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Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Updated on April 10, 2018
Image from Pixabay, CCO
Image from Pixabay, CCO

One of the questions parents ask when their child reaches the age of 4 or 5 is "Is my child ready for kindergarten?" A child's age is still the most commonly used gauge to tell whether he is ready for Kindergarten or not. However, there are other factors that must be taken into consideration before he is enrolled in Kindergarten school. These factors are related to the new things that the child will encounter in Kindergarten like new peers, new authority figure, new surroundings, new routine.

Kindergarten Readiness Test

What Skills Does Your Child Need to Master?

Having gone through a formal preschool or nursery, though not the path taken by every child, is helpful in preparing the child for the next school level. Those who do actually displayed lesser stress behaviors when classes begin.

This is not to say though that a child who spent his preschool years at home with mom (as in a homeschool) is not as ready. My daughter was homeschooled until we enrolled her in formal school this year and she was accepted in Advanced Kindergarten.

Whether a child had formal preschool or homeschool, there are certain skills that he should have developed before he transitions to Kindergarten school. Note: Every child is different and may not perfect all the skills listed here. But on the average, these are the skills typical of Kindergarten kids.

Social Readiness

Ready to meet new friends

Is he ready for this social challenge? Practicing how to share things and interact at home with siblings and other children his age will be further extended in Kindergarten school. Ask:

  • Has he learned to share with other children?
  • Can he play cooperatively with them?
  • Does he know how to wait for his turn at playing games?
  • Does he know how to handle peer pressure?
  • Does he respect others when his likes or dislikes differ?
  • Is he ready to resolve conflicts with playmates when they occur?

Ready to deal with Teacher

The child will have a new authority figure to deal with - the teacher. Ask:

  • Has he developed a certain level of independence from his family or his primary caregiver?
  • Can he interact and communicate freely with new or unfamiliar people?
  • Does he respect authority figures placed over him other than his parents?
  • Can he follow classroom rules and procedures?

Tell The Kissing Hand story to your child before school begins

The Kissing Hand (The Kissing Hand Series)
The Kissing Hand (The Kissing Hand Series)
The Kissing Hand is a perfect story to tell your kids before going to school. It is about Chester Racoon who is starting school. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Racoon shares the secret of the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary.

Academic Readiness

Ready to listen, ready to learn, ready to speak

Enthusiasm in learning is one of the qualities that teachers find in children who become successful in school. It is also necessary that the child can listen to the teacher and pay attention to what she is saying. This is very important if he is to learn the tune and sounds in letters, words and numbers.

The ability to verbally communicate helps the child put into words what he is learning in school and the world around him. Research shows that good language skills is one of the best indicators of later reading success.


  • Is the child interested in learning new things?
  • Does he ask plenty of questions?
  • Is he willing to explore and discover?
  • Can the child sit still and keep his attention focused?
  • Can he follow simple instructions?
  • Does he possess basic academic knowledge such as familiarity with alphabets, numbers, colors, shapes, positions (up or down)?
  • Does he possess good language and communication skills?

Help Your Child Learn the Academic Skills He Needs

Physical Readiness

Ready with fine and gross motor skills

The child needs to develop the small muscles in his palms and hand to do fine motor tasks like coloring, cutting, pasting, and holding a pencil. These are tasks that they will do everyday in Kindergarten. He should also do well with gross motor skills like hopping, jumping, running, climbing, kicking and throwing. Without these skills, he will not be able to learn and play with his classmates.

Ready with self-help skills

The child needs to develop some self-help skills before entering Kindergarten. These include going to the bathroom and washing their hands; eating and drinking independently; taking on or off their coats and shoes; and blowing their nose and covering their mouth when they sneeze or cough. The child should have learned to do these things by himself at home before going to Kindergarten school. Learning to tie his shoes though is a skill usually learned by first grade.

A girl learning to tie her shoe. Image by Tory Byrne, Stock.xchng
A girl learning to tie her shoe. Image by Tory Byrne, Stock.xchng

Need help in teling your child how to tie a ribbon or shoe lace?

Emotional Readiness

Ready to separate

One common scenario in the early weeks of school is the crying of kids who are going to school for the first time. They are experiencing separation anxiety. Though it is natural for kids to feel this way, if they are ready emotionally, they will learn to adjust and overcome their apprehensions as the school progresses.

Ready to express their feelings

A child must learn to exercise self-control over his behavior. When he is mad at his classmate, he cannot just punch him. He should be able to express his feelings when he is happy, sad, angry or when he is feeling sick. Again, verbal communication plays a crucial role here. Research indicates that the ability to regulate one's behavior is significantly related to growth in both reading and math skills.

So, is your child ready for Kindergarten? You may want your child to take this Kindergarten Readiness assessment to see if he is ready. You can also visit the school where you intend to enroll your child earlier and request for an assessment of your child's readiness in their Kindergarten program. His success in school, as well as his like or dislike for school, depends on his Kindergarten readiness.

© 2010 Chin chin


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