Many parents what to know whether or not their child is ready for kindergarten. Some have children whose birthday are in the late summer or early fall and close to our October 1st cut-off date. These parents ask if it is best to enroll now or wait until next year. Other parents want to know how to help prepare their child for entering Kindergarten.
Regardless of your child’s birthday, all children entering Kindergarten should be able to perform certain tasks. As parents, we need to help our children get ready for Kindergarten. This can be a very fun and enjoyable time for you and your child. The following is a guideline to help you make this important decision.
There are many factors that go into the Kindergarten readiness decision. Although boys mature more slowly than girls, gender is not the most heavily relied upon factor when making this important decision. Understanding that each child develops at his or her own rate and that some develop faster in some areas than others, and recognizing individual strengths and weaknesses should be the determining factors.
The closer your child’s fifth birthday is to October 1st cut-off date (i.e., late summer, early fall) the consideration for the future is, will your child be one of the youngest or the oldest in his or her grade? In general, being on the older side is better, but this is not always the case.
Take in consideration the physical characteristics of your child. Smaller children may find more security in smaller groups and may not be ready for a large classroom environment. Likewise, larger children are not necessarily ready either. With our emphasis on an academic curriculum, the decision to delay might be a wise one.
Experience in a structured preschool program or in a daycare setting for at least two years may have provided your child with the skills necessary for a successful Kindergarten year. With all things considered, our children need to be ready for Kindergarten.
Listed below are skills and activities that your child should know and be able to accomplish for a successful beginning of Kindergarten. These are age-appropriate expectations and can be easily learned with help. Suggestions for working with your child are included afterwards. Please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive.
Knows and spells first name
Can orally say first and last name and recognize letters in name
Gives street address and phone number
Knows birthday (month and day)
Follows 2-3 step directions
Can identify and name shapes: circle, square, rectangle, triangle, oval
Can identify and name colors: red, yellow blue, orange, green, purple, black and white
Identifies likes and differences in pictures
Names pictures of familiar objects: boy, girl, tree, leaf, car, dog, key, cup, flower, etc.
Identifies body parts: head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, elbows, legs, feet, chin, shoulders, fingers, etc.
Listen to stories with interest (for approximately 10-15 minutes)
Listening without interrupting
Uses words to express feelings
Can tell a story about a past event
Interested in books-pretends to read
Recognizes environmental print (Ex. Dunkin Donuts, Goldfish and Ritz crackers, Cheerios, etc.)
Can say and recognize the letters of the alphabet
Speaks with complete sentences (baby talk is for imaginative play, not for communicating)
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Grasps/holds pencil with fingers
Can write first name
Can draw circle and square without help
Prints numbers 1-10
Can glue and paste
Cuts with (safely) scissors
Folds paper in half
Puts on own coat
Count objects to 10
Sorts objects by size, color and shape
Retells a story
Does puzzles of 15 or more pieces
Understands directional concepts-in, out, on, off
Can complete a pattern of two colors
Draws a person with six parts or more: head, nose, eyes, mouth, body, arms, legs, feet, fingers, etc.
Can sequence 3 or more pictures to tell a story
Can play in a group
Can stack at least 10 blocks
Gallops, skips, runs, jumps, hops, dances or moves to music
Catches, kicks, bounces a ball
Walks up and down stairs using alternate feet
Enjoys different sports
Can ride a tricycle
Stands on one foot for five seconds
Can hop on one foot
Walks forward heel-to-toe
Walks backwards toe-to-heel
Controls emotion-state his/her feelings not act them out
Enjoys playing with other children and being part of a group
Separates readily from mother without a fuss (five minutes of fussing is okay, more than that is note)
Can share and take turns.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Read to your child everyday!
Avoid comparing your child to others
Prepare child for school-give them opportunities to play and be a kids; play with peers
Explore the world-parks, museums, zoos, farms
Go on nature walks
Explore the neighborhood
Go to the library
Read aloud and tell stories
Teach your child basic safety information
Their first and last name
Parents’ or guardians’ names
Walk to school and point out: traffic lights, crosswalks, driveways, bus stops, sidewalks, etc.
BUILD ORGANIZATION SKILLS
Arrange household items into groups, colors, size and shapes
Stack books from largest to smallest
Use measuring cups
Talk about time and temperature
ENCOURAGE HELPFUL HABITS
Put away things to encourage responsibility
Set up play dates and help your child to get along with others, take turns, choose games, etc.
Help with listening and following mutli step directions (EX. “Hang up your coat, close the closet door, and come into the kitchen.”)
Do simple chores-set or clean table (start with utensils and napkins), put away clothes and toys, hang up towel after bath, put books on shelf, matching/sorting socks
Dress without help-shoelaces, buckles, buttons, zippers and snaps
Playing-taking turns, following rules and directions
Care for living things-Give pets and plants food and water
Sleep well-10-12 hours per night
Limit TV-(For example, 1 hour per day no more than 8 hours per week) Watch TV with your child and ask questions about the characters or story