The best thing you can do for your young child entering school is to ensure that they’re ready and confident when they start. It’s tough to know just what is expected of children, or what will give them the best chance to succeed when they’re starting out.
We’re going to talk about some of the milestones your child should achieve, or come close to achieving, by the time they’re ready to enter kindergarten. Hopefully, our discussion of kindergarten readiness can help you feel more comfortable sending your little one to their first day.
Let’s get started:
Kindergarten students should be able to communicate with full sentences and have others understand what they’re saying the majority of the time. They don’t have to recite Shakespeare by any means, but they should be talking in sentences that others can interpret easily.
They should also be able to use their language skills to express their desires and understand what others are directing them to do. In most cases, a basic requirement is that your child can understand two-step instructions on basic tasks..
Further, the little ones should be able to make simple comparisons like more or less, big and little, near and far, etc.
This is something that comes from regular communication with your children and a little extra time working on comparisons. In most cases, trouble communicating these things by the age of 5 or 6 should be addressed by a speech therapist.
Few children enter kindergarten knowing how to read well. In most cases, children should have a general idea of the letters of the alphabet, and start to recognize their names and try to spell them.
Recognizing their name is useful for finding their projects and seeing their nametag whenever they have a specific spot to sit or a particular cubby.
These skills can be taught from an early age, and the more repetitions you have with your child, the better equipped they’ll be when kindergarten rolls around. Try sitting down with your child every night for a brief exercise with letters, particularly working on the letters of their name.
Again, they don’t have to be perfect with the alphabet before kindergarten. That said, the more they understand, the easier time they’ll have working through the activities of kindergarten.
Counting starts to improve around the age of 3 or 4 in most cases, even if it develops slowly. By the time kindergarten rolls around, try to ensure that your child can count up to around 10.
Most activities and projects won’t involve counting higher than 10, and that number is a great jumping-off point for teachers to start instructing on on the higher numbers.
If possible, you should also try to work with your child on identifying groups of things. These groups can be as small as two or three. For example, isolating three blocks into a group alongside three action figures is a great start.
Some fundamental self-care skills are suggested by the time that your child goes to school. Going to the bathroom and washing hands on their own is a general expectation. Of course, things happen and it’s not as if this has to be the case at all times, but the knowledge of how to do it should be there.
Additionally, there should be a real effort and some progress on getting ready to leave. That means shoelaces, coat zippers, and gloves should be things that your child is working on figuring out for themselves.
It’s totally normal for these things to be sticking points for a lot of children, but it’s important to get the wheels in motion by the time they’re off to school. This makes it easier for them to keep up when the class is moving, and it helps teachers out a great deal.
Some basic emotional skills should also be in place. This can be difficult to teach or ensure, but these skills have to do with managing emotions and understanding that others have emotions as well.
It can be tough for a child to go to kindergarten if they’ve never had pre-school experience before. It’s the first time they’re leaving home and spending significant time away from their parents.
That said, they should be able to go to class and respect others around them as best they can. If this is a difficult thing for you and your child, consider working through some empathy exercises to help them understand the inner worlds of others.
One great way to prepare your children, although these things aren’t always requirements, is to work on the small physical tasks that they’ll be asked to do in class.
Things like holding a pencil, using scissors, and picking up after themselves are important parts that often get overlooked. Most of the activities in kindergarten are close to activities that your child does at home every day, but it’s still important to think if there’s anything they might not have done before.
Finally, some of the best parts of kindergarten have to do with running around outside and playing with friends. Your child should be able to comfortably climb up stairs, run around, get somewhere close to catching a ball, and just generally be active.
If these things are still not up to par by the age of 5 or 6, it might be smart to work with a physical therapist on ways to improve those skills. A hiccup in physical development doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong, just that it might be time to put a little extra attention into those areas.
Hopefully, the ideas above have given you a better idea of what’s expected for kindergarten readiness. If there’s anything else you need to know, though, we’re here to help you with it.
Explore our site for more tips and tricks for making sure your child is ready for school.