Information on Kindergarten Readiness

U.S. Department of Education

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

What is Kindergarten Readiness

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.


How Can I Tell if My Child is Ready?

Kindergarten Readiness Questions

  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:

  1. Can my child listen to instructions and then follow them? Children need these skills to function in class, to keep up with the teacher and with their peers.
  2. Are they able to put on their coat and go to the bathroom themselves? Children need to be somewhat self-sufficient by school age. 
  3. Can they recite the alphabet and count? Most kindergarten teachers assume that children have at least a rudimentary familiarity with the ABC’s and numbers though these subjects will be covered as part of the kindergarten curriculum.
  4. Can they hold a pencil? Cut with Scissors? They will need these fine motor skills to begin working on writing the alphabet and to keep up with classroom project.
  5. Does your child show interest in books? Do they try to “read” a book by telling a story based on the pictures? This is a sign that their language development is on a par with other kindergartners and that they are ready to start learning to read.
  6. Are they curious and receptive to learning new things? If a child’s curiosity is stronger than their fear of the unfamiliar, they will do well in school.
  7. Do they get along well with other kids? Do they share and know how to take turns? They will be interacting with other children all day, so your child’s social skills are particularly important for success in school.
  8. Can they work together with others as part of a group? The ability to put their needs second, to compromise and join in a consensus with other children, is also part of emotional competence.

Are they ready!

  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.