Kindergarten Readiness: Help Your Child Prepare

What is kindergarten readiness? What can you do to help your child have the best possible kindergarten experience?

According to the Mayo Clinic, kindergarten is the start of formal classroom education. Even for children who have been in a preschool or childcare setting, the transition is big. You might wonder — is your child ready?

Kindergarten readiness, or school readiness, is a term used by schools, policymakers and child development researchers. Definitions of readiness vary, and what readiness means may differ in individual schools.

Find out how kindergarten readiness is generally defined today and how you can help your child be prepared to start school.

School readiness isn’t easy to define. Typical development can vary significantly among children around the ages of 4 and 5. A child’s development in one skill doesn’t always translate to development in other areas of development.

However, there are milestones in childhood development that can help make the transition to the kindergarten classroom more successful. Children are likely to have some readiness in:

  • Demonstrating a curiosity or interest in learning new things
  • Being able to explore new things through their senses
  • Taking turns and cooperating with peers
  • Speaking with and listening to peers and adults
  • Following 1-2 step instructions
  • Communicating how they’re feeling
  • Empathizing with other children
  • Controlling impulses
  • Paying attention and being able to sit and listen for up to 15 or 20 minutes
  • Limiting disruptive behaviors

These skills develop over time, depending on the individual child’s abilities and experiences. As a result, school readiness might best be understood not as a single goal but as a process — providing early childhood experiences and an environment that prepares them to learn.

What is the parent’s role in school readiness? The parent’s role in preparing a child for school is to create a healthy, safe, supportive, and engaging environment throughout early childhood. This includes several strategies.

Reading aloud – Reading to your child can develop literacy. Benefits of reading aloud that promote school readiness include:

  • Understanding that printed words have meaning
  • Recognizing similar sounds, such as rhymes
  • Learning letter and sound associations
  • Increasing overall vocabulary
  • Understanding that stories have a beginning, middle, and end
  • Developing social and emotional skills
  • Learning numbers, shapes and colors

Encouraging play – Providing your child an opportunity to play and playing with your child is important for healthy child development. Benefits of play that promote school readiness include:

  • Improving physical health
  • Developing creativity and imagination
  • Developing social and emotional skills
  • Developing friendships
  • Learning to share and solve problems with other children
  • Learning to overcome challenges and be resilient
  • Exploring worries or fears in imaginative play

Formal and informal opportunities for early childhood learning experiences in your community can promote your child’s school readiness. Check out:

  • Preschool programs
  • Museums or zoos
  • City park or community programs
  • Neighborhood play groups
  • Story time at libraries or bookstores

Preparing for first day – To help your child prepare for the transition to kindergarten, start developing a daily routine a few WEEKS not days before school starts. Have your child wake up, eat and go to bed at the same times each day. Talk about your child’s new school and listen to any concerns your child expresses. If possible, visit the school. Reading books together about starting school can also help your child know what to expect.

We would love to help your child prepare for Kindergarten! Check out KCCC’s PreK programs and all we have to offer your child today!