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Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Is my child ready for kindergarten? You've probably asked yourself that question many times and have yet to come up with a solid, unwavering answer. Experts say no single factor determines whether or not your child is ready to take the leap into kindergarten. Instead, your child's development needs to be evaluated on several different levels.

Questions to Ponder about When to Start Kindergarten:

Does your child have the ability to think logically and speak clearly? Can your child follow simple instructions? Is your child developed enough socially to interact appropriately with peers and teachers? These are all questions that need to be considered as well as your child's physical development. Remember, your child doesn't have to excel in all these areas, that's why they're going to preschool in the first place. Oftentimes a child who excels mentally may be lacking physically or vice versa, but you do need to make sure they have some specific learned fundamentals to excel in kindergarten.

How to tell if your child is ready for kindergarten:

  • Can your child listen to and follow simple instructions? Children will need this skill to keep up in class. You can exercise listening skills by reading to your child.
  • Is your child somewhat independent? For example teachers look for students who can get their coats on and off, go to the bathroom and wash their hands, blow their nose and cover their mouth when they cough, eat neatly and pour into a cup.
  • Does your child posses strong motor skills? Can he/she hold a pencil and cut with scissors? Your child will use these skills in a classroom setting at least once a day.
  • Is your child excited to learn? If your child possesses an enthusiasm towards learning new and different things this is a good sign they will be successful in school.
  • Can your child count to 10 and recite most of the alphabet? Most kindergarten teachers assume incoming students can recognize most letters by sight, count to 10, identify numbers 1-5 and know some shapes and colors. Kindergarten teachers will usually take on the responsibility of teaching kids letter sounds and how to write but they like a basic foundation on which to work off of.
  • Does your child play well with others? You should begin to teach your child social skills such as sharing, compromising, problem solving and taking turns. They don't have to have these skills down pat, but they should know the basic fundamentals of them and how to use "their words."

Don't Evaluate Every Little Thing

Remember, your child doesn't have to excel at everything that's listed above. If you answered yes to most of the above questions then your child is probably ready to take on the challenge of kindergarten. If not, they may benefit from attending another year in preschool.