Kindergarten Readiness

Your child will experience greater success in Kindergarten if he or she enters into school with the skills listed below. The single most critical element to your child’s success throughout all his or her years in school will be if he or she is ready to learn. It is helpful if you can be an interested and involved parent and help them to realize that they need to listen, pay attention and remember what they are practicing in school. Perhaps the two most important things that you can do for your child in preparation for school are:

  • Each day or night read at least 5 minutes out loud to your child and talk about what has been read. Having close body contact with your child as you read promotes security and independence, and important language skills are learned as well. The child also learns vicariously about the world and its peoples and maybe most important, the concept that reading is fun.

  • Each day or night tell your child 2 or 3 things that you like about him/her, why he/she is so special, what he/she does well, or that you LOVE him/her.

Here are some developmental skills to look for in a school-ready child:

Social Development

  • Able to trust other adults and children
  • Able to play with, not just next to, other children
  • Able to learn and play in a group
  • Able to take turns and share

Emotional Development

  • Some degree of independence and self-direction
  • Self-control or ability to delay gratification (even briefly)
  • Reasonably confident and willing to try new things
  • Interested in school and in learning new things

Language Development

  • Able to understand directions
  • Able to express needs
  • Able to communicate with adults and other children
  • Can express thoughts in sentences

Motor Development

  • Can run and jump (if not handicapped)
  • Sense of spatial awareness and balance
  • Shows right or left dominance
  • Has self-help skills: dressing, eating, and toileting
  • Able to manipulate small objects
  • Can copy simple symbols
  • Can hold a pencil appropriately
  • Has had experience using crayons, scissors and glue and can cut a straight or wavy line

Intellectual and Academic Development

  • Able to focus and concentrate on an activity for 10 – 15 minutes
  • Understands that letters stand for something
  • Able to identify and name most of the 52 letters
  • Understands that printed text is spoken language written down
  • Has had experiences with environment (grocery story, post office, library etc.)
  • Can follow simple directions and remember simple routines
  • Able to stick with and solve simple problems
  • Can identify colors and basic shapes

**Some ideas in this list are reprinted with permission of the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED), College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 215 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Drive Southeast, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55455-0223.