Kindergarten Readiness

Everyone is talking about Kindergarten readiness. But what does that mean? Being ready for Kindergarten isn’t just about knowing your ABC’s and 123’s. Much of being ready for Kindergarten lies in other skill areas, such as self-care and social maturity, as well as possessing fine and gross motor facility.

Remember, all children develop skills at different rates. It is common for some students to be very strong in one area and not so strong in others. If you are concerned that your student is not ready for Kindergarten, talk with other parents, your pediatrician, your preschool teacher, or for Robbinsdale’s free Early Childhood Screening services.

Social Maturity

  • Shares and takes turns
  • Has a basic understanding of right and wrong
  • Is learning to solve conflicts with friends without adult supervision
  • Can verbally articulate personal feelings
  • Shows empathy
  • Enjoys imaginative play
  • Participates in tasks for a longer period of time (controls frustration)
  • Can play games with simple rules
  • Can follow rules and 3-part directions
  • Shows respect for others (especially adults) and uses manners
  • Can listen to a story for 10 minutes or longer
  • Shows respect for toys and can put them away
  • Transitions from one activity to another without difficulty
  • Can separate from parents for a period of time
  • Enjoys playing with other children
  • Can work independently on simple tasks
  • Communicates needs and wants

Self-Care Skills

  • Cleans up after snacks and meals
  • Knows first and last name, home address and emergency numbers
  • Uses toilet independently, including has washing
  • Uses a tissue properly
  • Can fasten shoes
  • Can dress independently. Including donning and zipping a jacket

Gross Motor Skills

  • Can walk up stairs using alternating feet
  • Can balance on each foot for about 10 seconds
  • Can jump over an object
  • Can use hands to catch a ball
  • Can hop with feet together

Fine Motor Skills

  • Can write his or her own first name
  • Holds and uses scissors properly
  • Holds writing utensils properly (pincer grasp)
  • Understands how to use a glue stick
  • Copies basic shapes
  • Puts together simple puzzles

Reading Readiness

  • Can say or sing the alphabet
  • Recognizes most of the letters in the alphabet
  • Knows the difference between letters and numbers
  • Can rhyme simple words
  • Recalls familiar stories
  • Understands basic positional words: in, on, under, over, behind, etc.
  • Uses proper pronouns: he, she, they, hers, his, etc.

Math Readiness

  • Can count out 10 items or more
  • Can count to 20
  • Identifies numbers 0-10 (preferably up to 20)
  • Identifies 11 basic colors (blue, red, yellow, green, orange, purple, pink, brown, black, white, gray)
  • Knows basic shapes (circle, square, oval, rectangle, triangle, heart, diamond/rhombus)
  • Can order items, such as from smallest to largest
  • Understands simple patterns
  • Understands more than and less than.

How can we practice?

Here are a few ideas on how to help your incoming Kindergartner be prepared!

  1. Read, read, read! Listening to stories, even if it is the same one over and over, has beneficial effects on reading readiness. Have children draw a picture and retell the story to a family member.
  2. Have your children practice getting ready. Let them choose their own clothes so they can take ownership in their own choices. Have them put on their own jackets and shoes. Show them how, then let them try. Do this when you have plenty of time, not when you are trying to rush out the door.
  3. Model proper language usage. For example, if you child is mixing up pronouns, “Her has a nice dress,” repeat back to him, “Oh yes, she does have a nice dress!” Try to avoid correcting him by saying “No! Say ‘she!'”
  4. Play I Spy games with letters, numbers, and shapes. This can be a fun in a car ride or at the grocery store.
  5. Have your child set the table and count out the napkins or silverware.
  6. Have her count out her snacks, and let her count as high as she can. Then add one more.
  7. Have him thread Cheerios or large beads onto pipe cleaners.
  8. Play with play dough.
  9. Do puzzles together. Help explain techniques. For example: turning all of the pieces over, finding the edge pieces first, and looking at the pictures on the box.