One of the top questions parents have while raising a preschooler is, “What do I need to do to get my child ready for kindergarten?”
- What do they need to know?
- What skills should they have?
- How do I prepare them for the transition from home to the classroom?
Starting kindergarten is a huge benchmark in a child’s life as they begin their academic journey. It’s significant and exciting.
Kids often look forward to this moment for years with anticipation and maybe even a bit of nervousness both for the child and the parents.
The good news is, teachers don’t expect your child to know everything before they come in. However, there are some important things you can do to prepare your preschooler and give them a good foundation so that transition is much smoother.
Preparing your Child for Kindergarten
There are two different categories of skills parents should be aware of when thinking about kindergarten readiness: academic skills and social skills.
We’ll talk about the importance of both and some ways to practice and help your preschooler acquire these skills.
Social Skills to be Ready for Kindergarten
- Verbalize Wants and Needs – It is important for your child to be able to communicate verbally and express things that they need or want. When a child can’t communicate these things effectively they become frustrated which can lead to either tantrums or social withdrawal, neither of which we want for our kiddos. Help your child practice at home asking for what they need instead of anticipating and verbalizing it for them.
- Following Directions – By the time a child reaches kindergarten we want them to be able to follow 3 part instructions (ie. Take off your coat, hang your backpack, and then sit on the rug.) Asha.org
- Engage in Play – Being able to separate from parents and engage well with others in play is a vital social skill for preschoolers coming into kindergarten. Play is a testing ground for learning appropriate social behaviors and working on communication and problem solving skills. Be intentional about giving your child opportunities to engage and become comfortable in play with other children before they get to kindergarten.
- Dress Themselves/Bathroom Independence – Your child will need to be able to take their coat on and off, remove and put on their backpack, as well as use the bathroom independently. In classrooms that typically include more than 20 five-year-olds, teachers do not have the capacity to help each individual child with these tasks for multiple recesses and trips to the bathroom each day.
Academic Skills Needed for Kindergarten
- Write Their Name – One of the first academic skills your child will need to know is how to identify their written name and write it themselves.
- Identifying Letters and Sounds – Kids do not need to know all of their letters and sounds by the end of preschool, but the more they know the easier it will be for them to start to learn to read in kindergarten.
- Counting & Number Sense – We want kids to be able to count, but more than that we want them to be starting a good foundation of number sense by matching groups of objects to the number that represents them, one-to-one correspondence, and ideas like one more or one less.
- Fine Motor, Scissors, Glue, and Crayons – Children develop most of their fine motor skills for life by the age of 5 years old. It is critical to support their development through good fine motor play.
It is important to remember that children are unique with their own sets of strengths and struggles which means their development speeds of different skills will vary. Our job as parents and educators is to support and encourage their curiosity and exploration as they learn.
One of our favorite ways to support parents in this path to preparing their children for kindergarten is the Mommy and Me Preschool program. This program gives parents the tools to help their kids begin to master all of the academic and most of the social skills needed to get their kiddos ready for kindergarten.
Click here to learn more about the Mommy and Me Preschool program today.