Is your child ready for Kindergarten?
The thought of sending your little one off to their first day of school can be bittersweet. On one hand, you feel proud of them and are excited for their new adventure (and for some free time to yourself) and on the other hand, you might feel torn because your little one has grown up so fast and maybe you even fear that they aren't ready. What we can do to prepare ourselves for this day and relieve some of the stress is to teach your child the things they need to know before that day comes so that you have peace of mind knowing your child is totally ready to start kindergarten.
I'm fortunate in that many of my friends and family are Kindergarten teachers. I've asked them to share some skills and abilities children should have before starting Kindergarten.
35 Things Your Child Needs To Know Before Kindergarten
- They are cooperative
- Show interest in learning
- Play well with others
- Listen to authority (adults teachers etc)
- Can share toys/items with others
- Can speak clearly enough to understand
- Willing and helpful when it comes time to cleaning up after play or activities
- Able to participate in group activities
- Can listen to and follow direction
- Follows rules and routines
- Can easily transition between activities
- Uses words to resolve conflict
- Will ask for help when needed
- Can understand a sequence of events.
- Knows the alphabet
- Can identify and understands the difference between upper and lowercase letters
- Understands the difference between letters and numbers
- Can count to 20
- Can count items up to ten
- Can sort by numbers, letters, shapes, colours etc.
- Can recognize and name colours
- Can recognize and complete patterns
- Can identity measurement/size of objects. (big, medium, small)
- Identifies shapes
- Understands direction/position (up, down, under on, etc)
- Can bounce, throw and catch a ball
- Can skip
- Can hop both with two feet as well as on one foot
- Is able to properly hold a pencil, crayon and draw with it
- Can complete a puzzle
- Can hold and use scissors correctly
- Can copy/trace letters, shapes, lines, etc
- Can glue objects together
- Can stack blocks
- Can say and write their own name
How to teach your child these skills
Don't worry about your child mastering all of the things on this list. Though it will help them succeed, what is important is that your child is familiar with each skill and can attempt it on their own. The goal is to teach independence.
Find a curriculum
I am using a homeschooling curriculum to prepare my daughter for Kindergarten and she is loving it. If you would like to read more about our decision to homeschool her and how to get started read this post here. Finding the right curriculum can cut down on time preparing and planning lessons for your child. A great homeschooling curriculum like Habitat Schoolhouse already has lessons planned and prepared for you so you can just open the workbook and start teaching.
Socialize your child
A big part of Kindergarten is social. Your child is learning how to navigate friendships, deal with a classroom full of other kids as well as take instruction from a teacher. What you can do with your child is take them to parks and drop-in centres where they are exposed to other kids. If your child is in daycare they will have already started to develop this skill. We chose not to put our daughter in daycare so I have to make an extra effort to plan playdates and go to drop in classes so she is familiar with other children.
Develop fine motor skills
Before your child can write letters and cut out circles they need to have to develop those fine motor skills. With the right homeschool curriculum, this will be integrated into the lessons but if you're teaching him or her on your own there are a number of activities you can set up for your child. Things as simple as sorting objects and opening boxes or bins are a perfect way to tune those fine motor functions. Pinterest is a fantastic source for finding fun activities for toddlers.