According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, traditional signs of readiness to start kindergarten include being able to:
· Communication About Things He/She Needs and Wants
· Shares and Takes Turns
· Is Curious and Enthusiastic About Trying New Activities
· Pays Attention and Sits Still
· Is Able to Utilize A Pencil and Paint Brushes
· Is Able to Count as High As 20
· Is Able to Recognize the Letters of The Alphabet
Experts say no single or simple factor determines whether a child is ready for kindergarten. Instead, a child’s development needs to be evaluated on several fronts.
A child’s ability to think logically, speak clearly, and interact well with other children and adults are all critically important to success in school. A child’s physical development also needs to be considered.
In reality, very few children are equally competent in all these areas. Many children who are advanced mentally may lag behind emotionally, while children who are extremely adept physically may be slower in terms of language development.
If your child is in preschool, talk to their teacher. The teacher will most likely have a good sense of their development and how they compare to other children who would be at their grade level.
If your child is not in preschool or you just want another opinion, check with your child’s doctor. Their doctor will know about your child’s physical development and can offer helpful feedback as to whether your child is ready.
You can also talk with family members and friends who know your child well. Pay particular attention to the comments of teachers, or those who have experience working with children in schools, whether as a staff person or a volunteer.
Visiting a kindergarten class in the school in which you plan to enroll your child can also give you invaluable information. As you stand in the back of the room, pay attention to how the other children are behaving, how they play with each other, and what kinds of skills they have. Can you picture your child sitting in one of those chairs and joining in an activity?
Ultimately, though, you know your child best! Think about what they are like when they play with others, and when they are alone in their room. Ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions and “sometimes” to the rest, your child is ready for kindergarten. If not, your child might benefit from another year of preschool, or from one of the transitional or pre-K classes now being offered by many private schools.