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Ready for What? Constructing Meanings of Readiness for Kindergarten.

Educators, parents and policymakers currently are struggling with the issues surrounding young children's school readiness, including practical eligibility requirements and appropriate school practices. Elizabeth Graue provides an in-depth examination of these issues and genuine concerns. This text is an extension of the author's doctoral dissertation, which focused on four elementary school programs.

Several theoretical frameworks are presented to focus the reader's attention on the developmental nature of kindergarten admittance. The maturationist orientation is presented in historical terms relative to more "current" thought on this subject--including environmentalist and constructivist perspectives. Graduate students and scholars will appreciate the discussion of development and social meaning from the perspective of Vygotsky. Also beneficial is the discussion of age either as a function of simple chronology or a reflection of context and culture. The author suggests that age is clearly relative to each child's environment and life history.

The analysis of the four elementary school programs will be helpful to those practitioners struggling with the issue of school readiness. The author implies that kindergarten admittance should not be simply a function of "gate keeping," but should reflect curriculum, program continuity and classroom practice. Readers will find themselves searching to construct their own "meaning" about these elementary school programs.

The text is a good ethnographic study and would be excellent supplementary reading for college and university courses. Also, the author's style makes for easy reading, allowing the book to be used as a solid foundation for change in school policies. Readers will relate the findings to their own experiences and will be challenged to examine their opinions. The author asserts that the issue of kindergarten entrance cannot be solved with antiquated views of child development. This important issue is the responsibility of educators and parents. In closing, Graue challenges interested adults and professionals to design developmentally appropriate programs that provide a child-sensitive start to school for all children. Reviewed by Michael J. Bell, Early Childhood Programs, Arizona Department of Education, Phoenix
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Bell, Michael J.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 22, 1993
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