Guest Blog: Is My Child Ready For Kindergarten?

Guest Blog: Is My Child Ready For Kindergarten?

What skills should children have when they enter kindergarten? Which traits will promote success?  What can a parent do to ensure readiness?  How do you know if your child is ready? 

These are common questions, and concerns parents have as their child approaches kindergarten age. Here are some observations I have made in my 40 years as an educator, 20 of which have been as a kindergarten teacher. Yes, kindergarten has changed. Curriculum expectations 35 years ago when I first began teaching kindergarten and curriculum expectations during my last 17 years in the kindergarten classroom were different. Much of what I taught in first grade has shifted into the kindergarten curriculum.  That said, the children that experience success in kindergarten whether, 35 years ago or today, have the same basic traits. 

I would like to begin with social and emotional skills as I believe strong social and emotional health are the building blocks of readiness for learning. A confident and secure child will approach new situations with curiosity and a joy of learning. Feeling safe to take risks in the classroom will foster all other academic skill development.

Checklist of Indicators that Promote Success: 

Social and Emotional Skills
•    Can self-advocate for needs and wants in a clear and polite manner
•    Has independent self-care abilities, i.e. dresses self, washes hands, uses the bathroom
•    Takes turns and handles disappointments
•    Makes meaningful choices from limited options
•    Cooperatively cleans up and shares group responsibilities
•    Takes risks in a safe environment to build, explore and develop imagination
•    Demonstrates caring, kindness, and sportsmanship

Language Skills
•    Speaks in complete sentences most of the time
•    Understands and follows two-step directions
•    Makes connections and relates experiences outside of school to learning in school
•    Participates in meaningful conversations
•    Sustains attention by listening and participating for at least five minutes

 Reading Readiness
•    Knows and writes own name
•    Recognizes alphabet letters, including name
•    Identifies some beginning letter sounds
•    Identifies and repeats rhymes and patterns in songs and sentences
•    Enjoys listening to stories
•    Can draw pictures to express an idea
•    Recognizes familiar signs and logos

Math Skills
•    Counts one to ten without skipping numbers
•    Has one-to-one correspondence up to five
•    Recognizes and names basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle)
•    Understands the concepts of more and less
•    Names and points to eight colors in a crayon box

Fine Motor Skills
•    Uses pencil and crayons with control
•    Can use scissors
•    Copies basic shapes

Gross Motor Skills
•    Runs
•    Hops on one foot
•    Jumps with feet together
•    Bounces and tries to catch balls
•    Climbs stairs

But the most crucial factor in promoting readiness for school is for a child to have a positive, loving and nurturing relationship with an adult who believes their child has what they need to succeed. Does your child need to read, write and do addition and subtraction? NO. So relax, have fun! Read daily. Demonstrate a joy of learning. Don’t worry. Be silly, play games and have faith.

*Helpful books to read with your child:

All I Ever Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten 25th Edition by Robert Fulghum
Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Krauss
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
Count Down to Kindergarten by Alison McGhere
Bedtime Math by Laura Overdeck
This School Year Will Be the Best by Kay Winters
Llama, Llama Loves to Read by Anna Dewdney
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis
Clifford Goes to Kindergarten by Norman Birdwell
The Best Thing About Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd
Alpha Oops!  The Day  Z Went Before A by Alethea Kontis
Kindergarten, Here I Come!  by D.J. Steinberg
Forever or a Day by Sarah Jacoby
Think for Myself at School by Kristy Hammill
Waiting Is Not Easy by Mo Willems

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Guest Blogger

Alicia Jannarone Price, MAED has been an educator for over 40 years; she is currently working as a Literacy Specialist for the Experience Corps Orange County parentis

AARP Experience Corps has nearly 20,000 volunteers age fifty and older, who tutor and support literacy development in more than 20 cities, serving over 30,000 students. Check out their website to see how you can get involved.

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