Friday, July 26, 2013

Kindergarten Readiness



It seems like the summer break has just started, and yet schools are already starting to gear up to begin again, soon (public schools in my area will be starting up on August 7th!). My oldest daughter, Shari will be starting Kindergarten this year, and that got me to thinking about Kindergarten readiness.

This is something that most parents stress over, but actually very little is absolutely required of this age. Some of the basic include:

-Ability to listen for short periods without interrupting
-Ability to recognize authority
-Basic knowledge of shapes (at least circle, square, triangle)
-Potty trained (it is generally recognized that some kids this age have a tough time holding it for longer periods, many Kindergarten classrooms these days have a bathroom in the classroom)
-Speak understandably and in complete sentences (at least 5-6 words)
-Identify some alphabet letters
-Identify basic colors
-Count to 10
-Ability to sort small groups of objects based on size, shape, and color


This is a very basic list, because the skills required are very basic. Most children who are of an age for Kindergarten are going to meet most of these with no problem, and many surpass these. When my son started Kindergarten for instance, I was amazed by one child in his class who could already read big words like, ‘automobile.’ For those of you stressing, he was by far not the ‘norm’ and extremely advanced, so don’t feel  like your child is behind if they are not there yet!

By the end of Kindergarten, when you look back, you will be amazed at all the things your little one has learned in just the one year. Here is a short list of all the things they should be able to do by the end of the year:

-Recognize all letters of the alphabet (upper and lowercase) and know the sounds they make
-Recognize sight words and be able to read short sentences.
-Spell and write their first and last name
-Recognize (at least) 8 colors
-Be able to count to 20 (although many children will far surpass this)
-Do basic addition and subtraction problems with numbers 1-10
-Know their address and phone number
-Have the ability to pay attention for 15-20 minute stretches
-Cut along a line with scissors


Again, these are the very basic skills that Kindergarteners should know before they leave Kindergarten. Most children will know all this plus much more, and will be more than willing to share with everyone around them what they are learning! (If you aren’t already, you are going to be SO sick of hearing the ABC song!)

In Kindergarten, my son was pretty average academically, and he was able to read short sentences (I was constantly amazed at all the new words he was learning), he learned to count to 100, and he was doing basic math up to 10. He also learned his phone number, address, birthdate, write short sentences, and he was beginning to understand money concepts.

Part of my son’s success in Kindergarten was his wonderful teacher. I would highly suggest volunteering in your child’s classroom once a week for a couple of hours if at all possible. While I recognize the difficulty of this as younger children, work, or other business can get in the way, I found it to be a great way to stay in touch with my sons teachers and to be involved in what he was learning, and just to know what was going on in school generally. By volunteering, I knew who the other kids in his class were, and I was able to see for myself that my son was progressing as he should. I also had the satisfaction of knowing that I was being a help to my son and his teachers. Those teachers work hard, and they can use all the help they can get, with so many energetic little ones!


While I will be homeschooling my little Kindergartener this year, I know how stressful it can be to enter the unknown! If you are still wondering if your little one is ready, you can take this Readiness Test (It is on a homeschooling website, but it applies to all). You can also check out all of the Playing to Learn activities I have compiled here on the website!

Do you have a Kindergartener getting ready to start school soon?

27 comments:

  1. I am amazed every year at the things kids learn at such a young age. The things I learned in Kindergarten are now things they want kids to know before they start. My youngest is going into 7th grade and I miss the ABC song at this point. LOL

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  2. I am really excited about my little guy starting K this year, he can't wait to learn how to read and write. This should be a pretty exciting year! Thank for the great info!

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  3. Our oldest will start K5 this year and our youngest, K4. Crazy to think how fast they are growing!

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  4. I was amazed last year at what my daughter picked up in a year. Its an amazing time!

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  5. I can't wait for my daughter to go to school. She actually want to go to school now but she will just be turning two lol. Great article by the way. :)

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  6. My daughter will be ready for kindergarten in a couple of years but she's got her counting down good and we're working on abc's. It all goes so fast! Best of luck to your little kindergartner :)

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  7. My little guy is three, so we've got time... but it's nice to know that he's well on the way to kindergarten readiness. (Holding his bladder is no problem, but we're still very much in the midst of potty training.)

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  8. My youngest child just finished kindergarten and I agree with you completely that volunteering in the classroom is a great way to stay connected with your child and build a relationship with the teacher. My daughter was so proud that her mommy helped out.

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  9. My son is 2 and I'm planning to homeschool - I'm so glad to have found this list! I've wondered about the signs of readiness! Pinning so I can look back at this when we get closer to the start of school, thanks. :)

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  10. I love the somee quote! Great post.

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  11. My mom tells me all about the different signs of readiness - she is a Pre-K teacher and has to make sure the little ones are ready to move on to Kindergarten!

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  12. I am a preschool teacher and you hit the nail right on the head! It always amazes me how young children are actually more ready to learn than a lot of people think. I have had several I was working with on teaching to read at a young 5! Great post!

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  13. It was incredible to me how much my children were expected to know when they entered kindergarten last year including computer skills, following local news and taking photographs.

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  14. We somehow believe that kindergartners are too young to know anything of worth. But that list of things is a list we all should know.Especially the first two.

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  15. My daughter just finished kindergarten (she is my first of 3) I was shocked what they learned in pre school and kindergarten! I had no idea the reading and math she would be learning and did not prepare her for pre k as I should have. She had the BEST kindergarten teacher who really brought out the best in her so I am more comfortable with her going into 1st grade this year.

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  16. Kindergarten is such a fun year. It sets the foundation for all their years to come. I love watching my kids grow in this year, it's amazing to see how much they learn in one year.

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  17. Children are really alot smarter than what we think. They are also capable of learning alot more than we give them credit for.

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  18. We are moving to a new area & so my boys will be in a different school & my husband & I have seriously thought about homeschooling them. I had asked my boys' thoughts on it & they said they honestly would prefer going to school so they can make new friends, so that's what they'll be doing! I've done so much research on this new school it's not even funny. They have great ratings!

    It's amazing how much smarter kids are then we think!

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  19. It is so amazing everything they learn in kindergarten and in such a short period of time. My son just finished kindergarten and what he learned in the 1st 2 months just amazed me.

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  20. My daughter will be starting preschool this year. I appreciate this list - I feel like she has most of these skills so hopefully things will go well in September.

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  21. Oh wow..My 3 year old knows all of them and I was worried about her going into pre school and being behind! thanks this def made me feel better!

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  22. Thanks for the list. I was also worried about how much my LO needed to know. This actually calms my fears. Sometimes we parents worry too much. :)

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  23. Yeah, I met all of the qualifications! I can enter kindergarten. I admit that the first qualification was a killer, but I think I can listen for short periods of time without interrupting, but it may be hard. All kidding aside, thank you for this post. I know my 4 year old granddaughter can meet these qualifications now and that is a reflection on the love and time my daughter gives to her two kids. She is remarkable!

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    1. I think we can all have problems with that first one sometimes! ;)

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  24. i have two that will be starting kindergarten this year, between myself and the parents we are trying to do everything we can to get these two prepared, sometimes it seems like we have so much time and other times it just seems like there is no time LOLL if that makes sense hehe thanks for share @tisonlyme143

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    1. It can be tough! Just remember that wherever your little ones are when they start, you will be SHOCKED at how much they have learned by the end of the year!

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  25. Thank you so much for this post.
    I'm homeschooling my kindergartner and your list gave me an idea of what's required to be known by the end of Kindergarten year.
    They do learn so quickly at that age, it is amazing.
    Thank you again for sharing.

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