Preschool teachers’ and parents’ perspectives on primary school preparation in Singapore

Full reference
Costales, G.S. and Anderson, R. (2018). Preschool teachers’ and parents’ perspectives on primary school preparation in Singapore. NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 21(1), 88 - 99.  Retrieved from https://www.childforum.com/research/2018-nz-international-early-childhood-education-journal/1567-teacher-parent-views-prepare-children-school.html

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Original Research Paper
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Preschool teachers’ and parents’ perspectives on primary school preparation in Singapore

Girlie S. Costales and Robyn Anderson
James Cook University, Singapore

Abstract

The study undertaken in Singapore sought to understand preschool teachers’ and parents’ views on school readiness with regard to primary 1 preparation to provide a common understanding on how to best prepare children for primary school. Nine preschool teachers and nineteen preschool parents completed a questionnaire and, of this group, four parents and four preschool teachers were also interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives. The study revealed that domains of Social and Emotional Development and Aesthetics and Creative Expression were rated by the participants as the most and least important aspects of development respectively in preparing children for primary school. It is recommended that children’s transition to school reflects current research that supports the continuity between preschool and primary school with all stakeholders, parents, teachers and the community, involved.

Key words: Transition to school, primary school preparation, school readiness, school readiness perspectives. 

 

Introduction

Providing children with a positive transition experience from preschool to primary school confers short-term and long-term advantages (Petrescu, 2012; Serry, Imms, Froude, Joffe, Heine, & Merrigan, 2014; Yeboah, 2002) and significantly affects their academic and social performance (Chan, 2010; Dockett & Perry, 2009; Yeboah, 2002; Yeo & Clarke, 2006). School transition has been the focus of numerous research studies and educational policies worldwide (Vrinioti, Einarsdottir & Brostrom, 2010); however, limited research had been conducted on this issue in Singapore. 

Nonetheless, emphasis on school transitions is intensely magnified in Singapore, where academic meritocracy is revered as the basis of the country’s growth and development, rewarding the best students on the basis of their ability, performance and achievement (Yeo & Clarke, 2005). The concern is that parents and educators often seem to have differing beliefs on how best to prepare children for their transition to formal schooling (Ang, 2012; Graue, 2006). While preschool teachers urge a holistic approach to preparing children, parents often prefer an academic curriculum in preparing for primary 1 (Ang, 2012). Inasmuch as the community’s belief system inherently determines who is ready for school and how children become ready (Graue, 2006), it is imperative for parents and teachers to concur on a definition of readiness that is most appropriate for their social-cultural context to furnish better support for children’s transition to formal schooling (Noel, 2010). Therefore, based on its findings, this study offers a common understanding from one community of parents and teachers in Serangoon, Singapore, on how preschool children might best be prepared for primary school by identifying parents’ and teachers’ perspectives on readiness and what they deem as important for primary school preparation.

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