Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Is your kid going to kindergarten? Here's what you can expect for the year to get him ready!
By Sasha Emmons



Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Expect real work. Kindergarten is what first grade was to you. Plain-old play has become “play-based learning.”

What he’ll be learning:

  • How to read!
  • How the calendar works
  • Why number 100 is important (Get ready for a 100th day of school celebration!)
  • Adding, subtracting, greater than/less than
  • Awareness of other people’s feelings

What you’ll love:

“By spring, most kids are reading more fluently and spelling more accurately, and that floors parents,” says Jeremy Brunaccioni, a kindergarten teacher in Conway, MA.

Don’t stress over...

Reading blues: Self-esteem issues can crop up when kids take longer than their classmates to learn to read. But it’s important not to rush them. “We need a child to be on autopilot with one level before moving on,” says Brunaccioni. Try starting with the basics. Help your child practice (and master!) writing letters. That skill will segue into reading. But don’t push too hard. You can take the pressure off by reading picture books or ones he has mostly memorized. You can also do most of the reading, letting him be in charge of articles like “the” and “an,” suggests Brunaccioni.

Accidents: Many 5-year-olds still aren’t in touch with their body cues—and with so much new going on, they just might be too busy to realize, hey, I have to pee (or poop). Try breaking the habit of waiting until the last minute to use the toilet. Tell him he must go to the bathroom as soon as he notices that he has to, not when he finishes what he’s doing. Set times for him to use the bathroom, like after breakfast and before lunch.

Plus: Read more on kindergarten skills, lessons, and readiness.

Find out what to expect in:

What to Expect by Grade
Cognitive Skills
Age 5
Age 4
Age 6
Child Development and Behavior
School Life