Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

Kindergarten is the first big step in a long line of formalized learning. However, 85% of a child’s brain is wired for learning by the age of five. That’s why it is critical to provide a solid foundation early on.

In our society today, more and more children are attending Preschool. Even with the increase in numbers of children having early learning experiences, not all are ready for Kindergarten.

Social Skills

Any teacher will tell you social skills are just as important if not more important than any academic skill your child may posses. Here are a few to reinforce:

  • Can they take care of their personal needs?
    Encourage your child to dress, wash their hands and clean up after themselves.
  • How does your child handle emotions, specifically anger? With words or by acting out physically?
  • Can your child follow two-step directions without constant reminders?
  • This is an easy readiness activity to practice at home. “Molly, please go get your coat and backpack.” “Hunter, please brush your teeth, put on your shoes and wait at the door for me.” If you are looking for a game to play in the car, try Simon Says.
  • Does your child ask questions about the world around them? This helps create cause and effect relationships. When answering these questions you have an excellent opportunity to integrate vocabulary words and discuss higher level thinking skills. Take the opportunity to point out interesting things in the paper or in a book and explain them to your child.
  • Does your child play well with others? Share? Take turns? Even for a temperamental preschooler, these are lifelong skills that begin developing at this age. At home, encourage this by playing games and sticking to the rules (as hard as that may be).

Motor Skills

Your child’s level of both fine and gross motor skills are a good indication of whether he or she is ready to move on to kindergarten. Here are a few ways to gauge progress:

  • Can your child hold scissors properly and cut on a designated line?
    If she has trouble with her scissor skills, start by using thicker paper (construction paper) and gradually move to thinner paper such as newspaper or tissue paper.
  • Does your child hold a pencil correctly? Can she draw a person? Can he write his first name?
    An easel or the sidewalk is a fantastic place to help your child with pencil. If your child is having fine motor issues, Little Scholars has an excellent program called Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes to address these concerns.
  • Does your child run, jump and hop? Can your child throw a ball?
    These are all wonderful playground skills, but gross motor skills are directly related to fine motor skills. Some suggestions for gross motor development are swimming, climbing the slide and monkey bars—all are easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

Academic Skills

Last, but certainly not least, it’s crucial to understand your child’s level of academic development and try to identify areas where he or she may need reinforcement.

  • Can your child attend to an activity for 15-20 minutes?
    Encourage this at home by simply requiring them finish a given activity.
  • Can your child complete a simple pattern?
  • Can your child tell a story?
    Let them embellish a make believe story with a clear beginning, middle and end?
  • Can your child count to ten?
  • Can your child write his or her name in order, starting on the left side of the paper?
    Reversals are okay at this age.
  • Does your child speak in complete sentences?
    If not, mimic the sentence in full as opposed to constantly correcting them.
  • Can your child retell the general story line of a book?
  • Can he or she correctly label at least five colors?
  • Can he or she label at least four shapes?
  • Can your child recognize in isolation AT LEAST the letters in his/her name?
  • Can your child ask question and answer questions appropriately?
  • Complete a simple rhyme: bat, rat, cat?
  • Does your child recite a simple nursery rhyme or song?

When answering these questions, be honest—your child will benefit in the long term. Remember, you’re the best judge of their child’s readiness for Kindergarten, but you can use teachers as a resource to guide you in making the best decision for your child.

If you are still on the fence, Little Scholars offers Kindergarten Readiness Assessments to help answer your questions and Educational Development Sessions to help your child develop the skills necessary for Kindergarten success.