Getting Your Child Prepared for Kindergarten

Getting Your Child Prepared for Kindergarten

The first five years of a child's life are full of growth in many areas of development, from physical, to mental, to social. Though each child develops at his own pace, by the time your child is ready to start kindergarten, there are certain skills that it is good for your child to know. A good strong foundation will help your child be successful, not only in kindergarten, but throughout his or her whole academic career as well. If your child is attending a high quality pre-k program, most of these skills and concepts have probably been introduced. However, it is also very important to reinforce these skills at home as well.

The following skills will give your child a strong foundation when entering kindergarten. If your child can not complete all the tasks, it does not mean that she or he is not kindergarten ready. These are simply guidelines.

Social Skills

  • Can easily interact with other children and familiar adults.
  • Participates in group activities.
  • Able to take turns and share.
  • Uses words to communicate and solve conflicts.

Language and Literacy Skills

  • Can sit and listen quietly during story time.
  • Can follow one- and two-step directions.
  • Communicates verbally in complete sentences.
  • Listens and understands directions.
  • Able to retell the events of a simple story.
  • Pretend plays and can make up stories during play.
  • Knows most letter sounds in correspondence with the matching letters.

Writing Skills

  • Can recognize and attempt to write his/her name.
  • Able to hold a writing utensil correctly.
  • Recognizes and can write most upper and lower case letters.
  • Draws pictures to help communicate thoughts and ideas.

Math Skills

  • Recognizes and writes numbers 1-10.
  • Knows simple shapes.
  • Counts from 1-20.
  • Can arrange objects in simple patterns.
  • Uses and understands comparison words, such as “bigger,” “smaller,” “more,” and “less.”
  • Beginning to understand the concepts of addition and subtraction.
  • Can identify and sort by color, shape, and size.

Self Help Skills

  • Able to dress and undress him/herself.
  • Simple care skills, such as brushing his/her hair and teeth.
  • Feeds him/herself.
  • Able to go potty and wipe.
  • Knows the process and can successfully wash his/her hands.

Motor Skills

  • Can jump, run, kick, climb, and throw.
  • Uses scissors correctly.
  • Puts puzzles together.
  • Holds writing utensils correctly when drawing, coloring, and writing.
  • Builds with blocks.
  • Able to grasp small objects.

How You Can Encourage These Skills at Home

  • Talk to your child about the world around him/her. Good communication and use of language is key.
  • Read to your child daily. Books introduce new words, encourage language, and teach sentence structure.
  • Encourage independence, especially with self help skills. Even if your child does not successfully complete a task, he/she is learning during the process.
  • Allow lots of time for play. Young children learn best by hands-on play.
  • Turn every situation into a learning experience. Encourage your child to count, name shapes and colors, and name letters in everyday items.
  • Get outside and play to encourage gross motor skills.
  • Do fine motor activities on a regular basis. Crafts, Play-doh, Legos, and cooking are all fun activities that work on fine motor skills.
  • Set up playdates to provide social interaction with other children.
  • Find patterns (colors, shapes, etc.) in everyday life.

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Getting Your Child Prepared for Kindergarten
Shandy Marso, Contributor

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