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Three Ways to Improve Learning Readiness Through Play

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Can your unique learner improve his or her learning skills?

Yes! In fact, it is easier, and more fun, than you think. You can improve your child's learning readiness in ways that feel like play.

Let's start with a better understanding of learning readiness. It isn't about how fast they can finish a timed math quiz, nor how neatly they print. Learning readiness occurs after foundational developmental abilities are in place.

Students who are ready to learn know how to take in and make sense of the information around them. They know how to recognize patterns. They can consider different explanations before selecting the most likely. This type of problem solving must occur when performing arithmetic, reading, and writing. However, these skills develop outside the classroom first.

You can't accomplish this with more math worksheets or printing practice. How can you help your unique learner improve their learning readiness? The answer may surprise you.

Learning readiness only occurs when the developmental building blocks fall into place. If your unique learner has some developmental gaps, don't despair. These gaps can be filled in with activities that feel like play.

Here are three ways to use play to improve your unique learner's learning readiness.

Try One More Time

The first area to focus on is improving your child's ability to practice "try one more time" strategies.

Start by stretching your child's attention span by having them "hang in there" a little longer. Play with that toy a little longer, work on solving that difficult puzzle just a moment longer, read a little longer, and encourage them to "stick with" that chore you assigned them, just a little longer.

Make this goal of yours, designed to help your child, a secret. Without talking about it, start role modeling this behavior yourself and when you're playing together.

If you're playing a game with toy cars, stretch out the game a little longer by adding a new and creative dimension. Perhaps enjoy having the cars drive to a pretend parking lot at the pretend zoo.

If your child is reading a story, have him or her look at the pictures just a little longer. Ask your child to describe all the things that are red in the picture or all the things that make a sound.

What Is Change Readiness?

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The concept of change readiness is often misunderstood by many people. It is sometimes confused with two different concepts, namely:

Compliance - people sometimes think people are ready for change if they are willing to go along with some new initiative. They may comply because they agree with the proposed initiative and see some value in it; they may comply because they have no power to prevent the proposed change; or they may comply because there could be negative consequences if they do not comply.

Program readiness - people sometimes think others are ready for change if they are ready to engage in some kind of program designed to help them change. For example, an employee lacking in motivation may be considered ready for change if he or she expresses a readiness to engage in motivational interviewing, or readiness to attend some kind of training program.

Of course, it is possible that people who are ready for change are compliant and/or ready to engage in programs. However, it is equally possible that people who are ready to comply, or ready to do a program are not ready to change. Actually, you cannot tell whether a person is ready based solely on their compliance or program readiness.

Why is a person's compliance or program readiness not a good indicator of change readiness? It not a good indicator because readiness is not about what people do, but it is rather about why they do what they do, and the readiness resources they have at their disposal. The main point to understand is that people are ready for change if they are able to act as their own agents of change. Change readiness is exactly what it says - readiness to change, as distinct from readiness to be changed. People may comply or attend programs, but if they do these things only because they are forced into doing so, they are not really ready at all. They may be ready to be changed, but they are not acting as their own agent in the process. They are not acting as change leaders. They are allowing others to set the agenda for them. They may comply, but inside they may also resent what they are being asked to do, and they may actively or passively resist the proposed initiative.

Why would people allow others to set the agenda? There are two main possibilities. On the one hand, people lacking the change readiness resources to enable them to act as their own agent of change in a given situation may not engage in change unless they are forced to do so. On their own, they may not seriously contemplate changing in a particular way, perhaps due to lack of awareness of any need to change, or other factors like a lack of motivation. On the other hand, they may not support the proposed change and therefore may be unwilling to actively engage with it. In this situation, people may actively resist the change, or, if they are forced to comply with it, they may engage in passive-aggressive behaviours in an effort to undermine the change (or other people).

What does this say about change readiness? It says that people who are ready for change are able to act as their own agent of change. Even if changes are imposed on them; even if they are compliant; they are still able to act as their own agent of change so long as they possess a particular set of psychological resources and are able to tell empowering stories about the change.

Finally, it is important to make three points clear. First, the person with change readiness strengths is not a different kind of person to those who aren't so ready for change. All people can develop change readiness, if they have commitment to do so. Second, people might be ready for change in one situation, but not ready in another situation. A person might be ready for change at one particular time, yet not ready at another time. However, the point is that people with change readiness strengths are more likely to be ready for change in more places and at more times than people lacking in change readiness. It's a bit like a marathon runner. He may not always be ready to run a marathon, but he will always be more ready than a person who can only run 100 metres. Third, whilst a person's apparent compliance or program readiness is not a good indicator of their change readiness, IRVEY™ is a reliable, simple, and cost-effective tool for profiling change readiness. To learn more, visit our website.

Change Readiness As Currency

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There are many different kinds of currency, but they all do the same thing - they can be exchanged for something else. Money is the item we most commonly think of as currency, but there are others. Frequent flyer points or rewards programs are a kind of currency, allowing you to exchange points for travel or goods.

The education sector has its own kind of currency. In Australia, students in their final year of high school sit for exams and receive a ranking. The higher a student is ranked the more choices they have in university courses. Their ranking is a kind of currency they can use to 'buy' their way into particular courses.

The change process, too, has its own currency; and that currency is change readiness. People with readiness in abundance have the ability to take up all sorts of opportunities and adapt to circumstances in their environment much easier than those who really struggle with change. Their readiness is a kind of currency that allows them to capitalise on opportunities and to adapt and innovate.

However, change readiness is a very special kind of currency, because the more a person 'spends' of it, the more he has left. Wouldn't it be good if money was like that - the more you spend the more you have? Change readiness is also an appreciating asset - it becomes more valuable the more you have of it.

The reason you get more readiness when you 'spend' it is because change readiness consists of particular capacities and stories that are enhanced the more they are practised. Even failure can enhance them.

The value of change readiness increases because it's a scare resource. It's not scarce in the same way gold is scarce - there was only ever a certain amount made and you can't make any more. There is theoretically no limit to how much change readiness people can develop, but in practice, some people handle change well and others really struggle. Some organizations handle change well and others find it almost impossible.

Being ready for change is like being ready to do anything. If you're ready to do something, it's easier for you to do it than if you're not ready. And if you're ready, you're more likely to persist until you succeed. For example, you're more likely to complete a marathon if you train and practise than if you're unfit and unwell. Your training and practice is like a currency you can exchange for successfully completing the marathon. You're not absolutely guaranteed of success, but your chances of success are much better if you train and practice than if you don't.

Organizations that develop the change readiness of their staff and support readiness in their environment are like students who rank highly in their exams - they have many more choices in what they can change and when they can do it. They are more able to take advantage of opportunities when they arise; they cope better with unexpected and unwelcome turbulence; and find it easier to be creative and innovative. They can succeed and outperform their unready competitors, who have few resources in their change bank accounts.

If you want your organization to be adaptable, creative, and innovative, you can't afford to overlook change readiness. If you don't believe me, ask any marathon runner about the value of training.

3 Signs That Your Child Is Ready for School

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As part of a child's normal developmental stages, she or he will reach a very important stage, which is getting ready for school. This is one of the major steps a child may encounter in his or her life. This is something big for them because this is the time where they now start to face the real world and separation from parents begins. This could be a crucial part for parents and also for the child.

When your child reaches 3 or 4 years of age, as parents, you will most probably prepare your child for school. Getting yourselves ready for your child's first big event is not enough. Your child needs to be prepared the most. How will you know if your child is ready? Well, this article may help you, as it provides three signs that your child is ready for school:

Social aspect- You will know when your child is ready for school when there is already social readiness. Social readiness means your child can now make friends and is socially interactive. This is the time when your child can actually create his or her circle of friends. Being at school requires your child to be with groups and some company. When your child is socially ready, then she or he is now ready for school.
Emotional aspect- You will know when your child is ready for school when there is already emotional readiness. Emotional readiness means that your child can now actually separate from guardians or from you. They already know how to adjust well with the separation. They no longer seek for their parent's company and are emotionally comfortable with others. When the emotional aspect of your child is already prepared, then she or he is already ready for school.
Behavioral aspect- You will know when your child is ready for school when there is behavioral readiness. Behavioral readiness means that your child is able to make his or her decisions and act it according to his or her own thinking. Your child now may be able to take control over his or her things. She or he may be able to take responsibility of his or her own toys and be able to share it with others. When she respects and considers other people, especially people in authority, then your child is ready for school.
You see, there are so many aspects you need to consider when preparing your child for school. As parents, you also need to be prepared. Prepared enough to let go of your child and let him or her be welcomed in the real world. Along with your readiness, you also need to take some important signs to determine if your child is already ready for school. So parents, take responsibility!

Kindergarten Readiness – When is the Right Time?

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Is your child ready for kindergarten? This is a question that many parents of children ages 4-6 ask themselves. There is no decisive answer, trust your judgment and realize that although your child is the correct age to attend kindergarten, it does not mean that they are ready physically or emotionally. Let's examine when to send your child and when to keep them home for another year. The good news is that most school districts in the US offer screening. However, what happens if you disagree with the results? Here is the information you need to make an informed decision.

What makes a child ready?

A child is ready for kindergarten if they can easily communicate their needs to adult and other children. Another sign that your child is ready is if they are no longer having bathroom accidents. In addition they should be fairly self sufficient and mature enough to function in an organized group. Kindergarten readiness has very little to do with academics and has everything to do with emotional maturity and social skills. Most children are ready between the ages of 5 or 6 years of age. Boys tend to mature more slowly than girls do and many 5-year-old boys are not ready to attend a full day of kindergarten. I am not biased against boys; I have 3 of my own. A lot depends on when the cutoff date is for your district. If your child will be one of the older children in the group then they will probably be ready.

Here are some good indicators that show your child is ready for kindergarten. First, they have attended preschool and handled it well. They are able to communicate their needs to an adult other than a parent. Children who are ready handle themselves well in social situations. Your child should be able to handle requests that include multiple tasks such as put the crayons in the box, close the lid and put the box on the shelf. When building with blocks they should be able to construct a tower at least 5 blocks tall. Finally, their gross motor skills are such that they can run, jump, and hop on one foot. When your child can perform most of these tasks, they are ready for kindergarten.

What indicates they are not ready?

Your child may not be ready for kindergarten if they will be one of the youngest in their group. The closer to the cutoff date their birthday is, the younger they will be. For boys especially this makes a huge difference. My experience as a mom of 4 and a homeschool mom of 10 years has taught me that if you feel your child is not ready, you are probably right. I pushed one of my sons into attending kindergarten when he truly was not ready. The situation that resulted was a nightmare more for him than me. It could have been avoided if I waited 1 year before sending him. If your child has frequent tantrums, night terrors, or bed-wetting you may want to consider keeping them home for another year. If they cannot perform most of the tasks listed in the above paragraph, it may indicate they are not ready.

Your child may not be ready for kindergarten at the age of 4 or 5 if they have physical or emotional disabilities. Problems with hearing, speech or vision may be a very good reason to wait a year. Children with special needs require very loving and understanding teachers. Meet with the potential teachers before deciding where to place your special needs child. It may be worth waiting a year and taking that time to find the ideal situation for your child.