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What Should Every Child Know Prior to Entering Kindergarten

Updated on May 28, 2014

As a teacher one of the most common questions I hear on a yearly basis is “How do I know if my child is ready for Kindergarten and what should I be getting my child ready for?” Starting Kindergarten can be a very exciting time for both children and parents but it can also be a very stressful time too. Parents are unsure of what their children are supposed to know prior to entering kindergarten and no parent wants to be known as the parent who didn’t prepare their child for kindergarten. Kids can also become stressed about the beginning of a new stage in their life. In order to make the transition from either pre-school to kindergarten or from the home to kindergarten there are a few simple things you can do to help prepare your child for the obstacles he/she will face in kindergarten. Starting school should be a joyous occasion because you are going to begin to see incredible growth occurring within your child. Your child will begin learning things at a speed that will seem impossible to you. There are various social skills and educational skills that you can introduce to your child to encourage their success in Kindergarten.

Social Skills

There are a few social skills that should be in place by the time a child enters kindergarten. Students should know a few basic things and this will allow them to have an easier time in the classroom.

Students should:

  • Be able to use the restroom on their own, and wash their hands on their own

  • Be able to adjust their pants or clothes alone after using the restroom

  • Be able to sit and listen to a story for 10-15 minutes (a good way to practice this with children is by reading them stories daily and asking your child to sit and listen to the story without interrupting)

  • Be able to listen and follow directions

  • Be able to share toys and classroom materials with other children

  • Be able to be away for their parent for hours at a time

  • Be able to keep their hands and leg to their self

  • Be able to interact easily with at least one or more children

  • Be able to play well with others

  • Be able to feed their self and drink from a regular cup without the use of a straw


Literacy and Language

  • Children should be able to identify both upper and lower case letters. This does not mean being able to sing the ABC song but instead being able to look at various letters out of order and identifying them correctly.

  • Children may be able to write the upper and lower case letters of the alphabet. This is not a requirement but it will greatly help your child succeed in the classroom.

  • Children should know what sounds each letter makes for example m says /m/ and a says /a/ like in apple. Students should only be familiar with common sounds for consonants and short vowel sounds for vowels, not long vowels.

  • Children should be able to rhyme certain words for example cat rhymes with bat, dog rhymes with log. This skill is often very difficult for many children. If your child is having difficulty with this skill it will be vastly covered in kindergarten. There are various rhyming activities that you can play with your child such as word matching games and word association games.

  • Children should know the concepts of print such as where the cover of the book is located, reading left to right, tracking words with your finger or another object, and which page come first in a book.

  • Children may be able to retell a simple story in the correct sequence

  • Spell their first and last names using lower case and upper case letters.

Number Sense/Math Concepts

  • Children should know the names of basic shapes such as the rectangle, square, circle, triangle, diamond, and oval. Children should also be able to identify how many sides the shapes have.

  • Children should be able to count to 30

  • Children should be able to identify numbers up to 30 in any order

  • Children should be able to use their finger to count objects up to ten

  • Children should be able to identify the basic colors such as red, green, blue, purple, orange, green, yellow, brown, and black.

  • Children should understand positional/directional concepts (up/down, over/under, in/out, top/bottom, off/on, go/stop)

  • Students should show understanding of size and measurement (big/little, short/long, tall/short, slow/fast, empty/full, less/more)

  • Children may be able to sort objects based on their color, shape, or size.

  • Children may be able to recognize simple patterns such as square, circle, square, circle, etc…


Fine Motor Skills

  • Children should be familiar with how to use a pair of scissors and children should be able to cut on a straight line.

  • Children should be able to properly hold a pencil between their fingers as well as crayon. The correct pencil grip for a child is gripping the pencil with the pointer finger and thumb, resting on the middle finger.

  • Children should be able to bounce a ball, throw a ball towards a target, balance on one foot for 5 seconds, run, jump, climb, stack blocks, and use a glue stick correctly


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