Do you have a preschooler heading to kindergarten in September? Starting kindergarten is an exciting adventure for children and families. It’s a new beginning for learning, making friends, building confidence, and gaining independence. It’s also totally normal for both children and parents to be nervous and excited about starting kindergarten as well.
“Being ready for school doesn’t simply mean knowing letters and numbers,” explained Santa Monica-based Connections for Children Executive Director Patti Oblath. “Children need support in several domains including their social and emotional development, their physical abilities, their language and communications skills, as well as their early learning.”
Early childhood educators suggest the following Top 10 Things Children Will Need to Know for kindergarten readiness.
“Use the summer months to teach your child these skills to help ensure a happy and successful transition to kindergarten,” experts advise.
1 Communication: As children enter kindergarten they need to be able to communicate in understandable sentences with adults and other children.
2Expressing feelings and emotions: It is helpful for children to know how to express their needs and emotions. This, along with being able to manage their behavior when feeling frustrated, angry or sad, is an import step for school.
3Self-help skills: Self-care, such as getting dressed, buttoning, zipping and putting on shoes allows for independence. Children need to be able to wash their hands, feed themselves, blow their nose and use the toilet by themselves.
4Independence and cooperation: Children should be able to work and play both independently and in groups. This involves the skills of taking turns, sharing, helping others and resolving conflicts.
5A,B,Cs, and books: Knowing the alphabet, being able to write their first name and how to use a book are pre-learning skills for reading.
6123s, color and shapes: Counting out 10 objects correctly helps children to understand number concepts. Knowing their colors and shapes is another skill which is relevant.
7Small and large motor skills: Children should be able to do small motor activities such as using a pencil, crayon and paint brush along with large motor activities such as kicking a ball, climbing a ladder and hoping on one foot.
8Listening and following directions: Being able to listen and follow directions helps children to be able to focus, concentrate and participate.
9Daily schedule and healthy breakfast: Over the summer, develop a daily schedule including a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast. This regular routine prepares them to be fully ready to learn.
10Health checkups: Children should be up to date with doctors and dentist visits, immunizations along with vision and hearing screenings to support a healthy start to their kindergarten experience.
Parents and carers can find more information on kindergarten readiness at connectionsforchildern.org.