The development of a screening tool for assessing emotional social competence in preschoolers as a domain of school readiness
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Literature identified that emotional/ social competence is under-emphasised in favour of cognitive domains in assessment of school readiness. Socio-cultural and risk factors in the South African context complicate school readiness assessment. Thus, there is a need for a contextually appropriate screening tool for emotional-social competence. The aim of the study was to develop a screening tool for emotional/ social competence as a domain of school readiness. Ethics approval was obtained from the UWC ethics committee (14/2/8) and all ethics principles were upheld. The study had four successive phases - each conceptualised as a separate study with independent methodologies. Phase One consolidated the literature reporting on measures and definitions of emotional social readiness through two systematic reviews. Phase Two developed a concept map of stakeholders’ perceptions about emotional/ social competence as a domain of school readiness. Seven focus groups and two individual interviews were facilitated with parents and teachers of grade R children, as well as health professionals involved in assessment of school readiness. The findings from Phase One and Two informed the construction of a screening tool for emotional/ social competence in Phase Three. The resultant screening tool had nine subdomains.