Ready for What?

Constructing Meanings of Readiness for Kindergarten

By M. Elizabeth Graue

Subjects: Early Childhood Studies
Series: SUNY series, Early Childhood Education: Inquiries and Insights
Paperback : 9780791412046, 313 pages, December 1992
Hardcover : 9780791412039, 313 pages, December 1992

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Table of contents



1. Many Views of Readiness


Trends in Policy Related to Readiness
Readiness as a Child Characteristic
A Change in the Representation of Readiness Issues


2. Theoretical Framework


Social Construction
Vygotskian Theory
Activity Theory


3. Studying Readiness


Focusing Questions
Constructing the Researcher's Role


4. Thomas Kindergarten Curriculum


The Kindergarten Curriculum Objectives
The District Report Card
Comparing the Core Conceptual Objectives and the Kindergarten Report Card


5. Fulton Elementary


Kindergarten at Fulton
"Getting a Good Start"
Kindergarten Tasks at Fulton Elementary
"Doing It Right"
"Learning to Write"
How Was the Meaning of Readiness Constructed at Fulton Elementary?


6. Norwood


Kindergarten at Norwood
"But Is He Ready?"
"Working Toward First Grade"
"Learning About Circles"
The Meaning of Readiness at Norwood


7. Rochester


Kindergarten at Rochester
"And Then There are My Kids. .."
Closing the Gap
"Modality Groups"
What is Readiness in This Situation?


8. Conclusions


The Constructed Meaning of Readiness
Kindergarten at Fulton, Norwwod, & Rochester
Constructing Readiness
Readiness and the Kindergarten Experience
Implications for Practice






This book looks at readiness from a different perspective, arguing that we must move away from the readiness-as-child characteristic so prevalent in education and the popular press. Instead, readiness is explained as an idea constructed by parents, teachers, and children as they interact in their neighborhoods and communities.

Graue describes three communities in the same school district: a middle-class, suburban town of professionals; a rural, working-class community; and a group of Hispanic, working-class families making their way through their children's kindergarten experiences. In each setting, the local meaning of readiness is the underlying theme in the actions taken by parents and their attitudes about their children's first public school experience.

M. Elizabeth Graue is Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.