The Department of Education wants all students to experience success from their first day of school in Kindergarten. This is the goal of the annual Pre-Kindergarten Screening Exercise (PKSE) hosted by the Special Education Unit, scheduled to be implemented in all education districts across the island on June 13th and 14th, 2019. During this exercise, pre-schoolers expecting to start Kindergarten in September will engage in simple activities designed to allow them to demonstrate school readiness skills.Screeners will document the demonstrated skills of each child, and this information will be made available to the child’s receiving school. The PKSE will allow Kindergarten teacher to know the areas in which each child needs added support from the first day of school, as well as strengths they possess which are to be further enhanced.
The main objective of the exercise is to identify children at risk for underachievement at school as early as possible, and to deliver relevant support services to address their needs.
In 2018, 40 receiving schools were targeted, and a total of 557 children were screened. This year, a total of 63 schools will be participating, and the number of children to be screened is expected to be significantly increased. Since its first year of implementation in 2014, with each instalment of the PKSE, the Special Education Unit has improved the delivery of the exercise by identifying gaps and issues in implementation, and will continue to develop appropriate strategies to address new challenges that may emerge.
In preparation for the 2019 exercise, a cohort of teachers from each education district has been trained to conduct the screening activity within their district. This year, officers of the Ministry of Health will partner with the Special Education Unit during PKSE, creating opportunities to redirect children to critical health surveillance services where they have been bypassed.
The results of the screening exercise will be analysed and made available to schools when kindergarten teachers attend a training workshop before the reopening of school in September. The main focus of this training workshop will be to provide teachers with guidance in using the available information to maximize students’ achievement and success in school.
All parents of children about to start kindergarten in September are encouraged to contact the school where their children are registered for more information.