Teachers’ Perceptions of School Readiness Among Grade 1 Learners in Lesotho Schools: The Case of Roma Valley


  • Julia Chere-Masopha


school readiness, foundational skills, learner-preparedness, teachers’ perceptions, formal schooling


The study investigated teachers’ perceptions of school readiness among children who start Grade 1 in government primary schools in the Roma Valley in Lesotho. Compared to the privately owned schools, the three government schools from which teachers were recruited for this investigation had limited infrastructure, facilities, and resources. In addition, these schools practised static teaching and each had only one teacher who had experience of working with children who start formal schooling for the first time. In a way, the teachers who participated in this study were self-selective. A qualitative approach that used semi-structured interviews was used to explore the perceptions of these teachers. Data collected were analysed using a thematic approach. According to the teachers participating in this study, most children in Lesotho start formal schooling unprepared and without any foundational education background. They associated children’s lack of readiness among these children with a lack of foundational education. As a result, these children struggle to adapt to the school environment. These teachers further pointed out that factors such as age, disability, gender, and socio-economic background can influence the speed at which the children adapt to school life and culture. This study recommends that the government should find strategies that support the implementation and monitoring of a policy on children and foundational education. Further, there should be programmes that educate parents about foundation education and that support teachers to work with children who do not have a background of foundational education when they begin formal schooling.



Aslan, M., & Ç?kar, ?. (2019). The school readiness of 60-65 months old students: A case study. International Journal of Contemporary Educational Research, 6(1), 86-99. https://doi.org/10.33200/ijcer.555465

Bailey, L. B. (2014) A Review of the Research: Common Core State Standards for Improving Rural Children’s School Readiness. Early Childhood Education Journal 42, 389–396. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-013-0621-6

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. London, UK: Sage. ISBN: 9781847875815

Brock, L. L., & Curby, T. W. (2016). The role of children's adaptability in classrooms characterized by low or high teacher emotional support consistency. School Psychology Review, 45(2), 209-225. https://doi.org/10.17105/SPR45-2.209-225

Ensar, F., & Keskin, U. (2014). A survey on the adjustment of primary first grade students to school / ?lkokul Birinci S?n?f Ö?rencilerinin Okula Uyumlar? Üzerine Bir ?nceleme. E?itimde Kuram ve Uygulama, 10(2), 459-477. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/eku/issue/5460/74097

Hasan, M., Hyson, M., & Chang, C. (2013). Early childhood education and development in poor villages of indonesia. Strong foundation and later success. Washington, D. C.: The World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/09/03/Early-Childhood-Education-and-Development-in-Poor-Villages-of-Indonesia-Strong-Foundations-Later-Success

Hatcher, B., Nuner, J., & Paulsel, J. (2012). Kindergarten readiness and preschools: teachers' and parents' beliefs within and across programs. Early childhood Research & Practice, 14(2), 2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ997132

Heerden, A. V., Stakem, M., Letsatsi-Kojoana, S., & Sausi, K. (2017). Primary schools transition to Lesotho. Whose Child is This? Human Science Research Council. http://repository.tml.nul.ls

Hsin, A., & Xie, Y. (2017). Life-course changes in the mediation of cognitive and non- cognitive skills for parental effects on children’s academic achievement. Social Science Research, 63, 150-165. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.09.012

Janse van Rensburg, O. (2015). The school readiness performance of a group of Grade R learners in primary schools in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 5(1), 01-23. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v5i1.352

Janus, M., & Gaskin, A. (2013). “School Readiness”. In A. C. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality Of Life Research. New York, NY: Springer. http://doi.org/10.20961/ijpte.v2i1.14876

Kakia, L., Popov, H. N., & Arani, A. M. (2015). A comparison of parents’ and teachers’ evaluations about school readiness among first-grade pupils of primary schools in Tehran. Cogent Education, 2(1), 1100975. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186x.2015.1100975

Kartal, H., & Guner, F. (2018). A review of articles that include the schools' readiness dimension. European Journal of Educational Research, 7(3), 431- 443. http://doi.org/10.12973/eu-jer.7.3.431

Lynch, D., & Smith, R. (2016). Readiness for school reform. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 2(3), 1. https://www.ijicc.net/

Majzub, R. M., & Mashid, A. A. (2012). School readiness among preschool children. Social and Behavioural Science, 46, 3524-3529. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.098

Marti, M., Melvin, S., Noble, K. G., & Duch, H. (2018). Intervention fidelity of getting ready for school: associations with classroom and teacher characteristics and preschooler’s school readiness skills. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 44, 55-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.02.010

McCartin, J., & Christiansen, A. (2016). Impact of gender on transitions to school: a review of the literature. https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/research/Impact%20of%20Gender%20on%20Transition%20to%20School.pdf

McGettigan, I. L., & Gray, C. (2012). Perspectives on school readiness in rural Ireland: the experiences of parents and children. International Journal on Early Years Education, 20(1), 15-29. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760.2012.664465

Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). (2004). Strategic sector education plan, 2005- 2015. Maseru: Government Printers.

Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). (2015). Education Statistics Bulletin. Maseru: Government Printers.

Morojele, P. (2017). Implementing free primary education in Lesotho; issues and challenges. Journal of Social Sciences, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/09718923.2012.11893050

Ohle, K. A., & Harvey, H. A. (2017). Educators’ perceptions of school readiness within the context of a kindergarten entry assessment in Alaska. Early Child Development and Care, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2017.1417855

Pan, Q., Trang, K. T., Love, H. R., & Templin, J. (2019). School readiness profiles and growth in academic achievement. Frontiers in Education, 4, 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2019.00127

Sachs, J. D. (2012). From millennium development goals to sustainable development goals. The Lancet, 379(9832), 2206-2211. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60685-0

Serry, T., Imms, C., Froude, E., Joffe, B., Heine, C., & Merrigan, C. (2014). Preparatory teachers’ perceptions of school readiness: A survey of Victorian teachers. The Australian Educational Researcher, 41(1), 109-124. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-013-0126-8

Son, S. H., Lee, K., & Sung, M. (2013). Links between preschoolers' behavioral regulation and school readiness skills: The role of child gender. Early Education and Development, 24(4), 468-490. https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2012.675548

UNICEF (2012). School readiness and transitions: child friendly schools. A Companion to the Child Friendly School Manual. https://www.unicef.org/documents/child-friendly-schools-manual