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.
Today, more and more children are attending Preschool. Even with the increase in the number of children having early learning experiences, not all are ready for Kindergarten.
Any teacher will tell you social skills are just as important as any academic skill your child may possess.
- Can your child 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? Do they “use their words” or act out physically?
- Can your child follow two-step directions without constant reminders?An easy readiness activity is to give your child two step directions on a consistent basis, such as, “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? When answering these questions, you have an excellent opportunity to integrate vocabulary words, discuss higher level thinking skills, and establish cause and effect relationships. Take the opportunity to point out interesting things in a book and explain it.
- Does your child play well with others? Does your child share? Does your child take turns? These are lifelong skills that begin developing at this age. At home, encourage sharing, taking turns, and playing ‘nicely’ by playing games and sticking to the rules (as hard as that may be).
Your child’s level of fine and gross motor skills is a good indication of whether they are ready to move on to Kindergarten.
- Can your child hold scissors properly and cut on a designated line?
If they have trouble with their scissor skills, start by using thicker paper like construction paper and gradually move to thinner paper such as newspaper or tissue paper. Let me cut the grass, straws, or Play-doh with scissors too!
- Does your child hold a pencil correctly? Can your child draw a simple person? Can your child write their first name? An easel, fence, bathtub, or sidewalk is a fantastic place to help develop your child’s strength, pencil grip, and pre-writing skills.
- Does your child run, jump, and hop? Can your child throw a ball?
These are all excellent playground skills, but more importantly gross motor skills are directly related to fine motor skills. Some suggestions for gross motor development are swimming, climbing the slide, hitting a balloon in the air, parachute play, and climbing the monkey bars are FUN and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
It is important to have a realistic grasp of your child’s level of academic development and try to identify areas where they may need extra support.
- Can your child attend to an activity for 15-20 minutes? Encourage this at home by simply requiring them to finish a given activity.
- Can your child complete a simple pattern? Let your child make a pattern with their food (grape, carrot, grape, carrot…what comes next?).
- Can your child tell a story? Let them embellish a make believe story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Have your child recap a trip to grandma’s house.
- Can your child count to ten?
- Can your child write their 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 correcting them.
- Can your child retell the general storyline of a book?
- Can your child correctly label at least five colors?
- Can your child correctly name at least four shapes?
- Can your child recognize in isolation the letters in their name?
- Does your child ask appropriate questions? Does your child answer questions appropriately?
- Can your child complete a simple rhyme like 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 private tutoring to help your child develop the skills necessary for Kindergarten success.[button-pdf link=”https://littlescholarsllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Kindergarten-Readiness-Checklist.pdf”]Kindergarten-Readiness-Checklist[/button-pdf]