What Should Your Child Know Before Kindergarten?

If you have a child who will be attending kindergarten this fall, you’ve probably already gone through kindergarten registration and started thinking about other preparations you’ll need to make. I’ve been there twice, and it’s so surreal to think about your child being old enough to go to “real school”!

Of course, your child doesn’t need to be an academic genius before starting kindergarten, but here are 10 skills that are good to have before the first day:

  • How to write their first name: Knowing how to write both first and last names would be a plus, but if your child knows how to read and write just their first name, they’ll already be off to a great start.

  • How to identify (some) letters and sounds: Again, knowing the whole alphabet and the sounds each letter makes would be a bonus, but as long as they can recognize some of the letters and understand the concept of letters making sounds, this is a good first step.

  • How to tie their shoes. Teachers love it when kindergarteners already know how to tie their shoes. (Conversely, if your child doesn’t have this down before kindergarten, you can send them to school in shoes that don’t tie, just to make everyone’s life a little easier!)

  • How to count. Being able to count up to 20 or 30 would be helpful, but even knowing 1-10 is good.

  • How to use basic supplies like scissors, crayons, and glue.

  • Colors and shapes. These are simpler to learn than letters and sounds but sometimes we forget to review them! Double check to make sure your future kindergartener will know what the teacher is referring to when she mentions a triangle or the color gray.

  • Independence with using the restroom, washing hands, and putting on/taking off jackets.

  • Social skills like answering questions and verbalizing needs. This is a work in progress, especially for shy kids, but practice makes perfect. If your child is unfamiliar with a classroom setting, try attending some library storytimes so she can practice sitting with others and following directions.

  • Personal facts like first and last name, birthday, home address, and parents’ names and phone numbers.

  • Behaviors to report to an adult (inappropriate touch, violence, etc.) Teachers often emphasize that tattling is unwelcome in most cases, so make sure your child knows the difference between what should and shouldn’t be reported.

  • Kids mature so much during kindergarten, and it's rewarding to watch! We hope you and your child have a great year.


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