Search for at-risk children starts in kindergarten

School ready: Individual learning plans will be created for children indentified as needing extra support. Photo: Quentin JonesHundreds of thousands of children will be assessed when they start kindergarten to find out if they are at risk of falling behind and need extra help under the federal government’s education reforms.

The school readiness assessments will vary from school to school but are likely to test motor skills, how students play together, and recognition of patterns, symbols and pictures, and wellbeing and presentation.

Children identified as needing extra support will receive an individual learning plan, which will be passed on to every teacher as students go through their first four years of school, and regular monitoring.

The individual learning plans could include:

Additional support from specialist teachers;

Structuring the school day so literacy and numeracy is taught at peak learning times;

Identifying what parents can do at home to help their child improve;

Developing a suitable method of assessing the child’s progress for the first four years.

The school readiness assessments will complement the three-year ”reading blitz” for 1.1 million students from kindergarten to year 3.

Other education reforms include annual performance reviews for teachers, science being tested in NAPLAN, giving teachers access to continuing training, fully implementing the national curriculum by 2018, and principals given more autonomy over budgets.

Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the assessments would ensure that for the first time every child would be assessed at the start of their first year and receive the help they need.

Kindergarten children in NSW are already assessed under the Best Start program, which examines basic literacy and numeracy skills, and can lead to the development of learning plans for those in need.

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education and Communities said the program would continue in 2014 under the so-called Gonski changes.

Melbourne University Associate Professor Kay Margetts, an expert on transition from early childhood learning to school, said existing assessments tended to focus on children’s academic skills, and she would welcome something that also tested children’s social and emotional skills.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Posted in 杭州龙凤