• chapter 1
Children Ready for School,
Schools Ready for Children
and Families
< Omar is five years old. Today is his first day of school,
and he is all dressed up for it. Last week he went with his mom to a
discount store to get his school uniform—khaki pants and a dark-
blue polo shirt. The Head Start program he attended since he was
three years old gave him a Superman backpack as a graduation pres-
ent. His grandparents bought him spiffy blue and white sneakers.

His shiny black hair is neatly combed with a perfect part.

Is Omar ready for school? Is his school ready for him? School
readiness goes both ways. Children need to be ready for school and
schools need to be ready for children and families.

When the words school readiness are mentioned they often provoke ten-
sion, with a hint of exasperation. Someone resolve the issue of who should
be the most ready, please! Everyone agrees with the concept, but the defi-
nition is not clearly articulated. At one point, the ability of children to tie
their shoes was high on the school readiness list, but with the creation of
new shoe designs, that skill is no longer as much of a priority. Preschool
educators, family child care providers, kindergarten teachers, administra-
tors, and parents all want clarification.