kindergarten class sitting on matsIf yes, kindergarten begins in just a few months. Is your child ready? Here are some kindergarten readiness tips from the Family Involvement of Network Educators at Harvard University.

  • Access to quality pre-school programs give kids the best chance of success
  • A smooth transition from preschool to kindergarten makes a difference for children’s outcomes
  • Families play an important role in the transition to school
  • It’s all About Relationships Among Families, Early Childhood Programs, Schools and Communities.

Kids and preschool:

About 48% of kindergartners have not been enrolled in any preschool program.

About 27% were enrolled in part-day programs

About 26% of kindergartners attended a full time pre-kindergarten or preschool program.

A Smooth Transition to Kindergarten Consists of:

Families, educators, school and the community working together to promote preschools, day care centers, and Headstart to offer skills that are needed to succeed in kindergarten.

Parents having the skills and tools available to help their children develop needed skills for kindergarten readiness is essential. Much is happening in this area including apps and educational technology. The most important things parents can do to help their child be ready for kindergarten include:

  • telling stories
  • doing puzzles
  • playing math and science games
  • singing songs

Also, very important:

Imparting a “growth mindset” that promotes practice and persistence so that children understand that effort is important.

Fostering good communication and acceptance of anxious feeling that a child might have about transitioning to kindergarten from preschool.

Aligning family routines and sleep schedules for school hours

Involve kindergarten age children in activities outside of school such as clubs and music. This has been shown to improve school performance.

Specific Skills Needed to be Ready for Kindergarten:

  • Draws person with body
  • Knows full name, address and phone number
  • Copies triangle and other shapes
  • Prints some letters
  • Dresses and undresses without help
  • Uses utensils: fork, spoon, and (sometimes) a table knife
  • Usually cares for own toilet needs
  • Can count to Ten
  • Can bounce a ball
  • Listens to stories without interrupting
  • Knows rhyming sounds
  • Has short periods of paying attention and following directions
  • Understands cause and effects of actions
  • Knows morning, afternoon, evening and night time
  • Cuts with scissors
  • Shares with others sometimes
  • Understand rules and can sometimes follow
  • Understands who’s in charge
  • Can button shirts, pants, coats, and zip up zippers
  • Has some self control
  • Can separate from parents and not be upset
  • Speech is understandable by adults
  • Speaks in complete sentences of five to six words
  • Can look at pictures and make up a story
  • Identifies beginning sound of some words
  • Know some ABC’s
  • Recognize common words like “stop” and “go”
  • Can tell colors, size, and shape
  • Knows groups of one, two, three, four, and five objects

    Also see Child Development for 5 year olds.

Working with Your School

Your child’s teacher will provide information about how to best communicate, often that is by email, in person and through hand outs sent home with the child.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and give feedback. Kindergarten teachers expect this and need parents to be involved. It is very likely that this is the first experience many parents have with the local school system, and there is a lot to learn.

Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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