule of classes and breaks is directly related to the level of self-control ability.
The development of thinking involves the implementation of analytical and synthetic activities, elementary speech and mathematical tasks. The basic categories of memory and attention, the activity of cognitive and mnestic processes are also related to psychological readiness, but their level of development can be established by applying special diagnostic techniques or by applying to a psychologist or defectologist for diagnosis.
The structure of the child's psychological readiness for school
Psychological readiness is not a monolithic formation and has its own structure, consisting of three large categories, each of which includes its own blocks.
The child's personal readiness for learning is decisive during the entire adaptation and learning process. It includes such parameters as the motivation of learning, and based on social changes in one's own role and function, entry into adulthood and the need to take it not in the last place.
An important moment of personal formation is the establishment of adequate self-perception and self-awareness. This includes self-esteem, which is formed at this stage from its own judgments, and not just the attitude or statement of adults. The ability of the child to assess their physical and intellectual skills, opportunities and inaccessible actions helps to navigate the requirements of the school. Adequate perception and understanding of weaknesses helps not only to take the appropriate load, but also to allocate time for implementation. Unpreparedness in this context is manifested by protracted homework or a sharp decrease in achievement motivation for fraudulent failures.
The development of communication is manifested in the constructive alignment of relations with peers and elders, understanding and differentiation of permissible forms of address and questions. This also includes the manifestation of the initiative in establishing contacts, the manifestation of active interaction in the lesson in the context of a given topic.
Emotional readiness for learning in school, as part of the personality implies control in the expression of emotions, the ability to regulate affective reactions. Also here, an important point is the development of higher and more complex experiences, such as the joy of learning new things or the chagrin of lack of achievement.
The child’s intellectual readiness for school is the next large group in the structure of general readiness. It includes a sufficient level of development of the basic processes of attention, thought, and the intellectual-mnestic sphere. It requires a conscious control over these processes and an understanding of the child, which particular functions are involved in certain actions. Speech development belongs to the same category and implies not so much knowledge of the alphabet, as familiarity with the phonetic and grammatical side of constructing sentences, the possibility of distinguishing between dialogue and monologue communication patterns, and so on.
Willful readiness for school is characterized by the ability to set immediate and long-term goals and follow their implementation, by concentrating efforts, by sacrificing other motives. Important qualities are the control and arbitrariness of one’s own behavior and the child’s ability to subordinate his actions to the requirements of the system, performing specified patterns or the ability to independently correct erroneous actions after a remark.