As kindergarten teachers, we want all our students to be successful. We want them to feel safe and happy when they are at school. We want them to be excited about learning. We want them to develop friendships that could last a lifetime. All this plus understanding the academics of reading, writing, math, science, social studies, art… you get the idea. This success begins with our students being ready for kindergarten.
Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?
Of course, parents want the very same thing for their children. So, it’s only natural that sometime in the spring, prior to the start of their child’s formal education, they ask themselves the following question. Is my child ready for kindergarten? Most likely, they have also asked themselves – What can I do to help my child succeed in school? They’ve probably been asking the latter question repeatedly since their child was born or shortly thereafter. So how do you determine if your child is ready for kindergarten?
Assessment for Kindergarten Readiness
In many states, school districts conduct kindergarten readiness assessments. These tests are used to inform, guide instruction, create individual learning plans and provide a statewide snapshot of kindergarten readiness. TSGold is one such test. These tests are usually administered early in the school year. They can be very helpful for teachers and parents during the school year. However, most parents want to know how to prepare their child before school starts.
Checklist for Kindergarten Readiness
We at 4 Kinder Teachers have put together a checklist to help you determine if your child is ready for kindergarten and more importantly what you can do to help your child be ready. Visit our TPT store for your FREE copy.
Our main concern is not whether our students come to school knowing the alphabet. Our main concern is that our students come to school READY TO LEARN the alphabet and all the other exciting things we teach in kindergarten. In order to do that, there are certain skills children need to help them feel comfortable and confident in school.
Personal Care Routines
We recommend practicing personal care routines at home long before the first day of school.
Personal care means that a child can use the bathroom independently and in a timely manner. This is so important for children to feel comfortable in school. We know that sometimes accidents happen, so children need an extra set of clothes that they can put on.
It is also important for children to know and practice good hygiene. They need to know when and how to wash their hands. They should be covering their mouths when they cough, or sneeze and using tissues for their runny noses. Side note: most kindergartners love to use tissue, runny nose or not.
Lunchtime can be scary for children new to the school setting. It’s loud and busy, and there is never enough time. To ensure lunchtime is a success, make sure your child really knows how to open their lunch box and whatever is inside it. Send foods your child will eat; This is not the time to have them try new foods. Keep it simple. Since lunchtime is relatively short, only send a few items you want them to eat, they don’t need a buffet of choices. If they are going to buy lunch, have them practice carrying a small tray. It’s also important to teach them what things they can save and what things they should throw away (i.e. open juice boxes do NOT go back in the lunch box).
One last thing, please help your child learn to button, zip and tie whatever they will be wearing to school.
In order for children to have positive interactions with other people, parents need to model and reinforce the behaviors they want to see. Kids need to socialize with other kids. Playdates are fantastic. Your local libraries have lots of opportunities for socializing from Story Time to Dance. Organized sports are great for helping children develop social emotional skills, as well as gross motor skills and confidence.
Reading with your child is the most important academic activity a parent can do. It develops early literacy skills, broadens vocabulary, builds comprehension, increases attention span and inspires a love of reading. Counting is a fun and easy activity to build into your child’s day. For example; count with your child to see how long it takes for them to put on their shoes, pick up their toys, run in the backyard, etc… Don’t forget to count objects with your child as well.
Have your child practice following simple directions. Here are some examples.
- Go pick up your yellow ball and place it in your toybox. Then pick up your purple dinosaur and set it on the chair.
- Take your plate to the trashcan. Scrape off the leftover food and put your plate in the sink.
To help your child develop fine motor skills, we suggest doing lots of art with your child: coloring, drawing, painting, cutting and gluing. Don’t be afraid of the mess! For some great art activities that go along with books visit our blog 3 Steps to Create Meaningful Experience through Read Aloud.
We realize that not all children have mastered the above. There are some students who will need extra help. This list is to help you know what to work on to help your child transition into kindergarten.
One Last Thing to Get Ready for Kindergarten
A couple of weeks before school begins, develop a Ready For Kindergarten daily routine. Have your child wake up, eat breakfast and get ready for the day as if they were going to school. Make sure they go to bed at the same time every evening and get plenty of sleep. Talk about what your child is excited for and address any concerns they may have. Read and discuss books about kindergarten.
Books to Get Ready for Kindergarten
You can learn more about these and other books to help your child get ready for kindergarten in the article The Best Back to School Books for Kindergarten.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a great story.
More books to get ready for kindergarten.
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
- The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
- Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
- Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come by Nancy Carlson
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