33 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

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Back in March, I shared a post called “71 Things a Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten” based entirely on an end-of-the-year assessment given in the Pre-K program where I student taught more than 6 years ago.  This post sparked a heated debate and there were a lot of strong opinions expressed in the comments.   Because of the questions and concerns from this post, I thought it would be helpful to create a checklist for parents with some things YOU can do to prepare your chil for kindergarten.  And the best part–no flashcards or drill-and-practice memorization!!!!  

 

These are simple, everyday things that you can do with your child for just a few minutes at a time to ensure that he/she is ready for school!   Just so that we are clear…if your child cannot do everything on this list, it does not mean that he/she is not ready for kindergarten!  

 

You are the parent and you must decide what you feel is best for your child.  Public schools are equipped with professional educators who will take your child where they are and help them grow and learn from there.  Although it would certainly make things easier for your child (as well as the teacher and the other children in the class), this is NOT a pass/fail kindergarten entrance exam!  This is just something that should guide what you do with your child prior to kindergarten.  

 

So here’s the list.  Print it out and hang it on your refrigerator, office, or wherever you can be reminded of the simple, easy ways you can help your child succeed.  :)  

 

Click to Download 33 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

 

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Thoughts?  Any tasks I should add or take away???        

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I just want to thank you for resources like this to be a support and guide to what we are doing in homeschooling during preschool, thank you!!

  2. Heather says

    I just want to say THANK YOU for all the work you put in to creative, clever, useful and well-thought-out resources to post! I have followed you from your blog’s beginnings and have referred so many friends and moms here. I appreciate you!

  3. Christina says

    Thanks so much for posting this fantastic list. I am a public school teacher and I am *stressed* thinking about my son (now 3yrs) going into the public school system. I was just explaining to my Mom the other day how much it’s all changed! I think having your resource will serve as a great reminder to keep the focus on connecting and having fun with my child. The rest will fall into place …. I hope.

  4. says

    Great list! I think this is a great resource. May I suggest adding something about asking questions to the social or language development category? I have found that a couple of my preschoolers have trouble asking me about the subject we are talking about. For example, I will ask one child, “Ask me a question about the picture, (or story, or shape).” Some children don’t understand what to do because they don’t know what a question is or are not used to asking about those kind of things. I think having the child come up with a question, also helps them make friends, concentrate on the task, and is great for creative play. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Magela says

    Hi Jenae,
    Thank you so much for putting this checklist together and sharing it. I tried following the link for correct pencil grip, but it gave me ‘”error”every time I tried. Can you please tell me another way to access that post? Thank you.

  6. Marina says

    LOVE THIS! Thank you so much for this post! My oldest son is starting kindergarten this fall so it came at the perfect time.

  7. says

    For some reason I can’t access this list…every time I click on it my internet shuts down:( Is there anyway you could email it to me?

  8. says

    I LOVE this post—thanks for sharing! As a mom to two little ones who want them prepared for kindergarten one day—this is very much appreciated!

  9. says

    Great stuff… I would add to visit dentist – FIRST TOOTH, FIRST VISIT! When children have a sore mouth, teeth they will not learn as easily. Also think about socialization – exposing your child to other children in a positive environment – perhaps a play group or a young children organized sport. Again! Great stuff. Thanks for taking the steps to educate your audience!

  10. Marge Wheeler says

    I’m sure someone already pointed this out but you have cutting with safe scissors twice. Thanks for the list it’s a great way to check where we are against where we can get to. Good to stretch ourselves a little.

  11. Stephanie says

    Thanks for the list and for NOT including “kids should know all their letters” to this list which is not age appropriate for preschoolers in the first place. This is something that is stressed so much around where I live and I find it to be too much pressure on the parents to try to keep up with everyone else. Moms and dads, it’s ok if your kids don’t know all their abs before they start kindergarten!

  12. Jill says

    What a great list! I would like to add something to the effect of encouraging singing along with children’s folk songs (twinkle twinkle, etc) alone and/or with recorded music. As a music teacher, I see many students that are not comfortable with a singing voice or that do not sing around the home and therefor struggle to find their own voice. In addition to the benefits of a music education in later years, learning this simple skill early on will allow them to benefit from singing as a form of expression from which to choose.

  13. Kat says

    It’s a great list…please add the colour grey because that’s the one colour lots of kinders struggle with.

  14. Dana J says

    This is fabulous! As a K Teacher myself, this is really right on for what would be helpful! My only suggestion for things to add would be to teach them how to open their ziplock sandwich bags, and practice eating lunch with them out of a lunchbox. Often times in full day programs kids are not used to this routine, so having lunch from a lunch box a few times at home and having to open it all by themselves is a great learning experience! :)

    • Charity says

      Dana…what a great suggestion! My 4 yr old quads go to school next year & I never would have thought about this!

  15. Megan says

    This is a great list!
    Kindergarteners need to know letter sounds. Practice those while reading.
    Also, they need to know there are times they don’t get the choice to say no or to do something else.
    One more: when a child is doing a paper activity, walk away so they can work independently

    :-D

  16. Tessa says

    Hi there! This is great – My first born is a three year old and we are in a learning rut! This list is a great resource!!

  17. says

    I just read both of your lists and these are age appropriate skills that 4 and 5 year olds should possess. The one comment I read that made me cringe was one that said if your child isn’t getting this at preschool, it’s either “just a daycare or a bad preschool”. As a director at a daycare center it can be difficult to convince parents – and sadly even other teachers sometimes – that daycare centers employee the same type of teacher that 1/2 day preschools do, and the education children receive in a daycare center is equivalent to what they receive at a preschool. That being said, the only thing I can see from that list that might be challenging for parents who keep their kids at home is teaching them how to try to resolve conflicts with other children. Children do not behave the same in a large group as they do at home! I think it’s great that you are sharing this assessment tool with parents!
    .

  18. Linda says

    Wow….this is great. Printing this off to hang on my fridge. My 4 year old starts his 2nd year of preschool in a week….this is great to see what needs work now…a year prior to him going into Kindergarten. Wonderful information. Thank you!

  19. brandie says

    Absolutely love the list!!! My son will start kindergarten in August, and with my hubby and I both working and unable to afford daycare, I am constantly thinking if he will be ready. I feel better in knowing that he is ALMOST there, thanks to your list…you rock!!!

  20. Araba says

    This is super helpful. My oldest son is 2 and a 1/2, so it is great to get a list of suggestions of simple activities and projects we can do with him in order to prepare him for a more formal educational setting. Thank you so much!

  21. heart says

    Thank you for the guide…this is a big help to all mother like me…my daugther is going to a preschool on june may godbless us…goodluck to all the parents..may godbless us all…

  22. Sarah says

    GREAT LIST! Would like to add more self care. 1 teacher with 20+ kids isnt able to put the straw in all their juice boxes or open everything in their lunches! Teach them to open packages of crackers and granola bars, open straws and put them in their drinks.
    Also have them practice eating quickly and then start adding distractions. Some kindergarteners have lots of trouble being very hungry the 1st few weeks because they have always eaten home alone with no distractions! They only get a few minutes in the lunch room!
    Also putting their own clothes on, socks, shoes, buttons, snaps, and zippers, hats and gloves! Getting their own coat, gloves, and hat on in the winter and how to hang all these things up when they come off is wonderful! It’s easy for mom to just do it because its fast and easy, but the class would never get outside if the teacher had to dress every child!
    Like I said, love the list!

  23. says

    Very helpful list Jenae! I have a toddler and we are already working on a few things. It’s the things like standing in line and waiting your turn that are good to be reminded of because he doesn’t have to do that at home. Thanks!

  24. Kerry says

    Thanks for this list. I have one mother who is putting a lot of pressure on her child. She is focussing on the academic areas and not realising other skills are important too. I also have a support teacher who is the same. I know this will be helpful.
    Dan, I agree that reading is important, but again, there are other skills that equal it. I have seen 3 year olds that can read, but they can’t eat solid food, dress themselves, interact with their peers or be independent. The parents focused so much on their children being advanced readers, that they neglected most other areas.

  25. Diana Wham says

    Dear Jenae, thank you so much for this website. It encourages me to see that I am on the right track with my kids by already doing these 33 things. I love your ideas for play- learning. My kids learn best by hands on teaching!

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