With more work and less play in kindergarten, it is more important than ever to make sure your child is ready to learn before entering school. So, just what does your pre-kindergartener need to know before the big day comes? Here are 6 important readiness skills that your child should have in place to be certain he or she is ready for school.
Have an Interest in Learning
Is your child interested in learning?
If your child is interested in counting objects or toys, listening to books and engaging in conversations about books and their world, then you are ahead of the game.Interest in learning is key when starting kindergarten.
Communicate Personal Needs
Can your child communicate their needs effectively?
Does your little one ask to go to the bathroom and handle it independently, tell someone if they are not feeling well and have short conversations with adults as well as peers? YES, then they are ready to roll.
Positive Social and Emotional Skills
Does your child interact positively with peers?
It is so important for children to be able to take turns or wait patiently for a turn and to share with peers. Although many of these skills will eventually fall into place and by no means should your child be perfect with this, but kindergarten-aged children should have a beginning understanding of how to get along with others, be aware of personal feelings and the feelings of others. If you notice positive interactions with others, then that is another plus!
Attention to Tasks
Can your child focus long enough to follow directions or listen to a story without interrupting?
Now I am not talking about sitting through a 3-hour ballet performance, but rather sit still or sit in one spot long enough to follow 2-step directions or listen to a 15-minute teacher read aloud without disrupting. Learning involves following directions and listening throughout the school day. If you child can do this, then they are ready to learn!
Can your child work or play independently for 15-20 minutes?
Kindergarten requires children to work with puzzles, matching games, play with blocks, complete an easy activity without adult support and to feel confident when tending to easy tasks independently. With these skills in place, your child is kindergarten ready.
Academics, Fine Motor and Gross Motor Skills
Does your child have important academic, fine motor and gross motor skills in place?
Your child does not have to be reading or be an artist or even an Olympian to enter kindergarten, but it is important that some or most of these skills are in place before the start of kindergarten. Your child should be able to:
- Recognize some letters and be able to recite the alphabet
- Count to at least 10 and identify numbers 1-5
- Hold a pencil somewhat correctly to write or draw
- Write first name with an uppercase or capital for the first letter
- Color, not necessarily in the lines, but a close proximity.
- Hold a pair of scissors to cut
- Run, jump and throw a ball
Check With Your School District
It is also important to remember, some school districts have specific readiness skills expected and age requirements that need to be in place before entering their kindergarten. If you child is close to starting kindergarten and does not have all of the recommended skills in place, it is essential to recognize that every child develops at different rates and has different learning styles. You might want to observe your child with this list in hand to see exactly where he or she is developing. If you have concerns about kindergarten readiness, talk to your child’s pre-school teacher or pediatrician.
About the All-Star Blogger
Kathy is a retired 1st and 2nd grade looping teacher, who taught full time and part time in her hometown of Springfield, PA for 30+ years. She is wife, mom of three grown children and as of today a Mimi of three with one on the way. Kathy volunteers in her daughter’s Kindergarten Special Education classroom weekly. She loves to create educational resources for teachers, mentor new teachers, write, and maintain her blog. When she is not traveling, volunteering or creating, she can be found buying shoes, or eating chocolate… any kind of chocolate.