Ensuring your child is ready for kindergarten is on the mind of many parents of 4 and 5 year olds.
Kindergarten readiness signals that your child is able to function at the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical levels needed to be successful in kindergarten. While every child develops at their own pace, there are some things to consider when preparing for the formal K-12 school environment. Many kindergarten educators will format their instruction to the individual child’s needs. You can help identify which support your child needs by thinking about the following questions an educator might ask during your registration or meet-the-teacher events that take place:
- Do they speak in complete sentences most of the time?
- Do they understand and follow two-step directions?
- Can they classify objects by physical features and organize objects that go together in groups?
- Can they identify colors and shapes?
- Can they retell a simple story after listening to a story with pictures?
- Can they recognize their own name and the letters in their name?
- Can they count up to five objects in a group?
- Can they count to 10?
- Do they make their needs known?
- Do they demonstrate independence in personal care, such as washing hands and using the bathroom?
No single factor or indicator signifies that your child is all the way ready to start kindergarten, but there are things you can do with your child to prepare them for what is to come in kindergarten when they do start.
The following activities are just a few of the things you can do to strengthen your child’s kindergarten readiness skills:
- As you go through the day, give your child directions that have at least two steps. Examples: Take off your coat and hang it on the hook. First, put the toys in the basket, then put the basket on the shelf.
- Play “I Spy” with colors and shapes.
- Read with your child every day! After you read a book, ask your child to tell you what happened in the story.
- Help your child make name cards that you can hang around the house, for instance, the door to your child’s room. Involve your child when you write their name to label personal belonging.
- Place some magnetic or plastic letters in a bag. Have your child pick a letter out of the bag and identify the name of the letter.
- Play counting games with your child or ask them to count things in the room. Examples: How many legs are on the table? How many blocks are in the tower you built?
- Create an “I Did It Myself” chart. Write all of the things that your child has learned to do by him/herself and add a star or a sticker when they do one of those things independently.
Chances are you are already doing things that are preparing your child to enter kindergarten. Remember to keep it fun! A child learns and retains so much more when they are enjoying themselves and see learning as a fun endeavor. Parents can always talk to their child’s preschool educator for more information on their child’s development and readiness for kindergarten, and other ways to encourage development and kindergarten skills.