Your child is in preschool. He shows an interest in reading, interacts with other children, pays attention to the teacher and works on assigned activities. You are proud of him. But is he ready for Kindergarten?
The question is a common one, especially for parents of children approaching age five. This is the age when children typically become enrolled in Kindergarten. It can also be a time when parents start to worry, though. No parent wants to rush a child. But no parent wants a child to be left behind, either. Fortunately, there are some ways to determine whether your child is ready for Kindergarten.
- What does your child’s doctor say? Is your child physically ready to meet the requirements of Kindergarten? How are your child’s motor skills? Can your child hold a pencil, catch a ball and stand on one foot? How is your child’s speech? Has your child had any delays in development? These are all important aspects to consider, and your child’s pediatrician should be able to help you answer the questions.
- Can your child accomplish daily, necessary tasks? For example, can your child go to the bathroom without assistance? Can your child put on a coat? What about eating lunch independently? These are life skills children typically need in order to be able to function in a classroom setting. If you feel your child is weak in these areas, you can always practice at home.
- Can your child follow simple directions and/or two-step directions? For example, if you ask your child to drink her milk and then put her empty glass in the sink, will she? Can you picture your child getting a task such as coloring or gluing and completing the activity? If not, you may want to practice more at home. You can also consult with your child’s teacher to get an indication of how your child behaves in the classroom.
- Can your child speak in sentences of five or six words? Does your child speak with other children? Can your child ask for what she needs? Can your child retell a short, favorite story? These verbal skills are important. Remember, though, that language is always developing and what your child can say today might be different from what he can say tomorrow.
- Is your child able to recognize letters, colors and numbers? While it’s not necessary for a child to know how to read before entering Kindergarten, it helps for him or her to be able to identify the symbols that make up words. It is also useful to have your child be able to call colors by their correct names, especially because Kindergarten activities often integrate art and color. Numbers are incorporated into beginning math lessons designed to enhance numeric awareness. If you child cannot count, be sure to practice.
- Are you able to observe a Kindergarten class? If so, can you see your child functioning and happy in that environment? Would your child feel secure enough in the classroom? How do other children act in the classroom? (Keep in mind you will see a wide range of abilities and behaviors.)
The question of Kindergarten readiness is a complicated one. Fortunately, the decision is not one you have to make on your own, and you have the support of the Sparkles! family who work to help your child become prepared for Kindergarten. If you are wondering if your child is ready for Kindergarten, contact your child’s teacher and the staff. We will be happy to help you make this determination.