Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten? | Kay Trotter

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Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?Not sure if your child is ready to tackle the world of kindergarten?

Is there such a thing as starting your child’s formal academic career too soon?

Can you really know if your child is ready to begin kindergarten?

While many school districts rely on age as the determining factor, some educators believe that the most important aspect to determining if a child is ready for kindergarten is how much previous experience he or she has had in a school setting.

The social aspects that children learn from preschool are invaluable. We may see it as play and fun, but play is serious work for a child. It ends up helping a 4-year-old acquire the tools he will need in kindergarten.

What Your Child Should Know
Schools seem to expect the children entering kindergarten to know a lot more than their parents had to when they went to school. From soup to nuts, they are expected to know certain things when they walk in the door. It’s like they need to hit the ground running, not learn it once they get in.

Some districts test children before or shortly after the school year has started, using the pre-test which screens a child’s physical development, alphabet recognition and his or her knowledge of body parts, colors and shapes. It is just one indicator of their physical and cognitive development —the basic things that a 5-year-old child should know.

If your district has a pre-admission screening and your child doesn’t do well, you should request the test be performed again. If he or she still does not perform well, ask for your child to be re-evaluated three and six months later. That way, if there are any developmental or neurological difficulties, you can get a jump on them right away by contacting a child psychologist, play therapist, and or neurologist.

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

This checklist will give you an idea on what areas your child is doing well in, and where they may need some extra attention. It’s a good idea to do the checklist, print it out and then work with your child in the areas they need extra help. In a few weeks, do the checklist again to see how much your child has improved.

Fine Motor Skills

1. Puts a 10- to 12-piece puzzle together                                              Yes            Not Yet

2. Holds scissors correctly                                                                      Yes            Not Yet

3. Holds a pencil or crayon properly                                                     Yes            Not Yet

Gross Motor Skills

1. Runs, jumps and skips                                                                       Yes            Not Yet

2. Walks backward                                                                                  Yes            Not Yet

3. Walks up and down stairs                                                                Yes            Not Yet

Social Skills

1. Uses words instead of being physical when angry                      Yes            Not Yet

2. Speaks clearly so an adult can understand him/her                  Yes            Not Yet

3. Plays with other children                                                                 Yes            Not Yet

4. Follows simple directions                                                                Yes            Not Yet

5. Expresses feelings and needs                                                          Yes            Not Yet

6. Goes to the bathroom by him/herself                                           Yes            Not Yet

7. Waits his/her turn and shares                                                        Yes            Not Yet

8. Talks in sentences                                                                             Yes            Not Yet

9. Asks questions about things around him/her                             Yes            Not Yet

10. Enjoys having books read to him/her                                         Yes            Not Yet

11. Can tell a story about a past event                                                Yes            Not Yet

12. Says “please” and “thank you”                                                      Yes            Not Yet

13. Can spend extended periods away from Mom and Dad          Yes            Not Yet

Academic Skills

1. Recognizes shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle)              Yes            Not Yet

2. Can sort items by color, shape and size                                        Yes            Not Yet

3. Can identify six parts of his/her body                                           Yes            Not Yet

4. Understands concept words: up, down, in, out, behind           Yes            Not Yet

5. Counts from 1 to 10                                                                          Yes            Not Yet

6. Recognizes five colors                                                                     Yes            Not Yet

7. Tries to write his/her name                                                            Yes            Not Yet

8. Recognizes his/her written name                                                 Yes            Not Yet

Personal Information

1. Knows his/her full name                                                                Yes            Not Yet

2. Knows how old he/she is                                                               Yes            Not Yet

3. Knows his/her address and telephone number                         Yes            Not Yet

4. Knows his/her mother and father’s first names                        Yes            Not Yet

If You Do Keep Your Child Out for a Year…
So what so you do if you decide to keep your child out of kindergarten for a year? What can you do to make sure he or she is ready when September rolls around again? Getting your child involved in other activities is key, You may think you are doing him a favor by keeping him home with you, but you are not. It could be one of the worst mistakes you can make.

And don’t forget that you the parents are your child’s first and most important teacher, but a parent also needs to know the expectations of the school system their child is going into. If your district has many schools with a variety of academic programs, it is important to look into all of them in order to determine which might be the best fit for your child.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: 

One Comment
  1. Deborah McNelis


    It is wonderful that you pointed out the importance of play. Play is the best way for the brain to learn!

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