Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


*training, *pedagogy, Family studies

Publication Details

The report is published on the department of Children and Youth Affairs website at


The Department of Children and Youth Affairs commissioned research through the Irish Research Council (IRC) to examine concepts of school readiness as they are understood by early years educators and managers, primary school principals, junior infant teachers and parents of children participating in the first Free Preschool Year in Ireland. A mixed-methods approach was adopted, involving interviews, an online survey and “draw and tell” sessions with children. Representative samples of FPSY settings and primary schools were selected and an online survey based on the findings of the qualitative phase was sent to 500 pre-primary settings and 500 primary schools. In this study, the concept of school readiness as understood by parents of children availing of the FPSY, and early years educators and managers, emerged as a multi-faceted and complex concept, influenced by and entwined with a range of interrelated factors at macro (policy), meso (interrelationships) and micro (pre-primary and primary) levels. These factors included children’s social and emotional skills, dispositions, language development, self-help skills, appropriate classroom behaviour and pre-academic skills. School readiness was clearly located along a maturationist-environmentalist continuum where readiness was associated with a child’s age as well as external evidence of the acquisition of specific skills. Interview and survey participants articulated a range of school readiness indicators, with significant differences in some instances between the importance allocated to these indicators by individual participant groups.




Irish Research Council