As a transitional kindergarten and kindergarten teacher, I've been the person many parents ask, "How do I know if my child is ready for kindergarten?"
There is no one size fits all answer for parents because kindergarten readiness depends on a set of academic skills coupled with social emotional skills plus a familiarity for the classroom setting. Yet still this question begs an answer, so I'm going to do my very best to give you all the information you need in order to give your child the best chance at success.
Academic Kindergarten Readiness Checklist and Skills
When it comes to academic readiness there is a certain set of skills that if mastered before kindergarten will ensure that children transition more smoothly and have more success picking up kindergarten skills.
Most of those skills are reading and math related since there is an expectation that children have been exposed to numbers and letters for some time before kindergarten. Below is a FREE downloadable checklist that briefly shares the main reading and math skills kids should know before entering school.
All kids come to kindergarten with different readiness levels
In the checklist I mention knowledge of at least 10 capital and 10 lowercase letters. I've had many kids come into my classroom reading and some without knowing a single letter. All made significant progress, but if I were to say what my expectation was of kids, I would suggest kids be confident with at least 10 letters.
Letter sounds is a big skill too. Some kids know them all; some don't even realize that letters make sounds. If kids realize that letters have sounds before kindergarten and know a few of them, that's a really great start.
Just a reminder, lots of schools differ in expectations. I once had a kindergarten class with multiple children ready for division and then at another school where children entered kindergarten with minimal number skills so that I was teaching numbers 1-5.
I'm just trying to give you the best information from my personal experience coupled with knowledge of the kindergarten standards that all students in the US need to meet by the end of the year.
Kindergarten Readiness Assessment -Letters, Numbers, and Essential Skills
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to assess your children's letters, sounds, and knowledge of numbers you can purchase the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment now for only $4.00.
This assessment is meant to test the skills that children should know or have familiarity with before kindergarten. This is NOT the same as a "Kindergarten Entrance Exam," where kids will often be tested on a wider variety of skills that show their mastery of pre-k AND kindergarten skills. Those are much longer and kids are asked about things they likely do NOT need to know yet.
Here's what's included in the 5 page assessment:
Number recognition 1-20
One to one correspondence
Making a pattern
It's especially helpful to have the numbers and letters mixed up so kids cannot rely on the order to give them the correct name. Plus all the questions are written out so you know exactly what to say.
Don't keep wondering if your child is ready! Grab your Kindergarten Readiness Assessment and get the proof in your hands!
Social and Self Care Skills for Kindergarten Readiness
Below are the list of skills that help to have before kindergarten. If your child has a specific disability that precludes them from being independent in the self care skills, I would make sure to mention it to their teacher during their transitional IEP or 504 meeting before the school year.
Self care skills that kids should have before kindergarten:
child is able to use the bathroom independently unless there is a specific disability that would allow for a paraprofessional or other adult helper in the restroom
child can wash hands, wipe nose, self hygiene skills
child can feed themselves independently, again unless there is a specific disability
child can ask an adult for help/know how to get needs met
child can use feeling words to describe their emotions
Social and classroom skills that help kids succeed in kindergarten:
child can wait for their turn (not perfectly but show some ability to do this)
child can listen to a story with a sense of focus
child can join other children in play
child is able to sit for at least twice their age in minutes
child can hold a writing utensil - may still need some help with grip
child is familiar with raising hand to be called on, but not perfect at it
child can transition from one activity to another with minimal help (again this doesn't apply if a child has a specific disability that makes this a challenge.)
help during clean up time
Parents know their kids best!
In my many years teaching transitional kindergarten, I've had many parents enroll their children even though they were academically advanced. I'm talking about kids coming in counting to 100, writing simple words, and reading short books, all coming in to Transitional Kindergarten which feeds into kindergarten.
As a new teacher in 2010, I asked them why they made this choice. I had not yet had children of my own and wanted to know the motivation behind "keeping their kids back a year."
Since my first year teaching TK, aka transitional kindergarten, I've come to shift my view. It no longer feels like children are "being held back" and feels more like they've been given "the gift of time."
Just because children can read doesn't mean they're necessarily ready for kindergarten. Social skills and parental intuition matter a whole lot.
Many reasons children were given "the gift of time" were due to parents' feelings that they were not emotionally mature enough or able to be independent enough to go to kindergarten. Other reasons included social confidence or lack of interest in paper to pencil tasks.
Sometimes a parent can't put their finger on it, but they have this feeling that they need to start kindergarten a year later, and I say, "Go with your gut!" You know your child!
Kinder-Ready Kids: An 8 Week Curriculum Coming May 31, 2021
Are you feeling unsure of how to prepare your child for kindergarten this fall? Was their assessment just okay or did it make you wonder, what exactly should I do during this summer time with them?
You're in luck! I'm creating a kinder-ready curriculum that is only 8 weeks to teach the MOST important academic skills listed in the kindergarten readiness checklist in a way kids love and parents find SUPER SIMPLE!
Each week (for 8 weeks) I'll send you 5 hands-on activities to do with your child straight to your email. All activities will be fun and hands-on, so you'll see NO worksheets or have to enforce that your child do "work." In fact, the kids will be asking you, "Hey, what's the next activity you have there?"
All activities will be take less than 5 minutes to set up and the supplies will be super simple:
These hands-on learning activities will ensure that your child masters the skills they need to have a smooth and successful kindergarten year. Heck, it might even catapult them to the top of their class, and best of all they'll be EXCITED about learning.
At an age where they have 13 years of schooling ahead of them (or more), it's vital that we excite and energize children about learning.
Wanna get on the waitlist to hear more information and get an exclusive early bird price? Join the waitlist with no obligations, NOW.