Kindergarten Readiness: Color Me Obsessed

26 Jul

Kindergarten starts in 23 days.  Not that I’m nervous—ha!  To assuage my anxiety, I’ve done a fair amount of reading on how best to prepare my 5-year-old son for full-time school.  Back in the dark ages when I was a kid, I stayed home with my mom until that fateful first day.  And then I only went mornings so I was home for lunch and naptime.  My teacher (the aptly named Mrs. Love) was more surrogate mother than demanding instructor.  It’s no wonder I loved school.

Fast forward to an era when Kindergartners log 35 hours a week in the classroom—and then have homework!  I knew I had a lot to learn about current expectations.

I came upon this tip sheet from National Kindergarten Preparedness, a resource site for parents and professionals.

Ten Steps Parents Need to Take to Prepare Preschoolers for Kindergarten Success

In order for children to be prepared for Kindergarten, children should be capable of the following skills:

Strong Communication Skills

Children need to be able to communicate their needs, verbally, in class and also follow the process in order to communicate, such as raising a hand and waiting to be called on.  Children will also have to share in small groups.

Ability to Listen

Children will need to be able to be quiet and listen to the teacher throughout most of the day.  If children have not learned to sit still and listen to directions, the child will have an adjustment period.

Follow Directions

From the time children are very young, they learn to follow basic directions, but once they reach their preschool years, they will need to be able to listen to several step directions and then follow the steps.  This is a skill that is easily practiced at home and during play.  Following directions will allow children to finish their work, learn the proper steps to doing an activity and how to order things.

Work with Peers

Most Kindergarten classes have time during the day when children will work in small groups or at stations.  As an example, there may be several reading groups in the class and small groups of children may work at the computer station or on a science activity together.  Kids will need to be able to take turns, speak to other children, and be patient.

Work Independently

Throughout the day, kids will need to work independently to get specific work done.  This will require children to listen, follow directions, and ask questions if they are not sure how to proceed.  They need to be able to write, practice tracing, cut/paste, or even use the computer on their own.

Fine-Motor Skills (pencil grip, cutting skills, picking up small items)

Children will begin using pencils in Kindergarten and will need to be able to cut with scissors, pick up small objects for counting, and begin writing every day in class.  The more practice a child has had cutting, holding a pencil, marker, or crayon, drawing, and picking up small objects, prior to beginning Kindergarten, the stronger his/her fine-motor skills will be for the increase in writing and fine-motor tasks they will be asked to do each day.

Basic counting

Although counting to 10 or 20 is not required to enter Kindergarten, knowing how to do some basic counting and manipulating of number objects will set a child up to begin the school year more prepared.  A child does not have to know a lot, but some very basic math concepts is a good starting place.

Basic Number and Letter Recognition

Children should be able to recognize all or most of their letters and numbers and write their name.  Those children that know their letters and numbers when they begin Kindergarten will be able to move onto reading much sooner than children that begin the year with no letter or number recognition.

Basic Life Skills (put on and take off jacket/backpack, zip jacket, put on gloves, hang up items)

Children who go to Kindergarten being able to put away and take on and off their jackets, hats, gloves, and backpacks will be more independent.  Also, if the majority of the class is able to do these basic things, the teacher will have to spend less time on getting kids started in the morning and ready to leave in the afternoon and be able to spend more time on valuable teaching opportunities.

Basic Computer Skills

Most classrooms have computers available for students to use.  Children are beginning to use computers even as toddlers, so children going to Kindergarten with basic mouse skills already have a beneficial skill that will set them up for school success.

For additional tips plus worksheets and more, visit www.NationalKindergartenReadiness.com.

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2 Responses to “Kindergarten Readiness: Color Me Obsessed”

  1. Lori July 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    One more skill we had to work on the summer before kindergarten started: butt wiping! I wanted my daughter to be able to adequately wipe her rear!

    • Lisa July 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

      Us, too! It’s crazy when I hear my 5-year-old yell from the bathroom, “Mommy…. I’m dooooooone!”

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