Preparing Children for Kindergarten
Kindergarten and preschool teachers may wish to share the skills children should know before starting kindergarten with parents. Use this kindergarten readiness checklist as a form of parent communication to help parents know what to work on before their child begins kindergarten.
Math and Numbers
The following math related skills should be achieved before a child begins kindergarten:
- A child should be able to count objects from 1-10.
- Kindergarteners should be able to identify numbers 1-5.
- Counting by rote from 1-15 shows readiness to enter kindergarten.
- Child should be able to identify and draw basic shapes. (circle, square, triangle, and rectangle)
- Use 1-1 correspondence.
- Work basic puzzles.
- Understand the concept that money is used to buy things.
These pre-reading and pre-writing skills should be mastered prior to the kindergarten year:
- Kindergarten students should be able to attend to stories read to them.
- Children of kindergarten age should be able to write first name.
- Child should be able to recite the alphabet and recognize some of the letters.
- Recite favorite finger plays, songs, and rhymes.
- Kindergarteners should be able to sort objects by size, shape, and color.
- Child should be able to speak in complete sentences.
- Use safety scissors to cut out large shapes.
- Be able to use glue and other art supplies in a responsible manner.
- Have an understanding that letters make up words.
- Remember main idea of a story read to student. Draw a picture of a scene in the story.
Behavior and Self Help
Kindergarten students are expected to follow basic rules and routines. Some kids are away from home for the first time, while others have been independent at daycare for years. The following behavior and self-help skills should be in place upon entering kindergarten:
- Child should follow basic directions and rules.
- Kindergarten students should recognize teacher authority.
- Students should share toys and manipulatives.
- Adhere to playground and classroom safety guidelines.
- Kindergarteners should treat other children with respect.
- Be able to use the bathroom with minimal assistance.
- Manipulate fasteners, such as buttons, zippers, and snaps.
- Take care of personal belongings.
- Be able to separate from parent.
- Wash hands independently after using the toilet.
- Carry a lunch tray and open milk containers.
- Put on and remove coat, gloves, and other outerwear.
- Be able to follow a 2 part direction.
- Child is aware of other people’s feelings, and shows empathy.
- Student should be able to follow rules of children’s games.
- Show pride in student’s work.
Preparing At Home
Kindergarten readiness skills will develop in part naturally, but parents can facilitate the proper development of these skills through simple activities at home. Reading stories at bedtime is an important kindergarten preparation activity. Parents should provide plenty of art supplies for drawing and practicing letters and numbers. Parents should provide a model of the child’s name and encourage him to practice writing it. Outdoor walks and nature exploration are fun activities that provide incidental learning. Probably the best way to prepare a child for school is simply to encourage conversation. Talking to a child and having meaningful conversations builds the confidence that will springboard a lifetime of academic success.