Each child develops in their own unique way, and at their own place. However, there are certain factors you can assess to determine if your child is ready for kindergarten. Here, the child development professionals at Celebree Learning Centers describe some key developmental characteristics of a kindergarten-ready child.
In most states, children must be five before September 1st of the calendar year they are to be enrolled in kindergarten. There are, however, many facets of a child’s development that impact the “readiness” level of a child for kindergarten. Parents have a huge, almost exclusive, impact on their child’s development prior to age five. Often, the most important considerations stem from whether a child is cognitively, socially, and physically ready for this critical step in their education.
How is kindergarten readiness defined?
Standard criteria to determine a child’s readiness for kindergarten are set by the State Education Department. Here are some of the basics:
- Is the child able to interact positively with other children and adults?
- Can the child perform simple tasks, such as washing hands and putting away toys, on their own?
- Do they think logically and speak clearly?
- Can they follow spoken directions?
- Are they able to use the bathroom alone?
- Are they curious and inquisitive about the world around them?
Some children may be advanced in one area and need additional development in another. This is typical for most children and should not prevent them from successfully entering kindergarten.
How does a parent know their child is ready for kindergarten?
If a child is enrolled in a preschool program, speaking to their teacher is one of the best ways to determine their readiness for kindergarten. A qualified preschool teacher should be giving parents regular progress reports for their child, and will provide helpful insight into their child’s development and growth. If a child is not enrolled in preschool, speaking to their pediatrician will give helpful insight into their physical and emotional development thus far.
How can parents help prepare their children for kindergarten?
Cognitive enrichment should not begin in kindergarten, rather, it needs to start in the home with the parents. There are many ways that parents can help shape their child into one ready and excited for kindergarten.
Read. Reading to children expands their vocabulary, helps them understand the world around them, fosters a sense of empathy and wonder, encourages them to ask questions, helps develop critical thinking skills, and promotes enthusiasm for further reading. Reading is often one of the most essential ways to influence development and prepare your child for kindergarten.
Maintain a regular schedule. Making sure children eat, sleep, and play on a regular schedule helps to ensure that they will be prepared to stick to schedules in kindergarten classes. This also promotes a sense of peace and confidence in children, improving their emotional capability for the next step in school, and provides a safe environment where children can develop a healthy sense of predictability.
Create learning experiences and promote socialization. Learning experiences can be found in even the simplest of activities. Joining parent/child activity groups, and taking children for outings with other parents and children will go a long way to ensuring a smooth transition into the social atmosphere of kindergarten.
Discuss kindergarten with children. Help your child get excited for kindergarten by showing enthusiasm for it. Tell them about what kindergarten will be like, and what they will get to do in class. If the school has a visitation day, have the child come along to get a taste of what their experience will be like. This will help lessen a child’s anxiety about entering this new phase of their life.
A well-cultivated preschool program is one of the best ways to prepare children for kindergarten. For more information regarding preschool programs, visit our website, or contact us today!