4 Signs of Kindergarten Readiness

By Marcia Hall

While many parents want their children to follow the accepted schedule for development, kids tend to progress at their own rate. This means that their developmental rate doesn’t always match up with what is the conventional timeframe.   One child may be speaking in full and fluid sentences before she is two while another child does not have much to say until after three.  There is nothing wrong with either of those situations.  However, parents typically want their children to be ready for the challenges that school will bring.  There may be a number of standards your desired school requires for each child entering Kindergarten, but there are other criteria that are equally important for your child to achieve before she hits this big milestone.

Socially speaking, no five year old is going to get along well with everyone; even adults are unable to master that.  However, entering Kindergarten means that your child is going to need to have a basic ability to get along with others under normal circumstances.

Your child should:

  • Be able to engage and play with other children more than just playing alongside them.
  • Be able to respond to questions from other children.
  • Not be terrified when a person she is unfamiliar with talks to her, whether they are an adult or another child.
  • Be open-minded of other children, meaning that she has met and been around people that look and sound unlike her.

Physically speaking, most parents know that in order to enter Kindergarten their child needs to be potty trained, but the need for physical development goes beyond this.

Your child should:

  • Have the ability to sit still for at least the length of time it takes to read a picture book.
  • Have the ability to sit in his chair to eat his lunch by himself.
  • Be fully potty trained during waking hours and be able to wait a few minutes before using the toilet in case he has to wait his turn.
  • Be able to stay awake and alert for the time he is in school.
  • Be able to walk, run and throw a ball, though he does not have to do these well.

Emotionally speaking, children are learning to understand and communicate their emotions. Emotional readiness will give your child a good foundation for learning in Kindergarten.

Your child should:

  • Be able to be separated from you for the full time she is at school.
  • Be able to communicate what her needs are to someone, even if she does not know them.
  • Have an excitement to explore her world and learn new things.
  • Be able to ask questions concerning things she is unsure of or is curious about.
  • Be able to consider new ideas freely and creatively.

Mentally speaking, there are basic benchmarks the school you choose will most likely evaluate your child on.

Your child should:

  • Be able to hold a pencil and scissors correctly and use them appropriately.
  • Know what his name looks like and some of the letters of the alphabet by sight.
  • Know all his colors and shapes
  • Be able to count to 10 and recognize some of the numbers by sight.
  • Be able to match similar objects and understand why an object is different from another one.
  • Be able to do simple puzzles and understand how things fit together.
  • Be able to answer questions about his surroundings (Is that chair near or far, what color is that table cloth, etc.).

Many parents today push their children to be ready for Kindergarten.  They often think that a child should be reading, writing and doing math before they even enter the building.  However, Kindergarten is the place your child will learn to do those things.  It is more important to give your child the foundations of achievement in the form of social, physical, emotional and mental readiness.  With these foundations, your child will be on the right track to succeed in school for years to come.

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