Your preschooler is growing up – where did those early years go? Now your child is ready to start kindergarten, it is such an exciting and important time! Parents want their children to have a wonderful first experience at school.
There are so many new adventures and there is so much to learn — how to ride the school bus — meeting and making new friends — how to behave in a class of 25 students — enjoying music and art — how to find the right seat in your class — how to walk in line in the hall —and on and on! While teachers really do expect children to come to school knowing all these things, the first couple of weeks will be much easier to adjust to if the child has a good foundation of the basics.
Here are important milestones a child should master before attending kindergarten.
Getting Dressed and Using Restroom Without Assistance
Preschool may accept a child who isn’t completely potty trained yet, but kindergarten is a different story. Your child should be able to consistently make it to the restroom on time without assistance. Teachers may be able to provide some help from time to time, but most will expect that your child can manage it independently. The students must be able to handle their own pants , wipe themselves, and wash their own hands. It’s very important to start practicing at age 4.
Kindergartners need to be able to put on their own coats and shoes and button their own pants. If your child hasn’t mastered shoe tying at the beginning of the year, don’t worry! Keep practicing and use Velcro shoes (or something similar) for the time being.
Prep for Education Basics
- Ability to Follow Directions - It’s more important that a child demonstrate the ability to understand instructions through receptive communication. Of course, teaching your child the importance of consistent obedience is a much-appreciated classroom skill also.
- Scissors, Glue and Crayons - There’s a lot of coloring, cutting and pasting going on in kindergarten. Evaluate whether your child can perform simple tasks with their fine motor skills such as holding a pencil or cutting with scissors. The children who already know how to use their school supplies at the beginning of the year deserve a big gold star.
- Write Their Names - At the very minimum, a child should be able to write some form of their first name that is recognizable to the teacher.
- The Value of a Book - Not read it, but rather be able to locate the cover, hold it
the right direction, turn the pages, and locate the text. The one and only way
to teach this skill is to read to your child every single day. Read,
- Letters and Numbers - Children, who are entering kindergarten, should know many of the letters. They should be able to rote count through 10 and be able to count a set of objects with good one-to-one correspondence.
- Rhyme - Research that shows that children who have good rhyming awareness skills tend to become better readers. Play with rhyming words with your child. Sing nursery rhymes and rhyming songs. Read books that have rhymes.
At the kindergarten age, children should have more than just clear communication skills. Other people should be able to clearly hear and understand their speech or communication method. In addition, they should also be able to tell stories and relate experiences to the people around them. This skill grants them the ability to express needs to their teachers as well as to interact with their new peers.
Children who greet one another with a “Hello,” who ask their teachers for what they need, who negotiate well with peers, and who speak up for themselves will do well socially in kindergarten.
When’s the last time you noticed your child’s basic interactions with kids their own age? Their friendships won’t be perfect, but you should see some progress in the area of sharing and turn-taking. Social interactions are a huge component of kindergarten curriculum and experiences. Without these essential social skills, your child will have a difficult time adapting to the classroom experiences and making friends.
Separation anxiety is very common among children who are just beginning school. Kindergartners who are happy and comfortable in the school setting are off to a great start.
As you are watching your preschool child getting older and getting ready for kindergarten, T's Learning Center, the top-rated daycare facility in Jacksonville, Florida and surrounding areas, welcomes the opportunity to help your child make this important transition smoothly. We look forward to seeing your child's excitement as a new phase of growing up approaches.