The Ultimate Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
About a month ago, I attended a routine parent/teacher conference for my 3-year-old son. One of the things that I wanted to know was what they were doing to prepare my son for kindergarten, which is fastly approaching. Although I believe that play-based early childhood programs are awesome, I also believe that they should prepare students for the academic rigors of K-12.
Thankfully, his daycare gets it, and provides their students with the skills that they will need to excel at the next level. But all parents aren’t so lucky. A lot of PreK programs throughout the U.S. are failing students by not adequately preparing them for kindergarten. The reality is, if you find yourself in this position, it will be up to you to ensure that your child has the skills that they need to succeed.
To get you started, I am going to provide you with a checklist of the school readiness skills that your child will be expected to have before the first day of kindergarten. This list only includes guidelines; the exact expectations may vary from program to program. Your child’s future elementary school will be able to provide you with an exact list.
School Readiness Skills
- Identify some letters of the alphabet.
- Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly (with the thumb and forefinger supporting the tip)
- Write their first name using upper- and lowercase letters, if possible
- Count to ten.
- Bounce a ball
- Classify objects according to their size, shape, and quantity
- Speak using complete sentences
- Recognize some common sight words, like “stop.”
- Identify rhyming words
- Use scissors, glue, paint, and other art materials with relative ease
- Repeat full name, address, phone number, and birthday
- Play independently or focus on one activity with a friend for up to 10 minutes
- Manage bathroom needs
- Get dressed
- Follow directions
- Clean up after self
- Listen to a story without interrupting
- Separate from parents easily
Don’t freak out if your child has not mastered everything on this list. Most children need more time to develop these skills, and you need to know that this is developmentally appropriate. The most important thing is that they can do basic things like zipping their jacket or managing their restroom needs. Everything else will come in time.