Kindergarten Readiness

Prior to kindergarten most children can ...

Play well with other children most of the time

What does this look like?  Your child can play with others on a regular basis without major disruptions occurring. 

What can I do?  If your child is in a preschool setting or day care, they are already interacting with other children on a regular basis, and you have probably been told if there is a concern. It may be a good idea to arrange frequent play dates so you can see how your child interacts with others.

An icon of an open book

Listen to a story for 10 to 15 minutes

What does this look like?  Your child will stay focused and pay attention while you read a picture book.

What can I do?  Read to your child every night for 10 to 15 minutes to develop listening skills and increase their vocabulary.

An icon of a speech bubble

Follow simple oral directions

What does this look like?  Your child can follow one- and two-step directions with no difficulty.

What can I do?  Practice giving simple directions at home. Example of a one-step direction: “Get your shoes.” Example of a two-step direction: “Get your shoes and put on your coat.”

An icon of the numerals 1, 2 and 3

Count 1 to 10

What does this look like?  Your child can orally count to 10.

What can I do?  Practice in the car or any time you have a few minutes alone. Count the stairs as you walk up or down.

Recognize numerals 1 to 10 in random order

What does this look like?  You can point to any number 1–10 and your child will tell you what it is.

What can I do?  Find picture books that relate to counting and enjoy them with your child. Take a deck of cards (numbers 2–10). Shuffle. Have your child pick a card and tell you the number.

An icon of a xylophone

Participate and cooperate in most structured group situations

What does this look like?  Your child is willing to join in during an activity and complies with group as well as individual instructions.

What can I do?  Have your child partake in activities with other children. Talk with your child about how to listen to and follow directions and encourage these behaviors.

icon of a hand waving

Easily separate from parents/guardians

What does this look like?  Your child can separate without any major problems. Your child’s attention can be redirected and will focus on something else during the time that they are separated from you.

What can I do?  If your child has always been at home, it would be a good idea to occasionally leave them with others while you go shopping, run errands, and such so that it won’t be traumatic for the child when it is time to separate from you at school. Have a discussion with your child about what to expect when you say goodbye to your child.

An icon of a clock

Readily transition to new activities

What does this look like?  Your child can demonstrate the ability to move from one activity to another as directed. For example, your child is playing a game but it is time to eat dinner. Your child will understand that it is time to stop playing and get ready to eat.

What can I do?  Begin by giving her/him advance notice (one or two minutes prior to the transition) that they will be moving on to a new activity. As your child gains a better understanding of this concept advance notice should no longer be needed. 

An icon of a nametag

Write and recognize first name

What does this look like?  Your child can correctly write their first name with all uppercase or beginning with an uppercase and followed by lowercase letters. Your child can pick out their nametag from a group of nametags.

What can I do?  Write your child’s name and have them copy the letters, eventually have them write their name without a model. Point out the letters in your child’s name, practice spelling it aloud, and notice the shape of the letters.

An icon of the letters A B and C

Identify most uppercase and many lowercase letters in random order

What does this look like?  You can point to any letter in any word and your child can tell you what it is.

What can I do?  When you are reading a book to your child, point to a letter on the page and ask your child what letter it is. You can also make or purchase alphabet flashcards. Have your child pull a letter from the deck and name it.

An icon of blocks

Independently do basic tasks

What does this look like?  Your child can help you select clothes for themselves and dress with no assistance with the exception of tying shoes. Your child can put away toys in the correct location without assistance.

What can I do? Have your child dress themselves every day. Have your child be responsible for putting away toys. Your child can use the bathroom independently.

An icon of scissors and a pencil

Use scissors and hold a pencil appropriately

What does this look like?  Your child can manipulate the scissors using the thumb up fingers down technique. When holding a pencil, your child uses the thumb to index grip. Your child can independently wash their hands with soap and water, zip and unzip their coats and backpack and open and close lunch containers.

What can I do?  Use shortened writing tools of 2 inches or less, like golf pencils, broken crayons or pieces of chalk.  This will build the strength and coordination of fingers for writing. 

For tips on developing a pencil grasp, please click here. For tips on scissors skills for beginners, please click here.

An icon of two people talking

Participate in a Conversation

What does it look like?  Your child can initiate a conversation and ask and answer questions to participate in a conversation.

What can I do?  Engage your child in conversation. Ask your child questions and encourage them to share their opinions and feelings and ask questions.  

An icon of the moon and musical note

Listen and Enjoy Rhymes

What does it look like?  Your child will enjoy listening to rhyming stories or songs and imitate the rhyme.

What can I do? Sing and read rhyming stories and songs and orally stress the rhyming words.

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