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Preparing for Kindergarten

See what skills your child should have at the beginning — and by the end — of the school year.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Attention and Focus
Fine Motor Skills
Sharing
Independent Thinking

Kindergarten is an exciting time of exploration for your child. As her motor coordination increases, so too will her sense of independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence. As the year progresses, she’ll be expected to complete assignments with less outside help, accept more responsibilities, and follow rules more closely.
 
Skills Required at the Beginning of Kindergarten
You may want to review this list and see if there is anything else you would like to teach your child before those first days of school.

  • Identify some letters of the alphabet
  • Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly (with the thumb and forefinger supporting the tip)
  • Use scissors, glue, paint, and other art materials with relative ease
  • Write his first name using upper- and lowercase letters, if possible
  • Count to 10
  • Bounce a ball
  • Classify objects according to their size, shape, and quantity
  • Speak using complete sentences
  • Recognize some common sight words, like “stop”
  • Identify rhyming words
  • Repeat his full name, address, phone number, and birthday
  • Play independently or focus on one activity with a friend for up to ten minutes
  • Manage bathroom needs
  • Dress himself
  • Follow directions
  • Clean up after himself
  • Listen to a story without interrupting
  • Separate from parents easily

Don’t panic if your child hasn’t nailed everything on the list — she’ll learn a lot in kindergarten. What’s more important is to wean her from relying on you to do things she could do herself, such as zipping her jacket or tying her shoes. Give her the chance to show you what she can do for herself — you might be in for a few surprises!
 
Skills Acquired During Kindergarten
Although curriculums may vary from school to school, general goals focus on children building strong pre-reading skills, practicing letter formation, enhancing listening and communication skills, getting an introduction to basic math concepts, and acquiring an active interest in the world. Generally speaking, your child will be expected to:
 
Language Arts

  • Recognize and write all of the letters of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase forms
  • Write his first and last name
  • Learn sounds corresponding to vowels and consonants
  • Use initial consonant sounds and sound patterns to read words (for example, f + an = fan; r + an = ran)
  • Identify several sight words, including names of colors
  • Recognize and use rhyming words
  • Retell a story including details
  • Put events of a story in order
  • Write simple sentences using sight words and phonics skills

Listening and Communication

  • Listen attentively
  • Raise hands or wait to speak
  • Act on instruction and repeat spoken directions
  • Engage in question-and-answer dialogue with classmates and teachers
  • Work as a team on projects or problem-solving

Math

  • Sort and classify objects using one or more attributes
  • Recognize and write numbers to 30
  • Count orally by ones, five, and tens
  • Name ordinal numbers first through tenth
  • Add and subtract using manipulatives (Cheerios, candy, etc.)
  • Understand spatial relationships (top/bottom, near/far, ahead/behind)
  • Compare quantities by estimating, weighing, and measuring
  • Use graphs to gather information
  • Recognize patterns and shapes
  • Tell time to the nearest hour
  • Count coins
  • Recite the days of the week and months of the year

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