As your child’s preschool years come to an end you are undoubtedly thinking about kindergarten. It is important to choose the right school environment for your child, as well as understanding the skills a child needs to be successful as they move into kindergarten.
A survey of kindergarten teachers revealed the top readiness skills that they look for in their incoming kindergarten learners.
Enthusiasm Toward Learning
Is your child eager to explore and discover? Does she ask questions, take initiative and demonstrate perseverance? Parents can encourage enthusiasm toward learning by modeling a positive approach to school.
Language skills are critical to school success. One of the most important things that parents can do is to talk with their children and provide them with a wide range of experiences. Children need a variety of background knowledge and the vocabulary to talk about this knowledge. Language skills are the most significant indicators of reading success.
The Ability to Listen
Listening is a key part of school behavior. Parents can encourage strong listening habits by reading to their children every day. As you read to your child pause and ask why and how questions, which will encourage good listening skills and develop critical thinking.
The Desire to be Independent
Simple tasks of independence are often done by parents because it is faster and easier, but fostering independence of everyday tasks will help your child with school success. Skills of independence include the following:
- Get coats on and off and hang them up, by themselves
- Follow simple two-step instructions
- Go to the bathroom and wash their hands
- Blow their nose and cover their mouth when they cough
- Fasten and unfasten simple buttons and snaps
- Eat neatly and pour into a cup
The Ability to Play Well with Others
Five year olds are by nature egocentric, but we can provide opportunities for them to learn to play well and fairly with others. Play dates are important as well as playing as a family. Modeling empathy will help your child learn to “read” their playmates and respond appropriately. Teaching children to use their words to solve a conflict is another helpful tool for school success.
Strong Fine and Gross motor skills
A child’s hands must be strong enough to master coloring, cutting and holding a pencil. Grip strength is determined by the small muscles in the hands and is developed through activities that require the child to pinch their fingers together. You can provide practice by having your child involved in crafts that require picking up small objects, like stringing Cheerios onto a pipe cleaner. Any activity, like using a spray bottle to cutting clay into small pieces, will help strengthen your child’s fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills include hopping, jumping, climbing stairs, skipping, etc. The best way to promote strong gross motor skills is through play! What could be more fun than to spend time in the backyard or at the park with your child? Keep watch to make sure that your child can successfully execute the basic gross motor skills expected of a kindergarten child.
Letter and number recognition
Children will be learning to read in kindergarten. It is important for your learner to recognize all of the letters of the alphabet and know numbers at least to 10. Most children will also enter kindergarten with the ability to produce the sound that most letters make.
A successful kindergarten experience starts with your child having the right tools. Once they have these tools in their toolbox, the sky is the limit!