This ethnographic study examines kindergarten teachers’ perceptions and practices of “school readiness” in kindergartens in low-SES settings in northern Israel, with the aim of illuminating the ways in which global educational ideas are appropriated by teachers in their daily work. Data collection included participant observation, in-depth interviews with kindergarten teachers, and analysis of Israeli Ministry of Education guidelines. Findings revealed that while teachers adopted a holistic approach to academic learning, in the socioemotional sphere they looked to behavioral manifestations. Thus, teachers continued to adhere to a child-centered pedagogy, while also providing tangible measures for assessing school readiness. The study discusses how teachers’ perceptions and practices of school readiness emerge at the nexus of global trends in schooling, national educational policy, institutional structure, and local neighborhoods with specific socioeconomic and cultural characteristics.
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