If your child is coming into school aged years it can be stressful to know if your child is ready. Especially if you have a child that has a birthday in the summer months. Do you push them forward to be one of the younger kids in the class, or do you hold them back? It can be a hard thing to navigate especially when differing Pre-k and kindergarten. These decisions can be varied depending on the child.
There are a number of things your child should be able to do before day one of kindergarten. These can be broken down to school readiness, and non academic readiness.
For academics your child should be able to:
- Recognize and name basic shapes.
- Recognize numbers written 1-10
- Count to 20
- Count in sequence while pointing at 10 objects
- Say or sing their alphabet
- Recognize letters upper and lower case, knowing the difference
- In a pack of 8 count crayons be able to name all colors
- Recognize their own name written down
- Write out their own name using upper and lower case letters
- Sort items by size, color, and shape
- Recognize words that rhyme
- Identify some letter sounds
- Hold scissors, glue and pencil properly
- Know some sight words, such as do, the, and
- Handle a book, hold on their own and flip the pages.
Non Academic Skills:
Your child will also need to be ready in certain non academic skills. Such as using the bathroom on their own. Being able to pull their pants up and down without assistance. They will also need to be able to navigate tying their shoes, being able to do a zipper, and a button. Another skill that sometimes can be overlooked is hanging up a backpack or jacket on a hook.
Your child will need to know how to use a tissue to wipe and blow their nose. As well as sneezing or coughing into their elbow.
Eating lunch independently is also a skill needed. There will be little to no assistance with any lunch containers in kindergarten.
Gross motor skills that are looked for in kindergarten are jumping, running, hopping on one foot, and bouncing a ball.
Your child will also need to know how to sit quietly. They will need to know how to wait their turn and raise their hand to be called on. Children in kindergarten will be expected to be able to hear and do verbal instructions that are given that may have multiple steps. They also need the ability to be able to focus on one single activity for at least 15 minutes.
Socialization with other children will also be expected. Your child needs to know how to share and play appropriately with other children. They will also be expected to be able to express themselves with words, instead of becoming physical.
A big thing that can be hard for some children is separating from their parents. Kindergarten can be all day, 5 days a week, which is sometimes the most some children have been away from their parents ever. This can cause separation anxiety in some children.
Preparing Your Child For Kindergarten
As a parent there are some things you can do to help your child be ready for kindergarten. A big one is to read to them every single day. Get them seeing words, hearing them, and navigating how to use a book.
Another important thing is to teach your child to be kind and respectful. This can be towards their classmates, teacher, rules, and other people’s property.
Expose your children to new situations often. This can be as simple as going to a different park than the one in your neighborhood. Or eating lunch at a different place, so they see they are still ok in unfamiliar places.
School will have a routine, so set one at home. It doesn’t have to be a rigid schedule but getting them used to having some routine can help with the transition of a very routine school day.
Encourage their independence by giving them chores. This could be as simple as having them pick their own clothes out and get dressed every morning. School asks for a lot of independence so teaching them some at home can help them not rely on the teacher so heavily.
Socialize your children. Give them tons of opportunities to be around other children. This can help them learn to share and learn to play nicely with other children.
Practice gross and fine motor skills with your child. Give them puzzles to do, work on holding a pencil, tracing shapes, bouncing a ball outside, running, skipping, or riding a tricycle.
Some states have readiness tests you can give your child to see if they are ready to move onto Kindergarten. You can find checklists online to see if they have mastered what is expected of them or see what you still need to work on with your child.
If your child has been in preschool, talk with your child’s teacher. They are around your child in the school setting the most and may have great insight.
There are some benefits to delaying kindergarten, such as allowing your child to be more focused and calm for school, allowing them to learn better. There are also downsides to delaying kindergarten, if your child doesn’t sit still well, but learns at a fast pace they may be bored or not challenged enough during their school day. Your pediatrician may have some other suggestions on delaying or not as well.
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