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When your child goes to Kindergarten it is one of the most anxious times in a parent’s life. There are a million questions that go through a parent’s mind.
Will my child like school? Will they like the teacher? Are they ready? Along with what should my child know before Kindergarten starts?
Kindergarten is such a small grade but it plays a huge roll in how well your child does throughout their school career.
Here is the quick checklist breakdown. Please read on after the list for more detailed information.
What Should My Child Know Before Kindergarten Checklist:
1. Understanding what Kindergarten is and what is expected of them
2. There will be many different types of adults and kids at school
3. Make sure your child knows that they will need to sit still and pay attention
4. Social Skills
5. Hold a writing utensil correctly
6. Write their name
7. Following 2-3 step instructions
8. Practice cutting skills
9. Know their colors
10. Identify upper and lower case letters
11. Count to 20
12. Write numbers 1-10
13. Work on their Site Words
14. Make sure your child knows how books work
15. Knowing the alphabet
16. Knowing the shapes
17. Recognizes rhyming works
18. Has an understanding of how to tie their shoes
Detailed-What Should My Child Know Before Kindergarten Checklist:
1. Explain to your child in detail what kindergarten or going to school will be like-
Talk to them about what is expected of them and make sure they understand that mommy and daddy can’t stay with them at school. When they understand what to expect their first day and yours will go much more smoothly.
To get them in the mood for Kindergarten, a great book to read to them before their first day of school is Kindergarten, Here I Come!
Click the link above for Amazon pricing.
2. There will be many different types of adults and kids at school-
When your child understands the many different types of personnel at schools such as the Principal, Teachers, lunch staff and guidance counselor along with what role they play will help your child understand how school works and in turn will boost their confidence. Also, prepare your child by explaining that there will be many different types of children at school too. Some kids will act differently and not follow the rules (explaining how do deal with children that make poor choices before they go to school will help them make better choices for themselves), some kids will be different in other ways such as they might have a disability or speak a different language and some will be their lifelong childhood friends down the road. The more your child is prepared for what they might see, hear or experience both good and bad during school will ultimately better prepare them for the amazing experience they call Kindergarten.
3. Make sure your child knows that they will need to sit still and pay attention–
For some this is a long shot but thankfully Kindergarten teachers are the best in the world at getting kids to learn kinetically ( while moving). Although, there will be situations that will require your child to sit and listen quietly like during circle time, read-alouds, instructions for new activities and safety procedures. When this is explained to them and better yet practiced with them it will make both your child’s and their teacher’s time in the classroom more enjoyable.
4. Social Skills-
Practicing with your child the art of waiting their turn, personal space, sharing and saying please and thank you before getting to school will make your child stand out and will impress the people around them. Most children have been exposed to this for quite some time but giving them a quick reminder course before Kindergarten can’t hurt.
5. Hold a writing utensil correctly–
If your child is struggling to hold a pencil or crayon correctly it can make it difficult to write their name or start other work. Practice this with your child as soon as possible.
To help your little one hold the pencil correctly try the Trainer Posture Correction Finger Grip for Kids! Sending them off correctly to Kindergarten will make a world of difference.
Click the link above for Amazon price.
6. Write their name-
Once your child is holding the pencil correctly having them write their name is great practice using letters and will be their first experience with putting letters together to form words.
7. Following 2-3 step instructions-
There will be many different new and exciting activities that your child will experience during Kindergarten. Many of them will start with basic instructions that will make the game or activity more successful if they are able to or have practiced in the past how to follow directions. Practicing with your child to listen first to the directions before starting the activity will help greatly both in the classroom and out.
8. Practice cutting skills-
Cutting skills are kind of like walking in the fact that people have a hard time remembering when they couldn’t do it. For many people, it was in Kindergarten. Cutting skills are not always easy for some children and the earlier a pair of (child approved) scissors are put in their hands the quicker they will be confident with cutting out all kinds of fun shapes and pictures.
A great way to help your future Kindergartener with their cutting skills is to help them practice using Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Pad and Kit.
9. Know their colors-
Practicing and helping your kindergartner learn the basic color will build a good foundation of learning. Early identification of colors helps to create a mental link between visual clues and words. Not only are colors important to your child’s cognitive growth but color words are some of the first words they use to describe the things they see in their world.
10. Identify upper and lower case letters-
While it might take some time for your child to be able to write upper and lower case letters and use them appropriately. It is a good idea for them to understand that there is a difference between upper and lower case letters. With a brief understanding of how they are used your child will be ready to tackle more difficult writing down the road.
Using the Smart Snacks Alpha Pops, will not only make upper and lower case learning fun but the popsicle shape can be used for other fun activities as well.
Click the link above for Amazon pricing.
11. Count to 20-
Learning to verbally count to 20 will help solidify the concepts that all math is based upon. According to one study, less than 10% of the studied Kindergartners were able to recite their numbers to 20. This was unfortunate as the study also reported that the children that could count to 2o had the highest math scores in 1st grade. This seems obvious but this just reinforces that the earlier they learn their foundational skills the easier it is for them to progress to more complicated aspects academically. From counting games to counting candy learning to count can be one of the easiest things to learn if practiced often and with fun in mind. For more ways to practice counting with your future Kindergarten click on our link 15 Math Websites For Kids (With Video Previews!)
12. Write numbers 1-10-
Math is the international language and learning to write the first ten numbers will get them one step closer to understanding that being fluent in this language will make their lives much more successful in the future.
13. Work on their Site Words-
Site words are words that are not easily decoded as they do not follow the normal phonemic principles that other words possess. The good news is that many of the kindergarten site works are short and easily memorized with a little practice. Practicing Site Words are an important strategy in helping children with dyslexia. To find our more strategies to help children with dyslexia click on the link on How To Help A Child With Dyslexia At Home.
14. Make sure your child knows how books work-
Being able to hold a book correctly and knowing how to turn the pages in the correct order/direction will help foster the love of reading necessary to create a successful reader. Helping them understand where the front and back of the book is as well as where the story begins is an important skill that will help boost their knowledge of literacy.
15. Knowing the alphabet-
The ABC’s are the foundation of all reading and writing. Combining letters to make their name, words and eventually sentences are milestones that occur faster when your child understands the concepts involved with the alphabet. When your child has mastered the alphabet they truly are in a position to accelerate to a higher understanding of language and learning.
The key is to make learning fun! The VTech Alphabet Apple is a fun way for your little one to master their letters before getting to Kindergarten.
16. Knowing the shapes-
The better a child understands the differences between the geometric shapes the better they will notice the difference in letters. This could make a difference in their writing and letter recognition. The better they understand shapes the quicker they will be ready to comprehend the principles of symmetry and spatial visualization that will occur in older grades. As Kindergartners familiarize themselves with the shapes they will be ready to recognize the characteristics that make up each shape and how they correlate in open spaces (fitting shapes in the corrected shaped holes) as well as helping with puzzles.
17. Recognizes rhyming works-
Rhyming words are a great way to help improve a child’s oral language. Being able to rhyme gives the child a way to categorize words into patterns and will improve their beginning letter recognition. Rhyming makes the child listen for sounds inside words which introduces the child to the basic idea that a word can be broken up into chunks or syllables. Eventually, this will lead the way to poetry, limericks, and other rhyming schemes.
18. Has an understanding of how to tie their shoes-
While it is not necessary for your Kindergartner to master the dreaded shoe tying but it is important that they try. The art of tying their own shoes is actually a bit deeper than just convenience. Going through the struggle of tying their shoes teaches them the important lesson that sometimes it takes a lot of work to learn something important and that is OK. Focusing on a goal intently and with consistency is one of the most important skills a child can learn and tying their shoes is one of the first ways this skill is accomplished. Plus, your child will be a godsend to their teacher when they can help their friends tie their shoes for them in line, on the playground, and during recess. When there are a thousand things going on having a helper who can tie shoes will be a huge help and there might even be a treasure box pick in your child’s future.
This checklist explains the most important factors to the question, what should my child know before kindergarten.
This information should help guide you through the process of preparing your child for their first days of school.
As a 3rd grade teacher, I have seen the power of a child that has been prepared for the academic principles that are associated with Kindergarten.
A child that is prepared transitions much easier to more difficult instruction and builds a more sturdy educational foundation.