Is My Child Ready to Enter Kindergarten?

In the United States, the expectations of children who enter Kindergarten can vary from school to school. There are, however, some general social and educational guidelines about the skills children should develop by the time they start a Kindergarten program, which are listed below.

Social and Behavioral Skills

A child entering Kindergarten should know how to:

  • Follow classroom and school rules
  • Listen carefully and follow instructions
  • Concentrate on an activity and complete it
  • Demonstrate self-control
  • Respect other people's property, share, and take turns
  • Take care of belongings, use the bathroom, wash hands, and put things away by himself

Educational Skills

The educational skills and knowledge expected of a Kindergarten student at the beginning of the school year will depend on the kind of program offered by the school, and other criteria that students must meet before the end of the school year. Nevertheless, some general rules apply here as well.

A child entering Kindergarten should know how to:

  • Recognize and name the letters of the alphabet
  • Recognize letters in print that they see often, such as the letters in their name, in logos, or on signs
  • Understand that the words in books communicate meaning; be able to identify the different parts of the book, and know that words are read from left to write and top to bottom
  • Be able to notice and work with the sounds of language, such as rhymes, and know how to recognize words that start with the same sound
  • Use spoken language to: express thoughts and feelings, tell a story about experiences they have had, and learn more about themselves and their environment
  • Produce circles, lines, scribbles, and letters as part of their early writing skills
  • Recognize numbers and understand that numbers identify quantity, order, and measurement
  • Know how to recognize and manipulate basic shapes, and understand that shapes can be transformed into other shapes
  • Know how to hold and look at a book correctly, and be prepared for the early stages of learning how to read

It's very important to keep in mind that the responsibility for education in the U.S. is considered a mutual responsibility between the school and family. As a parent, your responsibilities include communicating with the school, keeping track of how your child is doing, and doing what you can to ensure your child's school success.

To learn more about this topic, read Kindergarten Readiness.

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