Widening the focus of school readiness for children with disabilities in Malawi: a critical review of the literature

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  • University of Glasgow


In recent years, school readiness has become increasingly contested by early childhood researchers resulting in a lack of agreement on how it should be conceptualised and assessed, particularly in relation to children with disabilities. This article responds to some of these arguments by carrying out a critical examination of the literature surrounding early childhood education and care,
assessment procedures, and cultural background in relation to school readiness. Evidence from the review revealed that there are few assessment instruments that capture the contextual aspects of children’s early learning and development, such as their cultural background, linguistic diversity or level of impairment or disability. We draw on the evidence to propose a holistic model of school readiness that can be used to help us to understand the transition of children with disabilities into primary educational settings in a low-income country in sub-Saharan Africa. We conclude that children’s assessment instruments should provide an accurate yet nuanced picture of children, within their context, alongside information that can support them into primary school. In doing this, it is vital to use contextual measures that are inclusive of children with different abilities and consider the constraints that may prevent them from going to school.

Bibliographic note

Not yet published as of 12/10/2021.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Aug 2021

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