School readiness: what does it mean for Indigenous children, families, schools and communities?

School readiness: what does it mean for Indigenous children, families, schools and communities? Report

Issues Paper

  • Author(s): Sue Dockett, Bob Perry, Emma Kearney
  • Published: 2010
  • Publisher: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Volume: Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

Abstract: There have been several literature reviews, topical papers and policy briefs in recent years, reflecting a growing interest across Australia in both the transition to school and perceptions of school readiness. This growing interest is also seen in policy at national, state and local levels. For example, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has noted the early years as a critical time in development that influences children’s transition to school. These COAG commitments are reflected in the national Early Years Learning Framework, which describes transitions as times of opportunity and challenge, recognising that many people and contexts contribute to successful transitions, including the transition to school. The national roll-out of programs to support readiness, such as Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY), and the move to provide a population measure of children’s readiness through the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) are further evidence of the political interest in school readiness. At the state and local level, many school systems, districts and early childhood networks have developed approaches and programs to support children’s transition to school. These programs often address school readiness. The transition to school is a focus point for considering school readiness, with the actions of children, families, educators and communities reflecting a range of perceptions and expectations. The transition process occurs over time and incorporates a broad range of experiences that together provide a solid basis for the start of school. Such experiences could include health and welfare services, community or parenting support programs and access to high-quality early childhood education programs. There are many definitions of school readiness. Some refer to the skills and attributes of individual children, defining it as ‘the state of child competencies at the time of school entry that are important for later success’. Others are based more on holistic approaches, considering not only characteristics of the individual child, but also a range of influences on their development and learning, such as the family, school and community. In this paper, school readiness for Indigenous Australian children is investigated from the basis of the strengths of all concerned—children, families, educators and communities. Research is analysed and programs are described. An overview of these programs is provided in the section ‘Which readiness programs and activities have been developed both nationally and internationally?’, with more details provided in Appendix 2.

Cite this document

Suggested Citation
Sue Dockett, Bob Perry, Emma Kearney, 2010, School readiness: what does it mean for Indigenous children, families, schools and communities?, Volume:Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, Report, viewed 06 December 2023,

Endnote Mendeley Zotero Export Google Scholar

Share this page

Search again