71 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten
Wondering what your child needs to know before starting school? This list includes 71 things your child needs to know before kindergarten!
What a Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten
Here is a list of kindergarten readiness skills based loosely upon a preschool inventory given to children at the very end of our local Pre-Kindergarten program. It was used as both a guiding document as well as an assessment at the end of the year. The original list includes 71 very specific objectives, but I have tried to narrow it down
Please keep in mind as you look over this list that kids learn best with hands-on experiences, not memorization or drill practice! These early years with our children should be about fostering a love to play, explore, and learn! Also, it is important to note that our children are all different and gifted in unique ways. Obviously, if your child has special needs, exceptionalism, or is delayed in a particular area, this won’t necessarily be relevant to your child. This is simply a guide…not something to stress about!
Finally, all areas of development are of equal importance to young children! Gross motor and social development tasks are just as important as cognitive and pre-reading tasks at this age. Also, it is important to note that there is no prerequisite (besides age) for children to go to public schools here in the United States. Although it would be ideal for each child to come into kindergarten already mastering these skills, this is obviously not the reality for many children. Schools are prepared to meet the needs of individual students, regardless of their current ability.
Have fun learning together through games and various experiences while still encouraging your child’s natural creativity!
What does your child really need to know before kindergarten?!?!
Despite the fact that I am sharing this exhaustive list, the two MOST IMPORTANT skills for your child before he/she begins kindergarten is a desire to learn and a respect for others. Obviously, these “skills” are also the most difficult to quantify or measure. But if you are raising your child to be curious and inquisitive of the world around him while also teaching him to obey authority and treat other children with kindness, the rest of this list is just a bonus!
Kindergarten Readiness: Personal and Social Development
- Shows an eagerness to learn and age-appropriate curiosity
- Persists in completing a task and is willing to ask for help if needed
- Exemplifies a pleasant and cooperative personality
- Follows rules and routines
- Manages transitions (going from one activity to the next)
- Demonstrates normal activity level
Interactions with Others
- Interacts easily with one or more children
- Interacts easily with familiar adults
- Participates in group activities
- Plays well with others
- Takes turns and shares
- Cleans up after play
- Seeks adult help when needed to resolve conflicts
- Uses words to resolve conflicts
Kindergarten Readiness: Language and Literacy
- Listens attentively to directions and conversations
- Follows one and two-step directions
- Speaks clearly and can be easily understood without the need for contextual clues
- Can sequence events in an oral conversation
Literature and Reading
- Listens with interest to stories read aloud
- Shows interest in reading-related activities
- Retells information from a story
- Uses pictures to communicate ideas
- Scribbles, draws shapes, or attempts to create letter-like symbols to write words or ideas
- Recites/sings alphabet
- Identifies upper-case letters
- Identifies lower-case letters
- Matches upper-case letters to the lower-case letter counterpart
Kindergarten Readiness: Mathematical Thinking
Patterns and Relationships
- Sorts by color, shape, and size
- Orders or seriates several objects on the basis of one attribute (i.e. “size”– small, medium, large)
- Recognizes simple patterns and duplicates them (i.e. circle, square, circle, square)
Number concept and operations
- Rote counts to 20
- Demonstrates one-to-one correspondence when counting 10 objects
- Matches oral numbers to their written numerals
- Identifies numerals 0-10
Geometry and spatial relations
- Identifies 4 shapes- circle, square, rectangle, triangle
- Demonstrates concepts of positional/directional concepts (up/down, over/under, in/out, behind/in front of, beside/between, top/bottom, inside/outside, above/below, high/low, right/left, off/on, first/last, far/near, go/stop).
- Shows understanding of and uses comparative words (big/little, large/small, short/long, tall/short, slow/fast, few/many, empty/full, less/more).
Kindergarten Readiness: Physical Development
- Pedals and steers a tricycle
- Jumps in place, landing on two feet
- Jumps consecutively- 7 jumps
- Balances on one foot for 5 seconds
- Hops on one foot 2-3 hops
- Hops on one foot- 6 ft.
- Throws a ball with direction- 5 ft.
- Catches a thrown ball with arms and body
- Climbs a playground ladder
- Skips smoothly for 20 feet
- Stacks 10 small blocks
- Strings large beads
- Completes a seven-piece interlocking puzzle
- Makes a pancake, snake, and ball from playdough
- Grasps pencil correctly (i.e. proper pencil grip)
- Copies: vertical line, horizontal line, circle, cross, square, V, triangle
- Prints first name
- Grasps scissors correctly
- Cuts within 1/4″ of a straight line
- Cuts out a small square, triangle, and circle
- Uses a glue stick appropriately
- Uses appropriate amount of glue for tasks
Kindergarten Readiness: The Arts
- Identifies 10 colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, black, white, brown, pink
- Uses a variety of art materials for tactile experience and exploration (paint, crayons, markers, clay, etc)
- Enjoys singing
- Dances like no one is watching :)
- Makes believe with objects
- Takes on pretend roles and situations
Remember parents, this list is just a guide.
If you’re looking for some suggestions on practical things you can do to prepare your child for Kindergarten, check out 33 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten.
You can download and print a list with simple, easy activities that will help to ensure your child is ready!
If this feels overwhelming…
Getting ready for Kindergarten is a simple resource that will show you step by step how to have your child kindergarten ready, whether you are a first time parent, a carer or home school.
Click on the pic below to get your copy now…
This article was first published March 2012. Updated 2019.
I think that’s a lot for a kindergartner!
As a teacher, I can say that this is pretty accurate for what we expect students to come to kindergarten knowing. It makes me sad when students arrive on the first day of school and they have not had any prior education. I don’t think preschool is necessary, but some parents don’t even read with their children or count with them or color with them. By doing these little things, children can be prepared for their first year of school.
Try being on the parent’s end and realizing at Kindergarten orientation day that your child may not know everything they need to know for kindergarten because you had no idea what they did need to know and you heard that preschool doesn’t prepare them for kindergarten. It’s very embarrassing to go in there and find out that there are things they should know but you thought that was what they were going to Kindergarten for, was to learn those things. :(
My son is 3 and he does all but 10 or so of the items above. I know all children are different and develop at a different rate, but if you spend time with your child every day, read them a story, play with them, and expose them to different environments, they inevitably pick things up. Those little buggers are like knowledge-hungry sponges after all. :)
Also, if you send your child to preschool, they more than likely do have a curriculum to prepare the kids for Kindergarten. If there is no curriculum, it is either just a daycare or a bad preschool…
Well said .. at the end of the day it’s up to us parents to ensure we spend time and teach our children.
Yes, and my twin 3 year-olds too, also have almost all of those skills down. with no pre-school. Parents can learn how to educate their pre-K children through “montessori at home” youtube videos, and library books, and Kumon work books for ages 2-5, and getting play dough or clay for them and beads for stringing, and markers and paper, and reading and counting with them, and doing puzzles and talking about shapes and sizes and locations. Of course, all kids are different, and have different attention spans and strengths. Also, dance with them, sing and play music with them, recite nursery rhymes to them, teach them to climb ladders and build with blocks and ride a tricycle or bicycle, ski, skate, swim, hop, skip, jump. Teach them how to and have them crack the eggs for breakfast, wash dishes, sweep the floor, wash the table, wash their face and hands, comb/brush their hair while looking in the mirror, put away toys, set the table, pour their own milk or juice or water. It’s all so fun and easy, given enough time, for them to learn. If you don’t know how, read 20 pages or so from each of several different books.
Even just a running commentary on your day can help teach these simple tasks. IE. “You have 4 dogs on your shirt, would you like to wear the green pants or the red ones, the cup is a circle, we are going to the grocery store. People look at me like I’m nuts when I point out all of these things to my 2 month old son but my sister-in-law did it with my nephew from birth and he does most of that list at 2 years old.
As a teacher myself, I know that the biggest complaint that our Kindergarten teacher had was the kids that showed up to school with lace-up shoes but couldn’t tie them. If you have not taught your child to tie their own shoes yet, get them velcro for school!
Lisa, I did the same thing. People would either look at me all crazy-like, or tell me how wonderful it was when I would tell my newborn in the store that “We like orange carrots because they have good vitamins. We also eat these round red apples. Mommy is going to buy 1…, 2.., 3 apples!” He is 2 now, and helps me shop. He is reading some words already, talks a blue streak, knows alphabet, colors, shapes, and can count items up to 20. We have also let him make a lot of choices from as soon as he could show preferences – all of his snacks and bowls are reachable, and he chooses what he wants, sometimes at odd times, but it is almost always a good choice and acceptable time. He has chores too (he is in charge of closing all the doors, starting the washer, and feeding the dog), and he helps to put the shoes away :). Why some people just drift through those first years confuses me. I had plenty of people tell me to stop doing those things because “He will learn all that stuff you are traeching him in school. You don’t want him to be bored in school.” Hogwash. They are capable of whatever we allow them to be capable of.
My son can do almost all of those things except a lot of the motor skills stuff. He is just not physically capable of all that yet.
Well Dana, I guess you can just reply “well, if he’s bored at school, I guess they can just skip him ahead to the next grade” ;-)
I am also confused as to why many parents don’t do these things with their children. My son exceeds all the requirements on this list and he’s only 2. While I understand that all kids are different, I believe that they’re capable of way more than what most parents give them credit for. Not right. Why not teach them to their full potential? They will absolutely not be bored in Kindergarden because if they will probably be placed in gifted classes if they qualify. Keep up the good work!
Val…you are doing great. As a PreK teacher with more than 16 years of experience, I can tell you, you can never start too early when it comes to enriching your child’s life. You are doing it all right…hand-on learning in his environment, not flashcards or worksheets. He will not be bored. It only takes a teacher a few minutes with a student to tell how much has been put into him or her. A parent is a child’s first teacher and from my experiences, children who have been taught creatively are more attentive in class, have more confidence, are problem solvers, and become leaders to their peers. Keep up the good work.
I completely agree. It would take me hours to shop because I was educating my little one as early as possible! People would say I should let her be a child – really? It’s the most fundamentally highest absorbtion period a child can have between 0 and 6! Its a travesty some parents just let them drift around – I see babies all the time coming into my office and the mom’s have them strapped down and ask why their 1yr old can’t walk yet! Well, let them try for pete’s sake!
Dana, I am with you. I did not allow baby talk with my son and he was ready for school at 2 also. Some parents do not understand that the education starts at home with us. Prime example…My 4year old step son came for the summer and I in shock by how far behind he was for his age. He was able to recite 24 of Alphabets and count to 10 only. In 2 months he can now recite and recognize all 26, count to 25 and know 17 sight words and 2nd level shapes like crescent & octagon. I say all this to show, that all it took was me taking the time to teach him with a $5 trip to the dollar store and reward stickers. We are the 1st teachers and once they enter school we should reinforce what is being taught at school. I also work a full-time job and training for a 1/2 marathon and still made time.
Knowing how to tie their own shoes or wearing velcro shoes is an excellent suggestion! I’m a former Kindergarten teacher’s aide and we spent SO much time tying shoes!!
You teachers want them to know everything by the time they start Kindergarten, what exactly is left for you to do? Our tax dollars at work again. Maybe they can plan your curriculum for you too. My three year old twin grandchildren know 99%of the above already because I watch them everyday, ALL DAY, and it is not easy to educate them as I am not a trained teacher. Also, let me tell you these things were NOT requirements when my daughter started school and she was taught many of the above “requirements” in Kindergarten, and she did very well in school and college. I think its a bit over the top to put so much pressure on parents and caretakers. It takes more than a few evenings after work. I work with them 7 hours a day trying to accomplish items on the list shown above. I feel they barely have a chance to be just kids.
So sorry you get posts like the one above by boops. There is nothing wrong with parents teaching their kids the basics. It’s ridiculous, absolutely RIDICULOUS that any parent would oppose this and justify it by saying that they don’t want their tax dollars to go to waste by teaching their children. How sad!!!
The above reply by Boops is why teachers get so frustrated. I am a teacher/reading specialist and things have changed greatly since her child was in kindergarten. We are required to teach so many things at such lower levels that children must learn to read in Kdg or be behind when they are in first grade. That creates problems for them that last sometimes all the way through school. It is absolutely a job for both parents and educators. We must remember that parents are the first teacher that a child has and as such it is imperative that they work with the school to ensure a successful educational career.
I also honestly think children can know much more than the list above if allowed to learn. They are born with insatiable curiosity; so if you let them drift, they’ll learn alright – stuff you have to break them of later. Taking a hand in their development will slingshot them past the seemingly long list above. It’s a minute-by-minute labor of love. Never give up, Never surrender!
Seriously, after that nice post about how many cool things parents can do, you then say that teachers can’t help tie shoes? Hey, in my kindergarten days that was one of the things to be taught in kindergarten. I hate teachers that want parents to do all the work and then bring their kids in with velcro. If their shoelaces aren’t tied, they should be practicing in school just like they also should at home. It is very normal for a kindergartener to be learning shoe tieing when they’re 5 and 6. It’s not one of those skills that can easily be taught beforehand.
That is because in your day, kindergarteners were not expected to read by Christmas! It is not the teachers who make up this stuff. Teachers have common core standards to meet. We can spend all day teaching how to tie shoes or teach your children to read! There is so much more that teachers are expected to teach. If you think it is easy I challenge you to come to a kindergarten class room and teach!!!! I agree kindergarteners need to know a lot, but you can thank administration and government for this. They want to fire teachers whose students who do not perform well on tests. Really teaching your child to tie their shoes is too much! Maybe we should potty train them too!
Kinder is no longer what it used to be….it is definitely a different time and different expectations. This list is not what kinder teaches, this is what the kids need at a minimum to begin kinder….it is a starting point, kinder has a checklist and in order for them to go to 1ST, they need to master this checklist, kids that are not mentally prepared for school start off already behind and being so small they stress very much when a teacher asks them to do something and can’t. They cry and have anxieties because of this…..Teachers are accountable for helping the kids master what they need to know by the time they END kinder. Yes people reality check kinder is way more rigorous than it used to be….and even tying a shoe is a luxury…and if there are 20 kids with untied shoes….You either teach or tie shoes, and that is precious minutes teachers can’t afford to give, the day and lessons are back to back with no wiggle room…. believe it…. and if someone has an objection to this…talk to your state rep in education cause they are the ones doing this…..Teachers just try to do what they love, meet the standards, keep their jobs, explain this to parents every day, and smile……isn’t life wonderful….no other person in any job has all this pressure….and still smile!
I am sooooo glad I sent my daughter to daycare while I ran my business from home for the first two years. While she can do most of the things on this list as well, as a parent I would have never known to teach them to her…needless to say I have a master’s degree and attended law school. It’s interesting to hear how verbal teachers are about this topic. I hope my child doesn’t end up with such a teacher. I am almost certain that these feelings would show up in the classroom one way or another.
I taught my kid to tye her shoes at 4..it took a day. Now she ties everything into bows – she’s 5 and a half. Your child can learn what you want to teach them…
Teachers are NEVER the enemy. I have no idea when people decided we were, but it’s completely illogical. We want the best for your kids, but we NEED your help! I encourage you to attend any of your kid’s classes, particularly in elementary school, so you can actually view what we are doing and what your kid CAN do. We abide by standards, common core, testing- etc and our time with your children is PRECIOUS. You give us your best and we want to be magical with it. The absolute best teaching and instruction is done through cooperation. These are great suggestions for knowledge- is it an absolute? depends on the district.
Lisa, I agree with everything you just said. Simple interaction and explaining and pointing out things throughout the day is all it takes. And I agree with the shoe thing as well! To me, that’s just common sense!
I agree with most of what you say. I have a grandson that will be 4 around the end if July. He does all but about 5 of the 71.
But the part of wearing Velcro, well that’s another story. He has big feet. And a lot of his size shoes are not Velcro. Yes, I know I can teach him. But to teach a 3-4 year old to tie his shoes is going to be a chore. Another big chore is teaching him to wipe his butt. He has been potty trained for 2 years+. We have always used wipes on him. Now I’m going to have to teach him to use toilet paper without using the whole role and getting his butt clean.
Tell this is quite a bit for a grandma!!! Lol
Donna – you said teaching your grandchild to tie shoelaces will be a chore for you. If the shoe was on the other foot (pun intended) would you prefer a highly trained professional to teacher another child to tie their shoelace, or would you prefer them to teach your child/grandchild skills/knowledge/tasks that you are unable to? What if there are 15 kids in the class that can’t tie their shoelaces? I teach high school, 13-16 year olds, and you would be stunned by the number of students that are unable to look at a clock and tell the time!
I agree with you! Start early! My daughter started reading to her son right out of the hospital. I continued to read to him and simply talk to him about everything going on in the day when I cared for him while she worked. He started kindergarten reading at a second grade level!
It was nothing special that we did, simply that we were consistent and intentional. Just reading every day is important and really means a lot!
By the way, he never went to preschool at all!
my son who is only 2.5 years of age also have developed most of the skills on the list.As parents we can do a lot just by spending some quality time with them.
by the way can you please tell me where i can get hold of kumon workbooks for 2-5 years old?
You can get them at Barnes and Noble.
Also, for any moms that don’t have a lot of extra money (not that the kumon books are expensive, they’re not) they have pre-k trainer books at the dollar stores.
You can find plenty of free printable books for any level reader online. Most public libraries allow you to print for a few cents per page. Even cheaper than the dollar store and I have used them with my preschool classes.
1 Never rely on someone else to teach your kids alone because classrooms have one teacher to many students. You want to see them succeed more then these teachers. 2 You are all obviously responsible for children but your behavior towards one another leaves a lot to be desired. The pressure is up for learning because we are competing with other countries who teach their kids nonstop. I got custody of my 3 year old granddaughter 4 months ago and she just started learning these things with me and can do 97% all ready and my 19 month old can maybe do half. I use every opportunity wether playing in the tub, asking the shapes and colors or with legos etc. I use youtube to have educational videos that teach with song Time, ABC and their sounds as well as different words with them, opposites, colors, reading, counting, sign language and Spanish. Plenty more we do. It is interactive, fun and it gives them time with me while learning and they have fun doing it. I sit my grand baby on my lap and have her read to me. I made flash cards with her name the alphabet, colors numbers and shapes as well as small words. I hung a mess of them on the wall and we go through an hour of this every day and they get a sticker for it. Again we do it in everything like painting pine cones, talking like B for Belly Button I am going get your bbbbbelly button. These our our kids and our responsability. If they get bored in school challenge them at home. You are your childs number one teacher, you are the one they learn from better because they are with you more and you know them better, can do 1 on 1 and you love them
Plus you’re developing your relationship with them with every minute spent helping them learn! Good Luck! :)
You can also get them at Sams Club Its huge book and has everything that this article list. They have them all the way up to 8th grade and have been approved.
I agree. Since the day she could sit up and look around in the shopping carts. I point to stuff around the grocery store and ask her…what’s this? what color is it? How many and I putting in the bag? I read her a book every night before she goes to bed. For drawing…we have one of those doodle pads so she doesn’t waste paper….but she still has her coloring books and crayons too! She also has one of those barbie laptops made for kids under 7 years old that has her go over shapes, colors, numbers, words, letters, etc as well as a handheld gaming device by V-tech that does the same thing! When I shop for educational material. I don’t look at the age limit…I think we limit our kids when we go by that! The previous comment above is right…they are lil sponges…even when we watch Dora or other cartoons together…she will repeat words back together and I encourage her to participate in anything and everything. We also cook diffent dishes from around the world and I read her lil things about the dish and the country. She’s been cleaning her own room since I can remember. Her daycares are always impressed with how polite she is and how much she knows and is willing to learn…Okay, enough about my daughter! lol Sorry I’ve very proud of her, but the point I was getting at is. Kids love to learn because they are so curious…weather they learn from leggos, to educational toys, to books, to outtings with the family….make everything fun and a learning experience. It will naturally come to the little ones…if it doesn’t…find other ways to make it more fun and it will eventually come. ;-)
Kumon is a excellent program my son is 9 and he is doing great in Math. He has been in Kumon for about 2 years. He is a grade ahead in Math
WOW! You’re are a great parent. Cudos to you. Amen to all you your coments.
Yeah, my 2 year old can do much of those (knows letters, matches, shapes, numbers, etc), I can’t imagine the majority of children with proper exposure to books and being listened to and talked to at home, would have a hard time knowing these concepts prior to kindergarten. Very accurate list, I agree!
I am the director and Lead teacher at a Pre-School and yes we do more then just play. So I agree with your statement, if they don’t it’s just a bad Pre-school…..
I agree that these are all great things to expose your children to. Being a kindergarten teacher it is amazing to see the students that come in not being able to tell you the alphabet song. It seems like their parents just sit them in front of a tv and expect them to succeed in school. Even shows like Dora teaches the alphabet. If they know all their letters that is a huge benefit they have coming into kindergarten! :)
I have a In home childcare Center I really work with my kids that I keep. Usually In home care is more laid back. I really work with my kids. My toddlers can count to five.
They also know how to stack blocks. I sing to them a lot and we listen to music and dance. My three preschoolers are writing their names, they also know all their colors,know their letters ,and shapes.
As a mom who’s kindergartner was OVER prepared for kindergarten, I think that my daughter was bored in class a lot because she was so far advanced. She really just picks things up quicker than other kids and is on her summer break and works in 3rd grade workbooks easily. If your kids do not go to daycare/pre-k at least hire a tutor. Our kids are nannied by someone that is going to school to be a kindergarten teacher and that helped us in she was learning new things in school then testing them on the kids later. My 3 year old and 2 year old are a little behind where she was at that age but still sing their ABC’s and are able to count to 20 and 50…
Melissa…yes go right ahead and assume that if a child does not know the alphabet that the parent MUST sit them infront of the tv all day long. Keep assuming you snob
I imagine some kids know it but get anxiety being in school.
I think it’s silly how comparing people are for one child to the next, even if in the same level of supposed need for education. My daughter was NOT very receptive at home with me in the beginning. It took a lot of continuous effort to get her to snap into recognizing that I was teaching and helping her. I dont know whether it be that she was bored, or uninterested, maybe not ready, but she would not pay attention very well. I would go over color flashcards with her, and we would identify the color red, in several differnt ways, then I would go back to the original card, show the red circle and the word red and ask what color it was… She would say brown, yellow… just mess around truly. She went into preschool, and I think that helped quite a bit. I can have her write her name one day, and spell it for me, and the next day, she can say I dont know how… just like that. It’s frustrating sometimes, but I keep at it. We do flashcards to identify the lower and upper case letters, and she has understandable problems with the little b and d, and the u and n, backwards you know. i and l. but the rest is pretty good. I am preparing her at home for kindergarten. She can do colors, I can ask her to find something red or blue and she will do it, and I’m working on having her Describe things, instead of point and say “that right there”, ok what is it, what does it look like…. this helps with touching at the store, if she sees something I ask her to tell me about it, dont touch. Days of the week is another thing we work on, and i want her to have a sense of time before kindergarten too… knowing morning, afternoon, early evening and such. She is kind of stubborn, she knows how to do so many things, yet its almost a matter of when and if she feels like it at the time when you ask her to. She still throws a fit some days to put on her own clothes, even though she knows darn well how to. That’s frustrating somedays. She can pour her own juice, help dish her own food items for dinner, open packages, use tape, glue, scissors and cut along lines and outlined shapes or images. She can follow steps, such as now glue the pink circles to the black x’s or things like that she can follow with some guidance if she is not paying attention as well as she should be. she can count to 30 when i point to the numbers for her, and I made a game at home, with to stick the words of colors with the colors.. and the numbers with the words of numbers. I am not wanting to over do it, but I know she is full of potential and needs to stretch all she can with opening up to learning and having fun with it.
I worked in daycare for 6+ years and yes for the 2-4 year olds that I taught, we had a curriculum. Age appropriate of course.
I agree, my sone will be 3 tomorrow and also can do all but maybe 10 of these items. My husband and I work weird hours, I am a nurse and he is Firefighter so we are able to spend quite a bit of time with our son and we teach him things all the time. In fact my husband has a Bachelors in Childhood Education so he is constantly working with him. Also he goes to daycare 3 days a week and they have preschool there starting at age 2 that is based off the local school systems curriculum.
even my sons daycare had a curriculum. I think any larger one should . the only time I can thin kthat you migth not have a “learning” envornment is at a small home daycare where it is jsut a babysitter type situation. but even then they learn through play. We sing counting songs while driving my oldest to school etc. It just takes a bit of fore thought. I agree even as a 1st time parent and a full time working mommy I still made time to read and do other activites that fostered learning. I think to say you just didnt know they needed to know these things is a bit crazy.
So much of this list is made up of things that most children will know how to do if they just have some basic parent interaction in their early years!! My son is not yet 2 years old, and can rote count to 14, recognizes and names all capital letters of the alphabet and most lowercase, and can say every color except gray. Not to mention being able to follow directions, mold play-dough, knows up/down, big/small etc. He has never been in a pre-school setting, and both my husband & I work full time. He is watched by grandparents during the week. But they key is we read together, we tell him letter names when he points to letters, he plays a few Ipad games with ABC’s, we color together and talk about colors, we play with play-dough, etc.
Obviously not every Kindergartener will have mastered the entire list before Kindergarten, but most Kinder’s should have mastery of most of these items. Unless the child just sat at home doing nothing all day every day for the first 5 years of their life, were never read to, never talked to, never expected to follow directions….
You just said: Unless the child just sat at home doing nothing all day every day for the first 5 years, does that mean, that kids doens start in kindergarden until the age of 5-6 years old?
Im a bit confused, because in denmark, what we call kindergarden, is the place where children are in the age from 3-5, a daycarecenter.
So the 71 things you need to know before kindergarden, means before the age of 6??
yes that is right- it is the first formal schooling for a kid- age 5-6 years. It is at a higher standard then a daycare center or preschool (age 3-5)
yes at age 5 years.
Nathasja – yes, in the United States Kindergarten doesn’t start until at least 5 years old.
I’m glad I came across this list, after reading some news stories about children being kicked out programs for not being ready I have been wondering what is expected of them at that age.
My son is behind in speech and I have been worried, however after reading the comments I just feel horrible.
How can people be so arrogant, every child develops at different stages, so if your under 2 year old happens to be doing half this list you don’t need to brag about it and call other people bad parents, and if you happen to be a single mother with no time for her kid but you “make the most of it” that’s great for you but you don’t need to be so arrogant about it.
The last thing any mother needs is to feel like she’s not doing her job right and half of you have succeeded to do that with your comments, and I doubt I am the only one affected.
I agree. I have 6 healthy kids that are all very different in their abilities. I have a 7 year old who has been reading chapter books since she was 4 but also a 2 year old who has a limited vocabulary much less being able to rote count to 14. We expose them all to books and games and museums but all children are different. I have twins and one can almost read at 4 but can not write his name and the other who can write and draw amazingly well but counting and letter recognition is more of a struggle. I see this as a guideline to make sure I focus on their God given strengths and work on each childs individual struggles to give them the best opportunity I can. We all can only do our best and that you took the time to look into what your kid needs is a huge part
I have been a teacher of young children for thirty years, and am amazed that with all of this bragging, no one has mentioned that there is a two year continuum of normal development at each age. If a child is taught to do something at two, that does not mean that he will be any further ahead in Kindergarten than the child who learned the same thing at four! My daughter was speaking in full sentences at 1 year, but was at the same level as most of the other children when she started school. This is a suggested list; the most important items are the social development, listening skills, and attitude toward learning. Almost anything else will be learned when the child is ready. There is even a body of evidence that suggests that drilling a child to learn before he is ready can be detrimental to the child. So your child can sing the alphabet at two – whoopee. It may allow you to feel superior, but will have no long range effect on your child’s school success.
Thank you for this feedback. I have two children who are night and day to each other. My daughter, who is now 13, was very advanced as a child and still continues this way. My son, who is currently 3, frustrates the heck out of me sometimes with what he isn’t doing yet. However, every day things change and he develops some new skill or word (he is not a big talker) and it gives me hope. I don’t expect my son to be as quick of a learner as my daughter and it’s nice to read that every skill under the sun is not needed prior to going to kindergarten.
I really like this comment. No, I thoroughly enjoyed this comment. My daughter is two years old and happened to have learned how to read sentences at 22 months. Even though she excels in that area and others as well, I don’t find those things to be as important as her knowing she is loved….socially adept and respectful. Initially, I was all into it, but am ever so thankful that I learned to help her succeed, but enjoy life too. What a very grounded comment!!!
Wow! This is the best post I’ve read! Amen!
Thank you so much for that comment! We work w/ our son, just turned two, often. We read books, color, do puzzles watch educational shows (limited) have regular play….so on and so on. He knows some of the list. He’s not stupid in any way. We will tell him green is green until we are blue….and he will insist it is blue. The same with every single other color. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t only see blue, either. He pretends to count. He thinks he knows how, and I’m okay with that for now. He’s encouraged to do at least that and we will do it the right way with him. We are just happy he’s happy to try and to listen. He’ll get it right eventually. Making parents feel bad because their kid isn’t top dog as a 2 yr old is seriously snooty. Guess what? I wasn’t even close to being top dog in school, but boy…..my common sense soars next to Mr. Brainiacs! If my kid has nothing else but a willingness to learn, a great attitude in social settings and can use common sense-he’ll may get further than your Little Einstein. :)
Thank You for this post. I agree. I have 2 children. One still 5 and is just finishing kindergarten. After having had 2 years of preschool plus us reading to him at home and working though workbooks still has trouble with reading but is great in math. He has a july birthday and is definitely behind many of the kids in his class– some who turned 6 in September. My 2nd child who is 2 and also a boy is much more laid back and can do a lot of the items on the list. We do not do much more with him than our 1st child. He will pull out the legos himself without much encouraging but my 1st child would say he didin’t want to do this or that and made it much more difficult to teach him. Each child is different and to those who posted such mean arrogant comments I just hope you have a 2nd child who is strong-willed so you can truly wear the others shoes.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pointing out that some parenting strategies are better than others. What’s wrong with being ashamed of how your child is doing? That’s what makes you want to change what you’re doing so that you can do something that’s better for your child. The other commentators aren’t talking about one or two milestones that are negligible, they’re talking about a lot of items on a list that is essential to child development. Parent have a role in the process and about the time that we molly-coddle parents who are not challenging their kids (or in this case parents who are not willing to do the bare minimum) we get kids who will never realize their potential. Another commentator was right when she wrote that children are like sponges! We have a duty as parents to help our children rise to the expectations we have of them. The standard of American public schools is the BARE MINIMUM. Of course this is avoiding the issue that parent’s are supposed to be proud of their children and that pride is shown through talking about the amazing accomplishments of our children. This “bragging” isn’t bad. It’s normal. It’s how our children know we’re proud of them and how other parents know what another child of a similar age is capable of. You can assume the identity of a victim and point fingers or you can change some habits and do what’s best for your child.
This has got to be the rudest, most unkind, nasty comments I have ever read on a mothering website. I also teach my own child lots of things and she is doing well, but that does not give me the right to demean or be nasty to others. Putting others down, just so you can feel good is what I see here. I hope your child does not pick up your nasty habits.
I don’t know why people have to brag about what their 2-3 yr old is doing when this site is to gauge what your 4 or 5yr old should know. If your kid can do all this by 3, great!! I don’t mean to hate. Just think that some of the posts do come across as braggish and uppity.
I’m gonna be honest here… I don’t like to read that much!! And I really wanted to be excited about reading with my son, make it fun. In his earlier years he was too impatient to let me read the pages or talk about them (not real wordy books) and even now it’s hit and miss if he wants to read. And my husband is a librarian! We’re not perfect and all kids are different.
Personally I found that Nick Jr’s website with the Dora’s Beyond the Backpack quiz was helpful. After taking the quiz they recommend areas to work on. We have used some activities and games from the site. My son is 4 and is not writing his name yet. He needs assistance and would rather write it in all caps. He finds practicing letter writing a chore. Since we will be doing homeschool this fall (rather than wait and feel rushed I started the curriculum early – since it began with Pre-K first, anyway and he never went to preschool) I guess he’ll have a little more lee-way, but I really want him to be writing his name by official school time. I know other kids younger are writing their name daily in pre-school. I have to remind myself not to freak out. I mean, afterall, I started first grade behind and I caught up (they didn’t tell my mom I was expected to read. We moved to a new state and based on birthday they said I could skip kindergarten). Don’t want that oh no he’s behind moment to happen to him but I know if for some reason he is behind we will tackle it. Good luck to all the parents out there. Kids are not always able/willing and it can be difficult at times.
“What’s wrong with being ashamed of how your child is doing? ” MommaBean – why should parents be ashamed of how their children are doing if their children are simply following another path of development and learning at their own rate? Please tell me that you are not a teacher as I fear that if you are, you will be busy pointing fingers at parents whose children are not able to keep up as if everything is their fault rather that sometimes due to their own path of development.
I applaud you for what you wrote. I am the grandmother of a very active 5 1/2 year old who just started kindergarten. After only two weeks in kindergarten my grandson’s teacher has informed my daughter that my grandson is not conforming and requires too much attention!!!! All this depite the fact that he knows his abc’s, counts easily to twenty, knows the US geography, understands basic addition and subtraction, and puts together complex puzzles easily.
They expect these little one’s to sit like little soldiers at lunch time, snap to get into line right away, and follow multiple instructions.
How sad that the education system is forcing more and more intelligent, creative, free thinking children (who will probably grow up to be brilliant people) out of the school system and into home schooling, all because they do not aspire to be good little Germans.
“…good little Germans”? Wow, some people are so ignorant…
Jane, we are one of those doing homeschool due to the lack of education going on in the class room anymore. It’s not the teacher’s fault though. It’s the inherent nature of the public school idea. There is no way to improve it’s intrinsic nature. 1. a mish-mosh of parenting skills leads to having the teachers worry more about classroom order/safety than teaching, 2. They are forced into standardized testing procedures which don’t take into account social/cultural demographics of an area, 3. They get less time with each student because the class sizes are so big, 4. Teachers are being dumbed down by Teacher Trak programs, 2yr teaching certificates and ‘give back to the school’ programs where a 19yr old can be a teacher and be earning his degree in education. An Educations Master’s teacher can’t get a job in public schools anymore due to the salary mandates between an education bachelors degree and an education master’s degree. The line between students and teachers are getting more and more blurred each year from all that dumbing down. Then ‘No child left’ behind-like programs shunted student growth due to competition elimination in teaching to the lowest common denominator – and now Common core is turning the teachers into little standardized data trackers and the children into standardized data generators. Schools aren’t what they used to be due to the assault on the love of education as a core problem in this country. So many want to turn it into a profit center who either dropped out and made millions off the backs of other peoples ideas (Bill Gates/Common Core as an example – he also wants to vaccinate everybody through genetically modified mosquitoes – tsk…). It is my fundamental duty to teach my child and Public schools used to be a viable tool – now I have to find new tools. Public school was nice while it lasted but it’s no longer a viable way to ensure the future of my child’s education as it was mine. Don’t get mad at the teachers, it’s the education system, politics and corporations mucking up a good sound foundation in educational processes in this country today. If we can take corporations and billionaires who have no background to pursue making changes to our educational system out of the educational equation, it might have a fighting chance of a comeback. Until then, I’m homeschooling and we are muddling through as best we can.
You’re right Katie! I am a preschool teacher in a public school. I am charged with getting my students ready to go to Kindergarten. However, the Kindergarten teacher is also charged with accepting the students at whatever level he/she is at upon entering Kindergarten and taking them as far as she/he can.
Part of my job is parent education as well and I can share these types of checklists and ideas/activity suggestions to parents for meeting some of the lists. The checklist is only a guide, or at least it should be! The are no requirements for entry into public school Kindergarten other than that the child must be age 5 by a certain cut off date. In many states, there are no mastery levels for exiting Kindergarten and moving on to first grade either. In many states, Kindergarten is not even a required grade level.
If we want our children to grow into productive members of future society we have to stop pointing fingers at each other and casting blame. Life is difficult enough and the list of what we all have to know to do anything just keeps getting longer, no matter what our age. If we work together to give the children what they need when they need it, we’ll be doing very well.
It’s true, teachers are being asked to do more, teach more, produce more, raise scores every time we turn around, there’s something else being demanded of us. We need parents to be on our sides and to work together. And just because someone somewhere decides that a child of a particular age needs to know some specific skill/information/task does not mean that it’s a developmentally appropriate endeavor. Love your child, know your child, challenge your child and advocate for your child with the loving, knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated professionals who keep taking on tomorrow’s expectations as they strive to meet the oppressive expectations of an imperfect society.
I completely agree. A lot of Sanctimommies tooting their own horn here, complete ignorance and arrogance. If I had only my daughter I would agree with them, yet if I had only my son I would be left feeling horrible by these judgmental comments. EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT!! Just because your precious buttercup can do this list back and forth by age 2 doesn’t mean that if another child doesn’t then the parent must be lazy and not have basic conversation with their child,
I am lucky enough to be able to work from home, so I got to spend a lot of time with my kids and I have been teaching them all the tricks in the book since infancy. My daughter is a tiny sponge that picked everything up very fast, is eager to learn and loves everything on this list. My son is completely different and I didn’t give him any less attention. He picked up certain things relatively fast, such as counting objects to 20, colors, shapes, letters etc, but there are certain things that he would just not do or have any interest in. For example he absolutely hates music, hates nursery rhymes, if I sing or read to him he puts hands on his ears and yells at me to stop! He loves discussing what is going on on a page, such as “How many yellow dogs are here? Which one is the biggest? Why is this dog sad?” but just plain reading- hates it.
He doesn’t like any artsy projects, writing or coloring. He’s 3,5 now and I think the list is pretty fair, but I’m not sure if he will change his likes and dislikes by kindergarten. Pediatrician has told me to leave him alone and not force the things he doesn’t like.
The bottom line is that children develop at a different pace and some are so much easier to teach. Just because you have an easy learner doesn’t give you the right to put others down so a lot of commenters here need to get off their high horse.
Katie – I’m sorry if my comment offended you. I never called anybody a bad parent if their child isn’t doing all of these things. I was just pointing out that it doesn’t take a ton of time for most children to grasp these concepts – that’s why I pointed out that my husband & I both work full time, and don’t have much time with the kids. But the little time we do have, we simply interact and play with him.
As I said originally: “most children will know how to do if they just have some basic parent interaction in their early years”. I didn’t say ALL children can do ALL of it. I said MOST children can do a LOT of it… with some BASIC interaction. I didn’t say parents that spend hours and hours with their kids drilling them on numbers, letters, etc. I don’t have time for that, and neither do most other parents I know.
The fact that kids can learn so much and pick up so much information quickly, means quite a bit of this list will be accomplished as long as they have some BASIC interaction and experiences – playing outside, they’ll get most of the gross motor skills. Just being given crayons, playdough, paper & scissors, they’ll master most of the fine motor skills with practice. They watch adults and they mimic.
Again, I’m sorry if you were offended – that was not my intent. I know every child develops at their own stage – and that’s why I said things like “MOST” children. I know all kids are different. And again, I never called anyone a bad parent – unless it happens to be a parent who never bothers to talk to, play with, or read to their child in the first few years. Then yes, I’d say that’s an awful parent. But I’m sure you, and anyone else, can agree with me on that point.
I have taught Pre-school for over 20 years and your 2 year old is definitely an acceptionally bright child, and you are very fortunate to have grandparents caring for him. Most children (I can safely say that at least 95%) don’t know a majority of the things on the list when they enter my classroom at age 3. Parenting is a Very difficult job. As a mother of 3, it was much more difficult to be a full time mom of a baby, 2 and a 3&1/2 year old than teaching a class of 9 3-yr-olds for 2 1/2 hours! Now that my children are young adults, my advice is to enjoy every crazy minute of it. I love my job….hats off to all you parents who either stay home all day and live through the craziness or come home after a long day of work and try to spend a few hours or even minutes of quality time with your little ones! My daughter’s comment about her favorite preschool teacher (at age 4) …”Mrs. Jungers loves me even when I’m naughty!” I’ve always made it my goal since she said those words to be that kind of mother/teacher so that every child who is in my care knows that he is loved even when they are naughty!
Bravo – I love your attitude.
What do you think the first four years are for? If we expect our kids to start “learning” at the beginning of kindergarten, then we’ve failed as parents already. We’re their first teachers. It’s our fault if these things don’t get done. Other than about 3 or 4, our 3y/o can do all of this on the list.
I agree with the above… My 2 1/2 year old can do most of the things on this list as well. My husband and I both work full time, and yes, I am a high school teacher, but I also think it is common sense to want to teach your child most of these skills. We are fortunate that my spouse’s mother cares for our daughter most days… And my daughter has some gross motor delays, however, that won’t stop us from working with her and encouraging her to do the things on the list… Without looking at the list! :)
I agree! These parents act handicapped! P.S. Thanks for teaching our kids! We know what a sacrifice it is at times, but some parents do appreciate it!
Agreed, I spent so much time focusing on my own school I missed out on the first 4 years of my son’s life. I was in complete shock with how far behind he was when I got out of school and started spending time with him and other kids. I understand and feel for the parents that didn’t have the time for their kids because we were working so hard to make their lives better. But I’m ashamed of turning into one of those parents as well. I’ve got only a couple months left to get in the last few items on this list before he starts school too…
How does a parent show up to orientation with no idea of what their child should know?? And exactly when did it become a schools job to teach your child everything on that list?? If a parent showed up with their child not knowing half of what is on that list I would question what the child had been doing for the last 4-5 years. When parents don’t grab their reigns when it comes to education, they are doing a huge disservice to their child. That’s the equivalent of setting them up for failure or at least a lot of struggling. My son started half day preschool this year and is thriving but a lot of that has to do with what WE taught him before. He could write his name, add small quantities, identify letters, colors, etc, recognize many sight words, etc. And don’t start with the arguement, I don’t have time. If you have time to talk on a phone, watch 5 minutes of TV, stay in the shower for 20 minutes you have time to teach your child something. There are plenty of parents that do it.
Thank you for this comment! :) As a Kindergarten teacher, I can honestly say that many of these skills could never be taught in the classroom because we would never have the time to teach things like pedaling and steering a tricycle. Kindergarten students these days, with the new curriculums, are expected to come to Kindergarten already knowing letters, sounds, and writing names. We are starting to read by the Christmas break. That’s so different from Kindergarten long time ago when there was play centers and recess. All of our “play” centers have been removed from classrooms and replaced with literacy centers and students have 15 minutes of recess time each day. So, it IS important for parents to be involved with their children. Just a little attention each day will include the majority of the skills listed here, many without you even realizing you are teaching it to your child.
I must say, taking away play centers is a terrible idea in Kindergarten. These little kids deserve to be kids! Let them play and have fun. Plus, my son is starting Kindergarten next week and the only things he is lacking on this list are all gross motor skills which he could improve while playing with other kids! He can count to over 130 but can’t or won’t (jury is out on that) pedal a tricycle. How is 15 minutes of recess going to help that?
I agree, Megan. I am a Bilingual/ESL K-2 Teacher this year, and I taught Bilingual Kindergarten two years ago and it just saddens me how Kindergarten is no longer “fun.” Let me just say this: Exactly 20 years ago I started Kindergarten–and it was HALF-DAY. I played in the play-centers, had (what felt like a 30 minute) recess, sang songs, colored, and went home. So did a lot of my friends and…20 years later, I graduated from college, have my ESL/Bilingual Endorsement, studied abroad and learned a second language, and am nearly finished with my Masters degree. I think I turned out alright based on my Kindergarten experience plus the fact that my mom read to me every day since birth—to this day, I am a voracious reader and writer. These children are 5 years old…let them play and be children!! What will they think in 20 years about their Kindergarten experience I wonder? :(
I agree. K should be a place to play, learn to be kind to others, share, interact with all kinds of others, and develop a love of school and learning.
I don’t want to sound rude either, but if you think that kindergarteners should just play all day, then you are seriously behind the times. I have taught 3rd grade for 35years, and have seen so many changes in that time (not all good changes!). The biggest thing that has changed is that more a nd more is expected of kids at every level – not just kindergarten. State tests require that students prove that they know what is expected b efore they go to the next grade. so, if children don’t know the above skills before entering kinder garten – there is really no time for them to catch up. Each fall, teachers must hit the ground running and keep moving in order to get everything covered and do the best they can in helping the studentsvwho may be behind to catch up and keep up. Parents have to be willing to help every step of the way, because no teacher has enough hours in the day or enough days in the year for every single student that may be struggling in one way or another. Parents cannot just leave it all to the shool. School pesonnel work very hard to to their best for every student in their care for the year, ut parents HAVE to do their part. And somone said tkids don’t need any recess or P.E. class. Well, I don’ know many adults who work an 8 hour day without at least one 10 or 15 minute break to just let off steam. – so why should we expec that of our children?
School is for academics, home is for play. I, personally, would prefer that all schools (at any grade level) get rid of things that are a waste of time like recess and gym class. Those are things my daughter can learn at home or in extra activities outside of school.
As an amendment to my previous comment, home is also for study and strengthening the skills that were learned at school.
I feel sorry for your children. Kids need to be able to play. It is the best way for them to learn. Based on multiple studies in childhood development, they need play to learn. Gym and recess are not a waste of time. Kids only have so much of an attention span
Play **IS** learning for children. Young children are not designed for work as we adults know it. They learn BEST through play. I wish I could get people to realize that.
Numerous studies show that humans (adults and children) retain the content of the teaching when their bodies are in motion. When you take away the opportunities for movement in school (recess, gym) then you are hurting their ability to learn at their full potential.
Recess and gym class are a waste of time?!?! What?!?!
Recess is where kids get to have a 20-minute, unstructured, self-regulated break and usually get some exercise! They get to socially interact with peers and practice conflict resolution without direct supervision of an adult.
Phys Ed is when they learn to play games, follow rules, MOVE THEIR BODIES, acquire and develop gross motor skills, and have fun! They can also learn to develop strategies, count, compare and contrast numbers, count and learn letters, depending on the game or activity. For kinesthetic learners, p.e. is the best part of the day! It’s also a chance for some kids to SHINE, since they might have difficulty in other areas of the curriculum! Waste of time? Psh! No.
Science and academic studies of children do not support your theory.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” -Fred Rogers
For the very reasons written above are why my husband and I have opted to homeschool our children. Our children are 1 and 3 right now & we have been working diligently for the past year on our curriculum and classroom. For ten years prior to becoming a mom, I worked as a preschool teacher (teaching 3’s and 4’s). I am used to creating curriculum and lesson plans so this isn’t a new venture to me like it might be for some. Our main reason for making this decision not only stems from the increase in school safety concerns, bullying, budget cutbacks, student to teacher ratios, etc, but the lack of free play. What I mean by free play isn’t recess time (even though I don’t see how decreasing recess helps with childhood obesity any), but rather fine arts, creativity, and imagination. Not all children will excel in core subjects such as math or science. Yes, a child should learn the basic fundamentals of every subject including literature and history, but at an elementary level this is extreme! Mind you, our three year old can do a majority of things on the list, but I don’t agree with creating a list that makes the expectations of each child the same. We were not all born the same, we cannot all be expected to learn the same & in the same time frame. It is lists like these that cause children to get “left behind.”
Where do you teach? Kindergartners and First graders are required to have more than 15 minutes of recess a day? Most states require it. Making first graders and kindergartners sit all day with only 15 minutes of recess is setting them up for failure and a sedentary lifestyle.
Unfortunately my kid is in a 1st grade class with only 15 minutes of recess. Fairfax County Public Schools outside of DC. We hate it, but enjoy the school besides this one downside.
You are not too far from where I went to school… I was in Stafford County from 3rd grade to 12th grade.
My husband and I have been working with our daughter (who is just over 3 years old) since birth because I am determined to not let her fall behind/ become disinterested in school, like I was. She is very intelligent, loves to learn and can do a lot of things on this list already, but I fear that she will end up like me.
We are given 15 minutes recess daily for Pre-K, as well as kindergarten thru 5th grade. Starting in 6th grade and up they have zero recess.
Why so judgmental?
So, Cathy the Kindergarten teacher says that the K curriculum is so much more academic than it used to be, so Kindergarten teachers don’t have time to teach other skills. is the problem that parents aren’t doing their “job” or that we expect too much from 5 year olds?
Screw high-stakes testing and academic kindergarten. it doesn’t make our kids smarter or better.
It doesn’t make them smarter or better….but the politician who knows absolutely nothing about early childhood education is going to tell you what your child needs to know so that we can ruin their childhood. CHILDHOOD SHOULD BE A JOURNEY…NOT A RACE!
What’s with the bullying? Kids don’t come with instruction booklets. Great that you’re on top of things, but not everyone is. Have some compassion. Not everyone HAS 20 minutes to spend with their child every day. Some work 2-3 jobs, some are single parents, some have NO support and leave before their child wakes and doesn’t get home until bedtime, leaving time for cuddling, not writing drills.
What you model here, you model for your children. By being mean and judgmental here, you are setting that example for your kids. Is your child getting an A and then bullying the child who’s falling behind. LIfe is more than reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.
Weird that the high paying jobs go to the people who are best at “reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.” Life is a race. Personally, I want my daughter to know what she has to do to win that race every time. And for those who don’t get to spend 20 min a day with their kids should probably take a closer look at the person they’re dumping their kid with for all that time. Good grief!
Career-wise it’s great to know all that, but when you die no one cares how good at math you were. They care how you were as a person. Were you kind? Or mean and rude? That doesn’t get you ahead in life…
If that were true, we teachers would be the highest paid.
Honestly “MommyBean”….what a horrible comment. You’re completely unwilling to understand another persons situation. The world is not black and white. Be careful of being so uncaring. Your world could change tomorrow for all you know.
Seriously Mammybean? I’ve seen plenty of extremely book smart people that don’t get paid as well as say….an artist, musician, actor or someone who plays sports. You’re completely misguided in your thinking and I really hope that your children are able to succeed in life despite your lack of common sense.
I mean…”there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that some parenting strategies are better than others.” Right? Maybe now you can “change what you’re doing so that you can do something that’s better for your child.” Good luck.
I guess I’ve pointed out that your parenting skills aren’t nearly as proficient as most. Because there’s nothing wrong with that…right? Maybe you can take this comment and become a better parent for it.
What’s with the bullying? Kids don’t come with instruction booklets. Great that you’re on top of things, but not everyone is. Have some compassion. Not everyone HAS 20 minutes to spend with their child every day. Some work 2-3 jobs, some are single parents, some have NO support and leave before their child wakes and doesn’t get home until bedtime, leaving time for cuddling, not writing drills.
What you model here, you model for your children. By being mean and judgmental here, you are setting that example for your kids. Is your child getting an A and then bullying the child who’s falling behind? LIfe is more than reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, you know. Be kind.
Why on earth would anyone have a child/children if they didn’t have 20 minutes to spare in his/her day?!
I give a lot of credit to parents who are forced to go it alone, and I know that life must be difficult, but I’m sure there are some kinds of assistance programs of which you could take advantage for the benefit of your child. Goodness gracious! Otherwise, what is the point of even being a parent?! I can’t imagine not having 20 minutes!!! Clearly, something’s gotta give, and it shouldn’t be your child.
Really? Then maybe you should let us know what programs those are and how we can lose enough income to qualify and still be able to live!
My daughter raises two little ones. A gifted 7 yr old and a 4 yr old.
She works hard to have the money to NOT be on welfare.
Guess what? That makes her too rich to qualify for those programs!
In addition you should let us know where those programs are in our rural area! And how she is to AFFORD them also! Because if your NOT on welfare you must be rich?
Guess you have never had a partner walk out on you and the kids. You best count your blessings! She gets no help from a dad that left 3 yrs ago and hasn’t been heard from since. Or a government that told him he didn’t have to pay but $20/month because he could find women to live off of!
Thank the Goddess I am able to watch my grandbabies. But if I had to work they would be with cheap babysitters that only want to make money.
Some people need their attitudes checked! Seems they think they are better than others.
You are right, everybody’s situation is different. When I agreed to have a child with my second husband I planned on being a stay at home Mom. I ended up being alone in a small town, raising four kids, working two jobs, with fibromyalgia, and sending them to babysitters who didn’t give a crap. Needless to say the time I was able to spend with my baby when she was little was minimal.
Oh. My. Goodness. I am genuinely worried for any child whose parents don’t have twenty minutes a day to spend with their children a day. Aside from all the learning and education discussions, what about just loving on them? Seriously. Twenty minutes a day? I am saddened that anyone would even think that acceptable, normal, or possible. :(
I agree… 20 minutes is not even enough time in a day to spend with your child. Some people should rethink their priorities, yes bills have to be paid but I’d much rather give up some ‘extras’ & have time with my children then work work work & they never have time to see a parent who cares.
That’s pathetic that Kindergarteners don’t have but 15 minutes of recess each day! And we wonder why our kids are so fat! Maybe, just maybe, we’re trying to accomplish too much with the new curriculum. I know that the core content for middle school language arts is ridiculous, and I know because I teach it. All of the 5th graders graduate from elementary school totally unprepared for middle school, so we end up backtracking and reteaching what needed to be taught in elementary school but wasn’t. You can’t write a 5 paragraph essay if you can’t construct an effective sentence. We need to get back to teaching the basics in the elementary years so that the students have a strong foundation to buld on when they go into middle school. It’s amazing that students today are doing more and more in school and are having to do an abundance of high stakes testing, which their predecessors did not have, yet the students today are graduating from high school and they are dumber than the previous generations and they aren’t prepared for college. People need to wake up and realize that high stakes testing is not the answer! And fellow teachers need a reality check and must realize that it is their job to teach, not the parents’. Parents are there to reinforce what the teachers are teaching, but teachers went to school to specifically learn what skills to teach a child and how to teach these skills. It’s time to focus less on complaining about parents and collective bargaining rights and focus more on actually doing our jobs!
Could it be that same-age groups of children herded together in classrooms is not the way to teach small people at all? Don’t get me started about politics and school and teachers unions. I am a former public school teacher turned home-schooling Mom. Tooting my own horn here, but I was a great teacher and I did as much as I could for every young person in my class. But it was never enough. Look into the history of education. And please do not tell me how “lucky” I am to “be able” to stay to stay home with my children. It was a decision and we sacrifice a lot to do it on a $45,000 income for a family of 4.
I guess my tangent comes from reading all these comments by people bragging on their kids, teachers complaining about requirements, and parents feeling badly about their children not meeting certain standards. Guess what? The child who begins reading at age 8 will likely read equally as well as the one who began when he was 3. But when they are stuck in a classroom and teachers are pressured to meet “standards” and are trying to get information to 25 wiggly people who NEED to be outdoors getting dirty, the child who is not yet ready to read gets labeled as “delayed.” And that sticks.
By the way, my three-year-old is outdoors hunting for frogs and snakes right now. And he is head-to-toe filthy. He also loves nothing better than to cuddle up with me and have me read picture books and chapter books with him. Not going to mention whether or not he reads yet. :-) It doesn’t matter.
Thank you for this. The current system doesn’t serve our children or teachers, and parents are pulled in so many directions. I will keep my children children as long as possible – no reason to break their natural love of learning with too much pressure.
I LOVE it! I wish the list contained a section for: knows how to make a fort indoors and out, can catch fireflies and frogs-and let them go, can find the moon and the Big Dipper, knows how to roast a marshmallow without it catching fire, etc. Those are the things that give them something to write and talk about. I teach 3rd grade and specialize in science.
Most of those ideas can be learned through experience. Sit down at a restaurant and expect your child to sit too. Look over the menu together, count stuff, fold the napkins, teach him a nursery rhyme, read a short book. When the food comes have conversation etc. Nothing but being there and present. If your kid can’t sit through a meal with a few fun, learning distractions your kid will have a tough time in school.
I am a PreK teacher for the public school system, and I happen to be a single parent since my daughter was born a little over two years ago. I have no support from her father at all, and no family or help where I live other than childcare. Up until a few months ago, we had an hour and a half drive to get to work/daycare. I had very little time to sit down and directly work on these things with her. But guess what? She can do almost everything on that list. Why? Because even though we were “pressed for time” and I was/am exhausted, I spent time on these things. Use your time wisely to TALK to your children. In the car, discuss what you see. Cars, trucks, trees, houses, animals, etc. the list is never ending. Don’t wait until they can talk back to have meaningful and educational conversations with them. While grocery shopping, discuss the items…what they are called, used for, taste like, smell like, look like, color, etc etc etc. while getting dressed in the morning, talk about the clothes…the way they feel, smell, look, color of them. Let them help you with chores around the house and talk about it. Sing Nursery rhymes while they are brushing their teeth, changing their diaper/clothes, etc. Conversations can happen anywhere at anytime about anything!
Don’t expect a child to sit down and be quiet because you’ve had a rough day or because you’re too tired. I’m amazed every year at how many students don’t get read to at home, and even some that tell me mom or dad says “no we will read a book another day”. Even if you don’t have money for books, read environmental print (food labels, road signs, things in the grocery store, blah blah blah)
You don’t have to teach your child everything on this list, but at least give them a good base. And as far as kindergarten pushing kids too hard and expecting too much, that’s a load. Kids aren’t being overworked, they are just being expected to work to their full potential. There are so many more resources available to them than there was when we all were their age, take advantage! I have four year olds in my classroom reading books right now, not because I am pushing them too hard, but because I give them the opportunity to learn these things, and they learned at their pace.
Do your best as a parent, and don’t blame it on not having time or energy. Teachers understand that each child is unique and their environment isn’t just like the kid beside them. Everyone learns at different paces and different styles. But it’s no excuse not to work with your child at home.
I definitely have to agree. I was a single mother to a toddler and an active duty service member. I worked 40 – 50 hours a week and I was still able to teach her basic life skills. I have worked plenty of “jobs” and worked different hours at jobs but as a parent my kids come first. That means that them learning come first. I think parents get lazy these days. Even if you want to lay down or rest or whatever you feel like doing involve your kids. My daughter and I would watch Dora together when I was exhausted and we would discuss things on the show. TV may not be the answer as a baby sitter but put on a TV show that entertains the kids but talk about it. Talk about EVERYTHING. My daughter learned so much by just being with me. We played cards, she would come in my room as I got ready in the morning and we would sing our ABC’s. If you put forth an effort as a parent your kids will pick these things up. Hire a tutor or a nanny that is a college student. If you look at the prices it may end up saving you money as well which means you can quit one of the three jobs you’re working and spend more time with your kids.
In my area I pay 1/3 the cost of daycare for a college (early childhood education major) girl to nanny my 3 kids. Plus when she goes to get a job she has experience with young kids…professionally.
That’s what I did. I talked to my kids non stop in the car, grocery store, we’d sing the ABCs on the way to the stitters, talk about the colors on the food cans, talking about what was in the pizza we were eating when we went out for a treat. I remember the first letter my oldest daughter recognised. We pulled up to a stop sign and she pointed out the P. I didn’t have a lot of time with my kids but I was determined they were going to learn something.
Mary, now a days there is too much pressure on these little kindergartners. I think as long as they have been in a preschool setting and they understand: how to sit, how to sit in a circle, how to line up, how to socially play then that is a big start. The education part will come with time and patience. We are making kindergartners read on specific levels now and write proper short sentences. We are putting too much emphasis on little 5 year olds. These kids need to be working on fine motor skils and socialization skills. If so much pressure is on reading and writing in Kindergarten, where is our free play of socialization. People used to mock the coloring and playing and saying that is all that is done in kindergarten, but really that is a lot for development. We are going to have a society of people that do not know how to communicate, socialize, and “play” together appropriately if we keep on this path!!
I teacher Kindergarten. A lot of the things on that list are things I am trying to teach while teaching the curriculum because many of my students are not coming in knowing that. It makes it stressful for the student who is trying to learn everything listed above so they can also learn everything we have to learn by the end of the year. If most of these things are taught before walking into Kindergarten, your child will have less stress and feel much more successful!
I apologize that entire comment was not directed towards just you, just the first part :)
This is a bit late, but when I was in kindergarten, I was reading and writing short stories. I do not feel that was pushing me or the other children too hard. We still had art and play time and learned to socialize with each other. Of course, maybe I was just lucky and was born in a time (80s) when parents actually interacted with their kids and helped them develop as they needed.
I agree with Erika H. I am a preschool teacher/Director, and have been for over 24 years. I have experienced the “many” changes in our preschool curriculum. Preschoolers need to learn the basics first, socializing, self help, motor skills, etc., first. Learning letters, numbers through play is incorporated in our curriculum, but some children are ready for printing and recognizing sight words. I think we are trying to push our children at an early age to do things they are not ready to do. Preschoolers need to be approached as individuals who are not all ready at the same time, and Kindergarten needs to set the time aside to work with children who were not developmentally ready to grasp all their letter and number recognition in preschool. I think we are already living in a society where people have difficulty communicating and socializing. It’s really sad.
Your child will be fine even if they don’t know these things. My daughter is almost finishing kindergarten. She didn’t know any of her alphabet (except her name, and even that, barely) and couldn’t count to 10…or probably even 5 when she started kindergarten!! And yet, she is doing great! I think it’s sad how much kindergarten is changing…pushing kids to grow up way too fast. Don’t let people make you feel bad.
I agree Kelly. My daughter couldn’t recognize any of her letters or numbers when she started kindergarten this year, could barely write her name, and now she is right on track. I worked with her and taught her what I could, but kindergarten used to be for teaching all of these things! I think parents need to quit the competition with each other. We get enough criticism from the rest of the world. Just because I couldn’t teach my daughter to recognize her ABCs or couldn’t AFFORD any preschool for her before she started kindergarten (headstart was ful, pre k programs at local elementary programs are few and far between, and before that my husband was stationed in Germany, so we lived there for 3 years) doesn’t mean I love her any less or that I am a bad mother.
I’m sorry I have to disagree, my son is speech delayed but yet between the age of 2 1/2 and 3 he was able to count 20 and knew his whole alphabet and the proper sound to go with each letter. He’s now 4 and about to attend kindergarten, speech is still not all there and goes to a special preschool who focuses on the speech but still he’s able to count to 60 and is able to spells up to 25 words (which they don’t teach in the school, just the list above). This not because I pushed him but it’s because I sat down with him talked to him, read books, did puzzles all to improve his speech and he turned around and took interest in learning not because I pushed him. He is more advanced then his friend who’s the same age without a speech delay. The earlier they learn the love of books and about 3/4 of this list the better in life they do.
in mo they have to know that stuff or they dont go to kinder. kinder isnt mandatory in mo. everything on this list seems to be fine and most kids under five should know this but the lists i have seen in mo, i think there are a few things that shouldnt be there for kinder.
What’s with all the negative comments in response to what Mary said? She didn’t say she wasn’t teaching her child, she said she didn’t know all of the things they were supposed to know by that time; which is obviously valid since this post is about a long list informing people of such things (if we all knew, which people seem to be implying to feel better about their parenting, then why the need for the list?). It could be that she was teaching and spending time with her child but not on all of the things on this list. My daughter, for example, does not know every last thing on this list, but there are a ton of other things I have taught her. So it’s not a matter of not paying attention to your kid, not caring, not trying, etc; it’s a matter of not having this guideline.
I understand where she was coming from, because I didn’t know all the things I needed to teach my daughter before kindergarten. I even asked a friend who was a kindergarten teacher (ended up being my daughter’s teacher, too), and she told me not to worry about it, that my daughter would be fine. She was.
The only thing my 5 year old didn’t know 100% before kindergarten was the names of the letters. I kid you not. I was trying to teach her to read using a method where letter names were taught last and we never got to that point. She knew most of them anyway, but a few she struggled with at first.
I think a lot of parents have thrown off their duty to be their child’s first and most important teacher (throughout their childhood and early adulthood) to the schools. This is a huge disservice to children. Part of being a parent is teaching. Actually, it’s the biggest part. Discipline is a form of teaching. Even just things like feeding a baby solid food is a form of teaching. You are always teaching your child whether you realize it or not, so in that case, when you are with them, might as well teach them things that will help them in school and the rest of life, too. If someone has time to read a blog, they have time to spend with their kids. That isn’t a judgement, it’s a fact.
I agree that as a nation we are far too concerned with results, but none of the things on this list classify as “results”. In fact, they are very basic building blocks for things that will get kids through the rest of their lives.
Not everyone has the time for many reasons. Life throws you a lot of curves that have upsetting circumstances. The schools are expecting a lot from our five year olds and are expecting the parents to have done what used to be their job. Oh how I long for the good old days. When children were allowed to be children and not taught to be good Germans until 1st grade.
Mary, I was a parent long before I became a teacher. Don’t worry about a list of things your child should know. What you SHOULD be doing with your child is talking to them and with them everyday, playing with them, singing with them, reading to them. If you do these things most all of the other things will fall into place. Maybe the fault lies in the high schools. Instead of learning useless things, they should be teaching students life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of children, balancing a checkbook and healthy exercises. These are skills you will need for life, not some of the other classes they force you to take.
I completely agree with you. My daughter started K4 this week and I am finding out that I have not prepared her the best that I could have so now we will be working harder to catch up but thankfully my child is easy to teach and quick to learn.
Unfortunately, kindergarten has become very academic. It’s great for the kids that are ready for it, but it’s so developmentally inappropriate for those that are not. The list above is a pretty accurate one. As a kindergarten teacher there is so much disparity between the ability levels of the children who enter my classroom each year.
It’s a misconception that every child should come to kindergarten with some school experience, although it helps with routines and such if kids have school experience what’s most import is that the child has some life experience! They’ve been taken places, they’ve been read to, they’ve had social interaction with other children, they’ve been allowed to explore with things like crayons, paint, pencils and scissors! I have seen plenty of kids walk through my door who have never been to preschool or day care and do just fine, but there are others who still can’t count to ten, recognize and name their letters or even write their name.
So even though we are very capable of teaching them all these things and will willingly do so, a child who does not have these skills will be behind. It’s a sad reality of what kindergarten has become.
Agreed. My 5 yr old is basicly failing kindergarten because she cannot read by the 2nd month. All the other kids were in day care full time and count read and count at age 3. Very unfair that K doesnt teach the basics anymore
We do teach basics. But standards push for K students to read simples books one picture and one simple sentence per page by the end of the year. With that said if they come in doing this they are pushed to go further. The biggest push though will be going from k to first grade they expect kids to read ALL summer so they do not loose the skills. By the end of first they should read short chapter books!
People that think school teacher should be the only ones teacher their child are the problem behind unsuccessful students in elementary grades. We can only do so much without families helping their kids. The BIGGEST help is reading EVERY night for 15-20 minutes while pointing to EACH word!
Coming from a preschool teacher I fully understand your position on kindergarten readiness. I will not be sending my children to preschool. It is not that I don’t believe in it, it is just that we (as a nation) are pushing our children too much too soon. Kindergarten used to basically be what preschool is now. I also agree that children should be learning these things on the list when in kindergarten. Unfortunately that is not the case in this current day and age. I’m sorry you experienced that negativity in the classroom setting. Just know that you child will be just fine and all kids even out by 6th grade any way!
My child will start kindegarten this fall..she will start at 4 and turn 5 shortly after school starts.
I work full time as does my husband. During the week she attends daycare by the time I get her home, make dinner have baths etc..shes passed out. How am I expected to sit and do any kind of kindegarten prepardness with her when she’s lathargic from running around all day? They do some pre school curriculum at the daycare but I know she cant do all that is on the list. She had her kindergarten testing and according to that she is ready to start..she just wasnt the best balancer on one foot…really….who is and is that going to make you a good doctor some day? They will learn all they need to learn whether everything on this list is checked off or not…..we as parents will not beat ourselves up if the list is incomplete..it’s what we do going forward to help them succeed that will matter.
I feel like this is your job as the parent… when did the teachers become responsible for raising our children? This is why I am homeschooling/unschooling my child… I feel like we have become so detatched from our children… I love teachers and have the utmost respect for them… this lady is helping everyone by giving a great list.. my daughter is 2 and knows most of this from our “craft” time we do everyday or every other day… coloring will teach colors and helping with household chores helps with the rest… Also I am a ft working mother so everyone has time to do this… :) I understand it may be embarasing for you but this is your childs life not yours… it seems like your on the right site to learn what your child needs to prepare for and if your child is already in kindergarten I suppose you cam to this site all too late….
I agree, I am a teacher as well. My 5-year-old has been in day care since he was 6-weeks-old and now is in preschool. He knows all of that and we are now working on sight words and reading at home.
Good for you that your child has been taken care of by someone else since the age of 6 weeks. I am sure that what he learned there was much more beneficial than anything he could have learned at home being hugged and kissed by his mother and taking nature walks and having playdates and baking cookies. You are so right that learning all 71 of those things prior to kindergarten is of the utmost importance in the grand scheme of life and will certainly put them ahead of the game.
This is a very helpful list, both for my young daughter and the kids I provide daycare for. I do not pretend to be a pre-k teacher, but I do my best to encourage educational activities while the children are in my care.
After reading many of the posts below, I think it is MOST important to remember that as women and mothers we need to do our best not to judge other moms but instead encourage and support.
Wow, that was incredibly rude. Some people don’t have the option of being home with their kids during the day, but still can hug and kiss them, take them on walks, have playdates, etc. Parents need to support each other, not tear each other down. : (
@Dana- That was obnoxious. My child spends his days in a wonderful daycare, so that I can work. I pay for everything he needs, and some of what he wants. I make nutritious meals, provide health insurance, and own our home. I also take him on nature walks, cook with him, and cuddle and kiss him. Will he accomplish all on this list before Kindergarten? I don’t know. But I appreciate that someone made it available to me. Now get over yourself.
Please tell me how a single mom of 2 kids without child support can stay home… With that said. THANK YOU for this list!
There are many things you can do to work from home. I am a single mom of 3, i have never recieved support or government help. I just started working from home 8months ago from home. Before then i made sure to spend the time I with my kids before and after work always doing things to help their minds develop and keep them having fun. I dont think it is the amount of tie you spend with your kids that counts but the way you take advantage of that time. Now i am pleased to say that i have 2 daughters both in the school for gifted girls, My youngest just turned 4 last week she will start early kindergarten this month and my 8yr old will start Advanced placement 5th grade. My son is 6 and will begin 2nd grade in our local private school .
A fact of importance……..It has been scientifically proven that children are more capable psychologically and developmentally of learning complex things then adults are. By the age of 12 your child’s brain stops growing and will begin to slow down. So it is more beneficial to instill the building blocks early and then continue to build and reinforce what they know.
For those of you who feel children aren’t capable, you should probably do a little more research on the subject. They are in fact more capable of learning a new task than adults are!! You also need to learn to be supportive of all mother’s (parents) because some of them are not fortunate enough to stay at home with their children…..unless of course you want them living off of welfare, which a lot of people complain about too!
Children’s brains only grow to the age of 12!?
I’ve always been taught that brains grow up untill the late 20s. After that it gets harder to learn, not impossible.
Because if what you said would be true high school is useless right?
Where I come from the Kindergarten is for kids aged 4-5 yrs where they get to learn all of the above if they do not yet know it. Also 1st grade teachers here advice not to learn kids how to write (reading is ok, but not to write) because of the writing method used, which messes up their curriculum if they have to relearn it to kids, getting rid of the wrong way is harder than doing things the right way.
What’s with the bullying?
Dana that was hardly fair, some parents have to work and don’t get to stay home and play / teach their kids all day long. There are lots of things we can teach our kids with little effort. I didn’t realize that kids needed to know this stuff with my first child and she went to kindergarten way behind the other kids and it took her some time to catch up, my boys are a lot different, they are 4 & 2 and they have a better understanding of these 71 things. I don’t think we are putting too much pressure on pre-k and kindergarteners most kids crave knowledge, the questions are often overwhelming. The important thing is to parent to your best ability and not compare what you do to what someone else does.
Good for you Dana….you could afford to stay home with your child….I did all of those nurturing things after work and on weekends. My son had an excellent babysitter who helped as well…you see I was busy teaching Kindergarten at the time! He’s now a terrific 25 year old who never suffered at all. And…..God forbid….an only child!!!!
I agree Dana. Anyone can regurgitate basic knowledge. It takes life experience, creativity, and most importantly, the ability to think and figure out problems on their own to give a child the brightest possible future. So to be the best teacher/parent, become like a child yourself and ask them who/what/why/when/how everyday to help you overcome problems. Make your child a philosopher.
Dana, I love reading comments that I wish I had the courage to post myself. :-)
Dana–LOVE IT! cant agree w/ you more. Of course her kid is advanced with that kind of raising
I think that all those things you mentioned are really wonderful and your children are very lucky to have had a mother who is able to do those things. Moms, come in all shapes and sizes just like kids and we all want to do the best for our children. No one is wrong. If you are in the situation where you can stay home and take car of your kids, that is excellent. If you have to work and pay someone else to take care of your little ones, that is also OK, as long as you trust completely the person who is looking after them.
Don’t get offended by peoples choices. Sometimes it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity.
I totally agree with you. I work with a woman who has a child 2 months older than my son and he has been doing things her child doesn’t do yet or just started. She once told me that daycare is for those things and not her. I think that as a parent it is your job to teach your toddler everything you possibly can. They learn a lot in their first years. My son ( who is only 2) knows his colors, numbers ( to 10), quite a few shapes and all the letters in the alphabet. I am trying to teach lower case now. Right now he only knows Upper case. And he speaks, very clearly, full sentences. And he loves books. He isn’t in day care and I didn’t even do Your baby can read. I did it all myself, with the help of my parents(who are my day care.) I think if you don’t want to teach your child anything, you are just lazy.
I agree. I may not be the super mom for my son but how hard is it when you get them dressed to let them know what colors they are wearing. Or talk to them when you are doing something. His 2 1/4 and can interact with people, like when someone sneezes or knocks on a door he can say whos there? i personally dont believe in daycare with how people today are i just dont trust it. So its me all day everyday, dads deployed so besides my mom who works 12 hours i try my best cause his behavior is a reflection of me. Plus i was a full time student and got A and B. I think its mostly effort. And he draws faces, not good looking ones but slightly atomically correct circle face, hair, ears, neck, body, and a hand with an apple. I thought everything was a scribble until he explained it to me and i was so proud. All i can say for the list, i was 4 in preschool and remember addition and subtraction. Plus he wants to learn on his own. He went outside and learned to use my niece mini scooter. trys her bike and baby bikes. Kids are sponges, you just got to know what you put in front of them. Like when he watches tv i at least make sure it teaches something, like Dora or Diego, he loves trying to say the spanish words. And thanks Jamie you make me feel like i am not to far off, cause i do get tired and feel like i dont do enough for him.
As a middle school teacher, it makes me sad to see 6th graders coming into middle school not knowing how to write a paragraph. And it especially makes me sad when I hear Kindergarten teachers complaining that kids don’t previously know the information that they should be learning in Kindergarten.
Hi as a mom i a hard time trying to teach my daughter she very sure that she knows everything. but shes getting her letter mixed up and shes about to start school this year do you have a trick to get her to learn them with out seeming like i am telling her shes wrong?
What makes ME sad is that little children who should be playing and having fun are being taught as if they were in school already. What kind of society has this become? Children should learned how to read IN school/Kindergarten, yet I constantly see people teaching their kids reading before K. Flashcards with toddlers? 5 MONTHS olds in Preschool?? Doing HOMEWORK? Am I the only one who is appalled by this? Talking, reading, drawing and playing with them should be more than enough at that age. Of course you do “teach” things are they come up but there is so much time for kids to do formal learning, they only get to be little once. My son is in the first grade and I NEVER went out of my way to teach him. We went to the library every week, did art projects, read, went to the park. The vast majority of the things on this list can be learned just by interacting with your child. And reciting the alphabet? How is that a skill? You could teach any child to recite it and not know what the heck it means.
The United States is very far behind many other industrialized countries in reading scores. The country that scores the highest is Finland. Their secrets? They do not teach reading until a child is 6.5 years old. They have scheduled recess every day so that the children can run and play. They also have a shorter school day than we do. One more thing – teachers are respected as professionals, while in the US everyone feels that they know exactly what a teacher should be doing, and how they should be doing it. Stop pushing your children to read before they are ready. As for writing names, children need to go through 80 stages of scribbling before they can form letters. Their hands are not fully ossified until they are in the first grade or so. These are children to be enjoyed and loved – not the entrants in the “I Am A Better Mother Than You Are” contest!
Amen, Meg Ross. I want to be your friend.
coming from the US my self I completely agree. :) very well said.
My son was more than prepared. I worked with him and told him how well he did. His first teacher’s conference, I was so caught off guard. The teacher told me that my son told her that he did things well. She told me she had a conversation with him about the BIG I. Her brother called himself the BIG I and thought so much of himself. I nearly left the conference in tears. My son is now 31 and I still feel the sting. I wish I had been more bold and believe me, I have been holding this in for so many years and it still hurt. I wish I had stood up and told her to KISS MY ASS.. Believe me, I ma not usually disrespectful but that was so painful. She went to 2nd grade and my daughter was assigned to her class. I filled out a paper and said my daughter was to moved from her class. I had to give a reason. I wrote, “We had her once and we will NOT be having her again!” All his other teachers were very good! He is now a video game designer!
I honestly don’t even understand this comment. The teacher said your son was arrogant?
my nephew is going to have a hard time his first year of school he was premature and is almost 4 and is not speaking single words he still makes baby sounds
Mrs.P, thank you for your comment! You are right that preschool is not necessary. My children’s’ elementary school looks at me as if I am evil because my kids didn’t go to preschool. But they are shocked when my kids arrive and they are a head of the kids who did go to preschool. It really doesn’t even take much to teach a child at home.
Hi I am a homeschooling mother of a five year old boy. He turned five in Sept. so he still falls in the pre-k category. I homeschooled our five grown daughters and never had any trouble teaching them to recognize the letters of the alphabet or their sounds. For some reason we are getting no where with this but his understanding in all the other areas are great. I’ve heard boys and girls learn differently but I need any advice you may can give me that would help. Thanks in advance..
I am sure it is very helpful for you, but not all children are developmentally ready for what is included on this list.
The problem lies with the fact that parents are not doing any of the work prior to sending their students to Kindergarten. Yes it is possible for them to continue learning this skill in Kindergarten however it is not a requirement of Kindergarten Teachers to be teaching them this skill that is to be taught to them before coming to Kindergarten. The fact is that Kindergarten is no longer a pre-school setting it is Kindergarten and as a Kindergarten teacher we are required to be teaching so much more academic standards and not so much with skills that can be taught prior to coming to kindergarten, but teaching them skills that require thinking such as problem solving and solutions. Yes, tying your shoes is problem solving in a way but those skills should have been taught during pre-school, pre-k, and home settings. It’s very frustrating as a Kindergarten teacher as well as a mother of 6 children myself that it is believed by parents that we are to teach their children below basic skills when in reality they are to be taught yet not quite mastered by the time they get into kindergarten. As a parent I am required and it is my job to ensure that my children will be successful in school whether it be kindergarten or up. It is our jobs as parents to be teaching our children basic and below basic learning skills, such as tying shoes, using the restrooms, washing hands, etc… I have had to deal with students urinating and having bowel movements in my classroom due to the fact that students are so low leveled learners when they come in to me that they don’t know enough to communicate and let someone know that they need to use the bathroom. This is due to the lack of structure and the requirements of kindergarten to maintain structure for longer periods of their days. I could talk about all the things I have experienced as a Kindergarten teacher that have to do with what parents should be doing for their children before sending them to Kindergarten but don’t have nearly enough time nor energy. Parents just need to be parents and stop relying on the fact that they believe it is the teachers job to raise their children. We are educators not parents of your children and that is our job. Parents have jobs too and should take responsibility for some of the reasons why their student’s aren’t successful in school. I go way out of my to ensure that ALL my students are taught appropriate skills at the Kindergarten levels but when they come to me with no prior knowledge don’t expect the Kindergarten teacher to perform miracles and then say she/he isn’t doing their job.
If the children come to Kindergarten fully educated at this level, what would they be taught? I didn’t go crazy ‘home schooling’ either of my children prior to Kindergarten. I figured that was the teachers job. They were both honor roll students and both graduated. One went on to college. I felt having them socialized and more emotionally prepared for Kindergarten was more important.
Í think you are right my son is ready to go to kinder garden and I been working with him for it and as much as I will like to be ready he still is having a little hard time .. he is eager to learn but and I worry women times but I know the potential is there he wants school and I think working whit them at home help them be ready to all the new things they can learn and do for themself and give then confidence
There are number of articles and books in online to teach the children but most of books won’t get the full benefits for our child. When I had discussion with my professor he referred one of the book to my son and I read fully and I followed the technique now my son able to read and write within 2 years and 10 months old , Now I am very happy to share this guide to other parents
Refer the guide from here here >> ( go2l.ink/guide )
All the best.
@Oona, it really isn’t. I’m a pre-k teacher and I know we certainly hope that the children go out of pre-k knowing and being able to do all the things on that list and more.
but what of those parents who cant afford Pre-K? Yes sit at home and teach them yourself I get that…but when we work and go to school full time majority of our “free time” is on homework…Suggestions PLEASE.
There are often Pre-K programs set up for families who have financial difficulty, such as Head Start. It’s definitely worth looking into. As a kindergarten teacher, I fully support what many of the other teachers have posted. Even simply reading to your child and then having him or her tell you what happened in the story, having them color, counting, anything helps. It is often all too apparent which children come into class at the beginning of kindergarten and have not had enough time doing activities with adults in their lives. Many times, if a child comes in not knowing how to count or not knowing any letters, it’s a clear red flag that they’re already at risk of retention (being held back), even though they haven’t started kindergarten. Standards for kindergarten have increased dramatically and in many places, the children should be writing at least two complete sentences with a corresponding picture by the end of the year, not to mention many of the other skills they have to master. Try to have a maximum of thirty minutes in front of the tv or playing video games each day. There are short educational movies, such as the Letter Factory, which will help your child learn the letters and letter sounds. The rest of the time they should be playing outside, coloring, practicing cutting, writing letters, attempting to write their name, building with blocks, building shapes out of play-do, doing puzzles, etc. While some of these activities may not seem academic, they help build their curiosity, critical thinking, and develop their fine-motor skills (small muscle coordination, especially in their fingers). A lot of these activities they can do fairly independently, so while you’re doing things around the house, your child can be practicing these skills. Social skills are also critical in kindergarten, so set up play dates or other times when your child can interact with others. This is just a starter set of ideas, but just remember that time invested in your child now will positively impact him or her for the rest of his/her life. Your child is depending on you to provide them with the necessary skills in order to be successful in school. They can’t do it themselves!
These are fantastic suggestions. I am logging them for when my baby is older. Right now he is 5 months old and we do things like tell him he is holding a green doggy, point to objects and say their names, and count through the song “The Ants Go Marching.” What we cannot seem to master is getting him to be still for even a short book. I have memorized a few of his books and recite them to him but it is not the same. He does (go figure) like to watch Jeopardy and my husband reads the clues out loud as well as the answers. Hubby reads the answers because we mute the tv so my baby can feed in relative quiet. But hubby reading from the tv is not the same thing (is it?). What could you suggest we do to interest him? I am of the school that it is never too young to start…
My son is 5, so I could just not be remembering correctly, but at 5 months I don’t know that you should be concerned. I would often read to my son at night when I was rocking him. At 5 months I think it’s more about the time you spend with them and make them feel loved. I remember reading to him at night was one of my favorite things to do. It was my quiet alone time with him. Night time is probably just better since he/she is probably relaxed and will be still for a longer period and most likely will fall asleep to your voice. Enjoy this time, they get big so fast!!
I’m glad you found some ideas that you will be able to use with your son! I agree that it’s never too early to get kids started on learning. At 5 months, one of the best things you can do for your son is to just to talk to him about whatever is going on around him! He will learn so much just by listening to you. Sitting for books can be difficult for babies, but he’s right around the age where he should be getting interested in listening to short books. There are many board or cloth books available for little ones that have things that they can touch and feel (fuzzy sheep or bumpy snake skin, etc.). Other books have flaps that they can lift, which will likely keep him more entertained. Try something simple, like Goodnight Moon and look for simple books with bright colors and shapes. Reading before you put him to bed is an excellent idea. It will help get him into the pattern of knowing he will have a short story read to him and then it’s time to sleep. Reading is also a very calming activity. He’s still little, so don’t expect too much of him, but you’re definitely on the right track. I know his future kindergarten teacher will thank you! :)
Make games out of learning basics. Get flash cards and write simple flash cards on them.. You can make up your own game, or what I did, was put masking tape on the backs, and put them word out in a big square on an empty wall area. I told Jacob what the words were, (there were only like 10 or 15 at first) and then asked him to go pick me out certain words from the wall.. Even if you’re crunched for time, when you DO play or see your kiddos, make it educational and fun.
My husband and I both work full-time. He is a student and we have a 5 month old baby. We also cannot afford most Pre-K programs but make too much to qualify for Head Start. As an alternative, we have our son in a “pre-k” program through our local park district. It is very inexpensive! On the downside, I do not feel that all of his needs are met through this program. He is learning the very important basics of interaction with his fellow students and with his teacher. They aren’t really teaching him much he didn’t already know, but I figure it is good reinforcement for him and he needs the time out of the house to just be a kid. All in all, it is definitely worth the minimal charge. We just try to continue what he is doing at school into our daily activities at home. One thing that works for us is putting him at the table with tracing sheet (printed a bunch off of the internet for free) and having him do his “homework” while daddy is also doing homework. We also take full advantage of what little free time we have–going to the park, library, children’s museum, botanical gardens, etc. Hope this helps…hang it in there!! It will be worth it in the end!!!!
Rhiannon, what you do with the worksheets is awesome. A friend of mine was complaining to me that her son’s teacher sends home way too many worksheets and they just go right in the garbage. She has no idea she should be looking over his work and going over it with him. It’s very sad for the child, and she wonders why he has a hard time in school. It’s because at home he is sitting in front of video games and the TV. So so sad.
First of all you are being an example of learning to your child! Way to go! Going to school yourself is such an example to children of why school is important. Pre K is expensive. Its worth it. If you can’t afford it look into subsidized programs. They exist and are very well run in most cases. I love letting my daughter play on the computer some http://www.starfall.com is the best! They now have more.starfall.com for about 35 dollars a year. It is a worthwhile investment. Your child gets some basic skills like letters, numbers etc plus the added bonus of learning computer skills. Add colors and numbers into your routine. i.e. how many apple slices do you want? 3 okay count to 3 with me. Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt? A thing a lot of parents don’t realize is that if you read aloud to them and have literature in the home they are already so far ahead! Most of all (this is something I wish I had realized as a working mom) don’t spend your time you do have with them feeling guilty. You have to work and go to school to support your family. I spent a lot of my time feeling bad for what I WASN’T doing and didn’t realize what I WAS doing.
Oh my goodness…we LOVE Starfall. My son was a crier. He cried all the time…except when something was moving and singing on a screen. We have been doing starfall since my son was a little less than two…and by 24 months, he was both identifying uppercase and lowercase, but he also had learned what each of the letters ‘said’ AND he can identify what letter words start with…He is now 3 (in two days) and he is sounding out words and recognizes alot of sight words…Starfall sets an awesome foundation!! He is using it to count and learn math now…its a great tool… (I sit with him while he does it but I encourage him to learn it, instead of giving him the answers…) Well worth the money for us…
read with your child each night or at least 5 nights per week. Turn off the radio in the car and talk about the things you see outside while you drive. Turn off the TV and spend 10 mins playing with them. Fix them a cabinet they can safely play in while you work in the kitchen so you can talk to them, sing to them. Bath time is a great time to sing silly songs and talk with your child. You would be suprised what that will do for them. Say things like now we are going to fill up the bath tub, now lets check the water, etc.
Just remember people used to get their kids ready for life and school with no TV etc. My grandmother’s parents worked a share croppers farm picking cotton and she went to school then to college. You can do it! Believe in you and your kiddo!!!
Gloria!! You are so right about turning off all the visual bombardment that these hypnotising web site’s that cater to preschoolers have!! In the classroom, the teacher will not be dancing, singing, flashing lights or juggling! Teach your child to listen to your voice, to sit and put a puzzle together with you, count a group of plastic animalsm sort coins.. the list is endless…but it is interaction with a human being and not a computer!!!
it is very possible, I raised 5 children and went to college full time for 7 years to finish my teaching degree at the age of 35. yes we are busy people that don’t give us an excuse to not raise and teach our own children.
I was really surprised to see the long list of things. As someone else said, what about not being able to afford daycare?? My son is pretty smart for not being in a daycare. We also got him a pre K book to work on here at home but there is alot that he has not learned yet. Ughh. Also like someone else said, they should be learning some of this stuff in school. There really is no point to send them to pre K then if they have to know all that stuff before going?? Right??
Did you read the list. most of the things on the list are basic social skills.
Pre-K is wonderful! It gets them ready and in the “school rountine”. I helps to get them adjusted to what school is really about!
I was referring to Tisha’s comment about “There really is no point to send them to pre K then if they have to know all that stuff before going”
And I think sending them to Pre-K is wonderful!! As a K teacher I can really tell a difference in the kids that go to Pre-K (or a structured daycare center) and the kids that have not. They seem to understand the school routine better
I’m really appalled at the amount of people posting who just don’t get the point of the article: spend time with your young children and engage them! Both of my parents worked full time when I was young but they made sure my care takers/family/nanny/pre-school/what have you, were teaching me these things when my parents weren’t watching me. I’m 23 and I don’t have a child, I’m not expecting, but I will say that when I do have a child I’ll be damned if they can’t write their own name or identify shapes by the age of five. 71 things in five years isn’t a lot, people. Quit making excuses about daycare. You can teach your children these things on your own and quite frankly I believe that as a parent, you should. It isn’t a daycare’s responsibility.
If you think about it, 5 years is 1,825 days. Divide that by 71 things to teach them and that gives you about a month to go over just ONE concept with your child. That’s not even taking into account that children learn multiple skills by doing just one activity.
Exactly! My son is 2 1/2 and can do many of these things. Like someone else said, even just reading to them at night will help them a lot. I did this when I was working and in school. It’s not that hard, I promise.
Agree! This list seems very easy. My son is not even 3 1/2 and most everything on the list…he is starting to work on the fine moter stills things (writing his name on his own, etc). It is amazing how much little ones learn!
Casey is right. You don’t need day care or even preschool to teach your children these things, all you have to do is spend the time that you have interacting with them and teaching them about life as they live it. I worked full time and went to school full time with two small children and both of my girls knew most of the things on this list at 3 years old, and the rest at 4. We would spend the time driving in the car together singing ABC’s, counting, recognizing colors and shapes and playing games like I spy. My kids also watch educational programs like Word World and Super Why that I feel gave them a head start with sight words and spelling, so I don’t think TV is bad in moderation, but if you use even TV time wisely, and read at least a book a day to your child, you will be on the right track. Children are capable of so much more than you think, and Kindergarden will be more demanding than you expect. I am 31 years old, and I volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarden class every week. Those kids are learning things that I know I didn’t learn until 2nd or 3rd grade. So don’t let yourself be surprised when you walk into that Kindergarden class room for the first time. Educate your self now, so you can be a part of your child’s education. Parent involvement makes the difference!
Thank You! Parent involvement is HUGE and I am seeing that a lot of parents dont care enough to make that kind of time. But by God those kids can work an Iphone/Itouch better then they can hold a pencil or crayon.
With Common Core coming I advise your child know more than that..sad but true. By the end of kindergarten (starting in 2014) they need to be able to count to 100..Kindergarten is the new first grade.
I thought that was already the standard. I guess if i put my son in Public school He would be in good shape. LOL!
Absolutely true thank you for knowing and understanding Common Core requirements. Wished all parents would educate themselves on common core.
My two year old, who is almost 3, can do most of those things and has never spent a day in daycare or preschool. My 4 year old, is way beyond most of the requirements and had at least mastered the rest. If you spend time with your children reading to them and teaching them then none of those things should be an issue.
I think this is a long list…but a lot of these things my kid already knows or has known for a long while and has exceeded. He will be five the end of this month.
As a kindergarten teacher, this list is just the beginning. It makes me sad to see children coming into kindergarten unprepared and struggle to catch up. Some students come in unable to hold a pencil or form letters, while others know all of their letters and many letter sounds.
Parents need to be more aware of the forever changing expectations for our students in all grade levels. A lot of this information can easily be found through searching on the internet. The majority of the states have adopted the same standards, known as the Common Core Standards. This is a link to the website: http://www.corestandards.org/
You can see which states have adopted and which states have not. In the near future, it will most likely be all states as we try to align standards so that all students are equally prepared.
As a teacher, I try to help my parents understand that school is nothing like it was when we were in school. Please look and see what children are expected to know by the end kindergarten as well as other grade levels. At times, it is still unbelievable to me but if they are prepared and are willing to work hard they can exceed these expectations.
Common Core is a nightmare and should be tossed out of the system
I agree! Let me guess, students who don’t fit this mold will have teachers who tell their parents there must be something mentally/medically wrong with them and they must be put on medication. Kids learn at different rates and the way Kindergarten is set up these days is sickening! Sure, many students may have out grown nap time, but there are also many who probably have not. This lack of sleep and time to turn off their brain can cause over stimulation and lead to the child having symptoms like ADD/ADHD. It is time we stop acting like children are not independent people who have their own personalities, needs and development, when they most definitely are!
I’m so glad my little sis is ready!!!! I’ve been teaching her since she was like 3 about to be 4 !! Hope she remembers all of it!!
Putting on and tying their shoes. Buttoning, zipping, and snapping their clothes is also very important. As a teacher, I think children attending pre-school for atleast one year is a must! They need to start developing their social skills before Kindergarten. Play dates a couple of hours a week or a weekly visit to a play area is NOT sufficient enough.
My 3 year old can do all of these. I think this is not too much to ask of a kindergartner. If this is too much for a 5 year old, then maybe we need to look at the parenting skills and make improvements there.
I disagree with some of what was said. We DO NOT expect that children will know all of their letters before arrival to Kindergarten. What are we saying if we talk about “pre-requisites” to the beginning of school. Many immigrant students do not even have command of the English language. By posting this in such a way that parents believe their children need to have these skills before entering we put parents and then consequentially, the children under stress. Perhaps we should look at what environments Kindergarten classrooms should provide to support growth in these areas. Are the Kindergarten students ready for school or rather are the Kindergarten classrooms ready for the students? Schools need to create places that include all students regardless of their home lives or their”pre-readiness” skills – a place where we promote -“emergent literacy opportunities” – viewing each child as whole and capable beings rather than people with below level achievement skills upon arrival.
Janice, as a fourth grade teacher, I appreciate your comments regarding Kinders. We cannot guarantee that each student has the necessary skills for success, but our job is to create learning environments in the classroom and to support the parents in their role as their child’s first “teacher.”
I do too!!! my boy is five I do read and write and count with him. He knows right from wrong and knows how to listen and sing his ABC’s right. and that should be good enough
My son just started Kindergarten, that being said I’m a little confused as to what purpose Kindergarten is for? If my child knows how to do everything on this list (our Kindergarten wants him to read 15 minutes only each day!) what WILL he learn??? I guess teachers don not teach anymore and are just qualified to give tests. That being said if I’m to be completely responsible for my child’s education why bother sending him to school?
As a former teacher and now a parent, I humbly urge you to reconsider your attitude towards teachers. Teachers go through extensive training (many have their Master’s degrees in addition to the required Bachelor’s degree) and have to keep up with the professional development required by each state to keep up their licensure. Although there may be a few bad apples here and there, most teachers are very hard working professionals who care DEEPLY for the children they teach and work their rear ends off. Like it or not, expectations and standards are changing…and that certainly isn’t the teacher’s fault. Kindergarten has become much more like what first grade used to be. The truth is: kids who come in without the “basics” (letters, sounds, numbers, etc) will have a hard time catching up with the fast pace of kindergarten.
And yes, I believe that we, as parents, must take more responsibility for our child’s education and work hand-in-hand with the school to help our children succeed. It’s not just the schools job, it is ultimately ours.
When you list it all out it does sound like a lot. But when you really think about them they are just the developmental milestones they should be crossing anyway. Some kids will havet hem all down and others will only have some but close to having the rest.
I really think it depends on the child. Every child learn at their own speed. Do not feel like you are a bad parent if you are doing all that you can to help your child. They all have things that draw their attention. Weather that is reading, the moon, playing dress up, dancing, or playing with Lego. They are learning and that is what is important. Yes it is great if they have all of these things when they get to Kindergarten but some kids simply will not. They have no interest in learning them or have a difficult time learning them. My son went to a very expensive college day care and is very smart, did a lot of these things at a very young age but still had problems learning some areas. As a teacher you should not be judging these parents. You do not know what they have tried to do for their child! I do not feel it is appropriate. Just because a child does not have it going into kindergarten does not mean they will not get it. It all clicks at different speeds for children.
As a current kindergarten teacher that list is correct. Kindergarten students are now learning to add and subtract before Christmas break. They are also learning approximately 70 – 90 sight words and expected to write complete simple sentences correctly without help. By May they need to generate 8 word sentences and 5 sentence paragraphs on topic. Kindergarten is not what it used to be.
My just turned 3 year old (April 18) can do all of this, knows sight words and can write her name!
My daughter learned all these things in Pre-K at four years old. They are suppose to be able to read 105 sight words in Kindergarten. She has learned 50 of them in Pre-K. I’m suppose to work on the rest during the summer break. I thought this was a lot for my child to learn but she is keeping up and doing well. I’m not sure how well Kindergarten will be. I think she will be bored. Kindergarten is going to be a repeat of what they already learned in Pre-K.
I see some people saying that this is a lot. It’s not a lot. These are basic skills that should be learned through play and interaction with your children. Every moment has the potential to be a learning experience, and to not take that time, you are missing out on the most wonderful moments of your child’s childhood. It’s not just them who loses by you not reading to them, counting with them, talking about shapes and colors, or even just singing a song. You lose too. I’m a full time teacher, and I know that when I tell my child that I am “too busy grading” to spend time with him, I get the blunt end of the sword. I have to force myself to stop, rethink, and make the time… even if it makes my next day that much harder. We bring them into the world… we take on the responsibility of their first teacher… as well as doctor, chef, cheuffer, (the list goes on). Again… it’s not a lot… just spend time with your children and it will all fall into place.
It is not a lot for a kindergartener to know. It is really just basic. If you are sharing the world with your child, talking with them about the world around them and reading to them daily this is really an easy list for them to master. Kids are sponges we got to present them with good stuff to soak in.
This seems like a lot, but it’s really not. In Kindergarten, teachers would like to move forward into “Sight words” and “Phonics” territory, and in order to get there, they expect parents to have worked with their children at home even a little bit. The faster they can get these basic steps down, the faster your child will pick things up. And trust me, my Daughter is BORED in school now because she and half of the class are waiting on the other half of the class to learn the alphabet. The alphabet! Are you kidding me?
This is what’s expected for todays kindergarteners. Parents are a child’s first teachers. You have them 24/7 for 5 years before they enter kindergarten, have them prepared.
Me to my little sister is 3 years old and I really want to help her so when she goes to school she understand what the teacher is teaching about and I am jus 11 years old
if you put into consideration that they have approximately 8 months to learn it whilst in pre-k it isn’t. if you’re doing the teaching on your own it can be exhausting. Also remember that they don’t have to know it all but yes a lot of it. (:
I’m not sure I agree with the heading: “things to know” refers to declarative knowledge but most things on the list are procedural knowledge. To my mind, I’d prefer “your child needs to be able to do”.
I think that’s a lot for a kindergartner! That sounds to me like the end of kindergarten….
I didn’t make it up! I took it straight out of the Pre-K assessment back when I was student teaching (in 2005).
A pre-assessment does not mean that all students will have those skills upon arrival. The screening process is to inform teachers on where students are and to move them forward throughout the year. Again I have to stress the importance of not stressing parents and students in not being “ready” for Kindergarten. We know now that children’s social and cultural contexts are huge factors in growth and development. Students who come to school with little or no English will not fair well on these types of screening. Does that mean they should NOT come to school? We must begin to look at creating spaces for children that honor their abilities and encourage individual growth along the continuum of learning.
Speaking as a first grade teacher in California, I can tell you that Kinder students are now expected to be reading 25-30 sight words, short vowel words, writing sentences, adding with and without objects, counting and writing numbers to 30 (though most work on counting to 100) among other standards. The only things I wish students had more time for was cutting, gluing, and playing. Our students lack the fine motor skills and gross motor skills needed because they don’t have the time to really develop them.
Whaaaat! 25-30 Sight words? Is that a STATE requirement, or is that a “my school made up this requirement because they want to be NUMBER one! ” that is RIDICULOUS! Children are 5, 5!! That is completely developmentally appropriate.
And yet they can’t put on shoes (fine motor) or play outside (social, emotional, Gross Motor)
I know of a 4 year old that can read the entire English alphabet, SIGN the English alphabet and read the entire Hiragana alphabet (one of the two alphabets in Japanese consisting of over 35 characters). He reads like the Average American first grader is expected to read. I don’t think having high expectations for the intelligence of your child is ridiculous, and you would be shocked at what can be “developmentally appropriate” depending on your family and the culture in which you live.
I have twin boys in kindergarten here in Georgia. They are expected to know 40 sight words, have weekly spelling tests, can tell time, and are expected to be able to write a five sentence paragraph. This is a pretty common National requirement.
Yup, that is what Chicago public schools expects you to know coming in to kindergarten, sight words out the wazoo. And that is why we removed our kids from Chicago Public Schools and put them in a private school where the ideal requirements were more along the lines of those in the original post. Kindergarteners in most public schools are now expected to do what is developmentally appropriate for mid year first graders, get a young kindergartener in there and it’s a recipe for disaster.
As a kindergarten teacher, this original list is totally appropriate for students coming into kindergarten. Of course, not all students will have mastered all of these skills, but they should have a good start on them. Knowing these skills does prepare them well for what they will learn in kindergarten. By the END of kindergarten, our students are expected to identify all upper and lower case letters, tell all the letter sounds (including long and short vowels), count to 100, write all numbers up to 30, read at least 60 sight words, identify first sounds in words, segment short words into individual sounds, identify and create 5 pattern types, and read simple sentences (using sight words). They also need to be able to “sound out” consonant-vowel-consonant words and write 5 sentences that are all related to the same topic (using a picture). This is why students need to come in knowing the stuff on the list. If they don’t, they’ll struggle. Also, as stated above in many posts, the list is not that difficult. Simply spending time with your child and reading one story to them a day is SUPER helpful. These skills will help your child in the future and give them a good knowledge base to build upon. If your child starts school already behind, then they will never enjoy school because it will be a constant struggle for them. Never underestimate what your child can do and is capable of; they will surprise you!
Jacqueline- it’s true- most reading basal programs have sight words as part of their curriculum. We use Scott Foresman Reading Street at our school and there are 40 sight words for Kindergarten. My first year, I was like- Are you kidding??!! But it really is possible and the kids feel pretty awesome about themselves when they learn those words.
Not only that but it steam rolls and they get really excited about reading and realizing that they can read those sight words they want to learn more.
I’m a Kindergarten teach and a parent. I teach in a private school and our school uses the A Beka curriculum. My students are reading long and short vowel words, know between 60 and 75 sight words, know several special sounds (i.e. “ch”, “sh”, etc.), can count to 100, add up to 10, know all shapes and colors, have learned how many oceans and continents are in the world, and have worked on fine motor skills (i.e. cutting). They also learn to write in cursive. As a teacher, I am very proud of the progress that my students make each year. It’s amazing what a child can learn when you are willing to work with them and their parents are involved. Most of the parents are working parents and still MAKE time to work with their children.
My son is 4 and is doing many of the things listed above. He loves to learn and asks questions about everything. Just by answering his questions I am able to teach him. His vocabulary is amazing (using words like inappropriate and necessary) and his reading is coming along nicely. We started reading to him when he was still in the womb and have never stopped. Even if we are very busy, which happens often with our schedules, we read at least 2 books before we put him to bed. He does not have a video game and we do not have cable. During the week, he is restricted to 2 hours of videos (for the whole week) and the videos he watches must be educational. I find that his imagination benefits from these standards although it might be easier to put him in front of a TV sometimes. I wish people would realize that, when you have children, you have to be ready to sacrifice what you want and your personal time for their benefit. We aren’t perfect, by any means, we just want what is best for him and are willing to MAKE the time to help him.
When my son was in public school kinder, (2004) the kids had to be able to read 30 words a minute by the end of the school year. That was in Texas . 25-30 sight words is very attainable for any child in kinder.
This is a state requirement for many states! Kindergarten isn’t what it used to be. It’s more like 1st grade
I’m a Kindergarten teacher in GA and we’re teaching our students a list of 100 sight words. The GA standard says that when leaving Kindergarten the student is expected to read at a rate of 30 words per minute,. Here is a full list of GA standards for Kindergarten (on reading and language arts). https://www.georgiastandards.org/standards/Georgia%20Performance%20Standards/Kindergarten-GPS.pdf As the other teachers have said, this list is what we expect students to come in with. As others said, most of the things on that list can come from simply spending high-quality time with your child.
It sounds like a lot, but in reality kids are already learning a lot of these things day by day. With just short amounts of working on things daily, a kid can be caught up to all of these easily.
When you think about it kindergarten used to be only half day and most of that was play time. Now our kindergartners are expected to complete worksheets etc. I think this article is spot on.
how can you possibly think that this list is what is expected after kindergarten are you serious. These are all basic things that children learn through play and reading my children learned their colors through reading the book brown bear brown bear what do you see. They learn counting by books like 10 red apples or by singing songs. Hand a child a piece of paper and some paper and they will cut it into tiny pieces and spend forever doing and will soon learn how to hold scissors. Give children some paper, glue and maybe some tape and they will turn it into a masterpiece and over time will realize how much glue to use when gluing something. Sound out words when reading and read ABC books and they will learn the sounds. All of this can be learned by PLAYING with your child and they will love it. Give them a bucket of water and a pile of toys and soon they will now all about things that float and what sink. Get your children away from the tv and they will learn.
This is the list of what is expected of incoming Kindergarten students, not a kiddo heading to first grade.
This list is actually perfect. I am a kindergarten teacher in Tennessee and we follow the new Common Core standards. It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to teach the basics plus the required standards. My students must know 75 sight words, write at least three consecutive sentences, and read on a Fountas and Pinnell level C book before they can move on to First Grade!
Thanks for the list I will be passing it out at pre registration this year!!
I agree with you, Dana! I teach kindergarten in Washington and we expect all of these things from our kiddos coming into K. Without the prior knowledge, children can have a difficult transition into K. This is a good list to hand out to families at Round-Up. My team and I created one that is helpful for parents, but I feel this list is that much more in-depth.
Thank you to the author for this post!
Same here, Laurie. I’m a K teacher in Indiana and we are also following the Common Core Standards. I will be giving a list to parents that is very similar to this at our K screening meeting.
As a kindergarten teacher, I can tell you that this list is very accurate for what most students come into kindergarten knowing. Our students are expected to learn 40 sight words plus their color and number words. They are also introduced to about 30 more extension words that most of them master with little difficulty. They must count to 100, identify their numbers to 31, measure using paper clips, add and subtract using objects or pictures, tell time to the hour, name coins and their values, complete a simple graph, retell a story, make personal connections to a story, identify the beginning and ending letters of words, and much more. Kindergarten is no joke! This is not the fun, playtime kindergarten that we all experienced as kids!
These are the same skills I had learned at the end of Pre-School in 1968. These skills are not too much!
It all comes down to parents taking responsibiblty for their children. These are the minimal necessities. Any child who comes to Kindergarten without these skills is at a huge disadvantage. They have to be reading and writing at the end of Kindergarten. This is the reality! I have been an educator for 25 years working with Pre-K through 5th grade.
Parneting is our 1st responsibility. Schools are for not a substitution for parenting.
PS…. Don’t send your child to school without being able to write their own name.
My kid is starting preschool in the fall and she doesn’t know how to write her name. I’m feeling pretty okay with that. She will learn how to do it WHEN SHE IS READY.
Your child will enter Kindergarten functioning BELOW grade level from day one if your child does not know these skills. Then the entire year is spent trying to “catch up” with the others, which rarely happens.When children in Alabama enter the First grade, they are expected to be reading and reading fairly well, not just “sounding out” the words. Some children enter public school and don’t even know their full name…they just know a nickname! They cannot take care of bathrooming needs, cannot recognize and name even one color, and are unable to hold a pencil. We have even had non-verbal children come to school who do not speak! Many parents think if their child can “sing” the ABC song then they know their letters! I am a retired Kindergarten teacher of 33 yrs.
Thinking it’s right on! Things are mover faster at school than ever. I think sight words should be on the list for Pre-K. Most kids are reading level 1 books before they start Kinder.
The list listed is right on and are all prek standards that we expect our students to be able to do when they leave prek. I teach Pre-k in a school system and our school doesn’t want us to teach sight words in Prek. However, instead of sight words, students need to know sounds and be able to decode words as well as nonsense words. Being successful with decoding leads to phonetic success and to actually being able to read through sounding out instead of being a sight word reader.
I agree that sight words are not necessary for Pre-K students. It is much more beneficial for children to have phonemic awareness so that they have the ability to decode words. Great list!
It is true that they need phonemic awareness, but I think we have drastically changed the term of sight word from words that cannot be sound out phonemically (which is why they just need to be memorized) to common words – words we see a lot. While it is important for kids to have those memorized, I feel like that just comes with natural reading practice. Sight words that cannot be sound out phonemically should be worked on more. Words like some.
And honestly, I think we rely too much on listed sight words. While many of those words are important, we should also remember that sight words should be common words they see a lot… like the names of the other students.
While many children are capable of knowing many site words before Kindergarten, I don’t think it should be on a list of *need to know*. Many countries (with very high literacy rates) leave formal literacy teaching until children are 6 or 7 and focus more on skills such as learning initial letter sounds, rhyming, and fun with language. I think it would give the wrong focus to expect children to come into Kindergarten knowing site words already.
As a home schooling mom of 4, there is far too much emphasis on academics at early age. People forget that early reading is NOT a predictor of success.
Absolutely! If I remember right, Finland is #1 for reading. They begin formal reading instruction at age 7. Though it seems late to us, the children are absolutely solid and ready to read by the time that happens. I really like their approach.
The thing is, Finnish is a language that is easier to learn to read than English. Why? Because it’s not entirely made of loanwords and has a pretty consistent phonemic structure. English has five major languages/language groups from which the majority of words are borrowed; however, there are many, many, many other words that are also borrowed from languages other than those five languages. Knowing how to read and pronounce words from Greek etymological origins is not going to help knowing how to read and pronounce words from Romance origins, Germanic origins or Sanskrit origins, all of which happen to show up very commonly in English.
Finland also spends a lot of time and money recruiting teachers who are at the top educational levels and pays them well to be great educators. Comparatively, the United States is pretty good at not giving teachers decent wages, encouraging the top academic performers to become teachers, and providing an environment in which teachers are rewarded for doing a good job instead of being threatened with unemployment based on high-stakes testing. This is not an apples to apples situation.
My child is freaking brilliant. He is two and recognizes the alphabet, can sound them all out, and can do them in sign language. He can count. He is learning the words “add” and “subtract.” I have no idea how he learned all these things to the level of proficiency he has. I guess his daycare helps him with somethings and we play games with other things. That being said, I would much rather spend my time letting him play and be a kid. He thinks learning is fun, so we play it as a game. If my daughter thinks learning is icky, then we won’t push it.
I guess the whole point though is that a child is learning all the time, they are intrinsically motivated to learn. It is us adults that make the mistake of making learning a chore by pushing inappropriate activities on them & sucking the fun out of discovery.
At a young age they learn best through play. Because of this we need to think about the activities we present to them & how we present it. There is more to learn than just the academics- far more complex things that require more practice and thought. Such as human interaction & emotional intelligence. For some reason people get hung up on reading & writing and feel like it is the most important thing they can “teach” their child. We don’t even need to sit children at a table to teach them about letters & numbers, they are surrounded by them: “Can you go and get me two apples please? One for each hand?” “Oh look at that sign, it has the same letter as your name” There are informal and relevant opportunities to help children make sense of the world around them every day, with context and as things capture their interest. Capitalising on teachable moments, rather than interrupting their play to “teach” them something.
They don’t need flash cards, or worksheets or ‘Teach your baby to read’ ever, let alone at a preschool age.
I guess what I would like people to say is: “Don’t push your child through developmental stages. Allow them to be a kid while they are a kid. Sprinkle numbers and letters into your playtime, and don’t go overboard with it because children naturally want to learn. Emphasize pleases, thank yous, and how are yous. Don’t bite your friends.” It seems like a lot of American mothers lose focus of the big picture. They want to say “my child can count, my child knows their letters” as if this is some great badge of motherhood. My child did those things wonderfully. But he also struggled with biting his friends and still has problems with fine motor control. Each child is so different, and so wonderfully different at that.
Agree! These are skills that are on my 3 year old’s report card at daycare. I teach Kindergarten in a public school in PA and these kids have to be reading (an easy reader…we use Rigby series) and writing ( at least 3 sentences independently) by the end of the year. Some kinders can already do this . Kindergarten is the new first grade. That being said, all kids develop at different rates. I remember kids who I taught in Kindergarten who were struggling academically, but are now in the gifted program in 5th grade. And on the contrary, my oldest son, who was reading at age 3 and knew numbers past 100, is now in reading support for comprehension and in math support for problem solving in 2nd grade. Grades K-3 are such developmental years. You can’t predict what your child will do or be like. Just enjoy every moment because it all goes by too fast. Know that there will will be strengths and weaknesses and embrace them. Do your best to be an active and involved parent.
i agree!! my daughter is in kindergarten and knew all this and then some before she started school this year!! :) To me counting to 10 is preschool…I dont know thats my opinion. My kindergartener reads books at a 1st grade level, has known her address, phone #, full name and how to write them for well over a year. SHe even started adding back in the summer. :)
My daughter is very much like yours, only thing I am running into is that she has an October birthday and will just be turning 5 this coming October and misses the cutoff for Kindergarten. I am now concerned on how to keep her challenged and yet hope that she can be interested in attending kindergarten and not being pushed aside for already being advance than most of the children that will probably be in her class.
If you stay home with her, why not buy a kindergarten home school curriculum to do with her? If you have a decent school system, they will recognize her advanced skills when she gets there and place her in the class accordingly.
I was in this situation with my September born daughter this past fall. We enrolled her in a Pre-K program to encourage social development, but we also do different things with her at home! There are many online resources for FREE, but also programs you can buy that will guide you through it! She is doing very well and is reading and writing and we still have 6 months until Kindergarten! She loves going to school with her friends, but still wants more when she gets home, so it is working great for us! I have done some research on schools in our area and we are lucky enough to have fantastic magnent schools that use the Project CHild approach which, I feel, helps students in situations such as our own! So look into options in your area, you have lots of time!:-) As the lady before me said, they will test her regardless and (at least in our area) MUST place her where she tests at! Best of luck!
Instead of making statements about/to people without knowing all the facts, lets be supportive. My son just turned 4 and is in his first year of preschool. We recently had a parent-teacher conference and his teacher asked if we do a lot of teaching at home as he is really picking things up quickly and ahead of most of his classmates. We don’t do anything extra at home. We do read a lot and he has several toys that promote learning skills, but we don’t do anything extra. She actually thought we were doing flashcards and stuff since he was an infant with numbers, letters, and shapes because of how well he knows those things. But we didn’t do anything. I think kids should have lots of time to play. I think all we do with him is we read a lot and we talk to him and point out stuff when we’re playing or driving around in the car, which to me is normal parenting. It’s just that our son picks up on things very quickly. My DH is like that too. I’m amazed at the knowledge he has (although having him remember a conversation we had the previous day is another thing). I notice a lot of things, I well tell my child once, he remembers. He asks me how to spell certain words and I spell it once. Then a week later, I ask him and I’m shocked when he spells it back to me. Not hard words, but simple 3/4/5 letter words. And shapes, he probably knows about a dozen shapes, including octagon and hexagon. I told him once and he remembered. So don’t assume that when someone says their child is doing a lot of things at an early age, it’s because they pushed education and never allowed their child to be a kid. Every child learns at different speeds. And just because a child excels in one area, doesn’t mean they are lacking in another.
Well, that’s a HUGE assumption on your part! I am concerned that my daughter will be bored in school, initially. She’s not in Pre-K until this AUG, but will be 5 in mid-SEP and she already knows most (90%) of this list for Kindergartners!
She is also very creative in pretend play, will tell you stories endlessly, makes up songs on a whim, and loves her dance class, as well. She has never had a problem interacting with other children at the park, library, etc.
Please, don’t shoot some parents’ concerns down. None of us know for sure what will happen, but it’s nice to have a place to vent and feel understood.
I teach 2nd grade and it’s amazing at how quickly I can identify the young kids. Most schools really differentiate to meet the needs of all learners, so I wouldn’t overly worry about your child being bored. At the school I teach out, if students come in to kindergarten reading, they have a reading group (at their level) from the beginning. My son is bright and has a June birthday. We will be waiting until he’s 6 for him to start Kindergarten because I believe the skills taught in Kindergarten are more appropriate for the older student. That’s why so many states are changing the Kindergarten cut off date. They know it is getting more difficult and that students need to be a few months older to handle it. If you have concerns, talk with your local school and see what you find out. My guess is you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
As a high school teacher and mother of two, I think having an October birthday and missing the cut off could be a blessing in disguise. Believe it or not high school teachers can often tell the difference between the older and younger students in each class. The older students are often the better students. This also gives them time to be developmentally ready for classes such as algebra and geometry. Some research also points out that older students tend to get more in scholarship money.
Redshirting. They just did a 60 minutes on this.
I fully agree! My daughter is super smart and its not always because of what I have taught her. She is just that way. I am sometimes dumbfounded with the things she comes up with. I feel that my job right now as a parent more than drill and kill is to make sure she has opportunities to socialize. The thing about the super smart kids is that a lot of time they don’t have the social skills that they need to truly be successful in life. I was debating changing my daughter to a more “academic” preschool but decided against it because I wanted her to develop her social skills more fully.
It does sound like alot but it is mostly true. My daughters are 10 years apart. What my oldest did in 1st grade is what my youngest is doing in Kindergarten. Do I agree?? No. I think they are pushing kids too hard. In Kindergarten we learn to read – not write first. Ten years ago it was the opposite. Times have changed. As I mom I was caught off guard considering my first parenting experience. This is a good wake-up call to all those who have no clue what is expected of 5-6 year olds for Kindergarten. Pre-school is becoming a must!
My youngest was not able to do all the above – but is doing well in Kindergarten. So for all those parents that might read this and panic (like I would) BREATHE – it will be ok. :) Kids develop differently because they are individuals.
Thank you for a voice of reason, expecting every child to learn the same way or the same speed is silly. I love the list though, for a mom that had a rude awakening when we switched school districts this past year. I appreciate the list. Gives me some extra idea’s for our summer time activities.
I have taught kindergarten for 3 years, and I think this is a very good list to start. If your child is not able to do a couple of these, that’s not a big deal; however, if this seems extreme or overwhelming for your child, then they are probably not ready for kindergarten. Most of these skills should be covered in a good preschool program.
I agree fully with this list. These are all things that a preschooler/kindergartner should know. Yes, there will be a few things that a child may still need practice with or need help working on, but in general they should have a firm grasp on most of these.
And for those complaining about not being able to afford pre-k, I totally understand that. We’re a military family who spends most of our time on one income because jobs are scarce near bases. (At least those that pay well and are worth putting two kids in daycare for!) HOWEVER…. it is not just the schools/teachers jobs to teach our children, as parents it is our responsibility first!! My son is 5 and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall (His birthday is Dec. 26th so he misses the cutoff date by a few months, which stinks!) and he already knows everything on this list, he is starting to read more than just sight words, he can spell his name, his brothers name, Mom, Dad, Loke (our dogs name), To, From, Dog, Cat, Army and quite a few other words without even having to ask how to spell them. And many other words he can sound out with minimal help! He has also started learning math, addition and subtraction.
Yes, times have changed and kids are expected to know more and take in more knowledge than ever before, but that’s not the schools fault, it’s societies! And honestly, it’s not always a bad thing!! I think people need to stop placing blame on everyone else, and start owning up to the fact that they just don’t want to take responsibility for their child’s education! While I realize that this is not always the case, it commonly is!!
Brandi… sorry, not sure why it posted under your message, I meant to post this as a new thread! Sorry again!
If my child knew how to do all this before going to Kindergarten, he/she wouldn’t need to go anymore (in Belgium we start Kindergarten at 2,5-3 years), he could go straight to primary in a class for the gifted. Even my almost six year old cannot do all the things on this list and he is a bright kid, well adapted to his Kindergarten class (the teacher says).
That is just insane. I don’t think it should matter what a child does or does not do when it comes to some of the things…for instance…makes a pancake, snake, or ball from playdough. YEAH….not going to happen with my 3yr old as it is. He does not like to play with anything that makes his hands dirty. Sensory issue I think here.
My son will be doing Pre-Kinder with our Elementary next year.
Some of these things, like the playdo activities, are not there for the sake of checking them off the list. Doing those things with playdo represents find motor skills and conceptualization skills.
Obviously, if you have sensory issues, that is different. An OT or PT can help greatly with those and progress can be made quickly in some cases.
My son had the same issue. He wouldn’t fingerpaint because it would get on his hands. He still got A’s throughout school, was an Eagle Scout and now is 42 yrs old. He still doesn’t like to get his hands dirty. He’s not obsessive about clean hands but you would never catch him changing the oil in his car.
I also think it’s a good start. I will say that what was “common curriculum” for the start of 1st grade 20 years ago (when I started teaching) is now considered pre-k curriculum. It may not be “right” but it’s reality. I would add to that simple cause and effect (sun makes ice melt) because that is vital to listerning and reading comprehension. I’d also add, that an entering K should be able to write numerals to 10.
I feel much better about my son being ready for KG in August. I was so sad to see that school starts 2 days before he turns 5. My baby’s gonna be 4 when he starts school!! But after reading the list, he seems like he’s going to be ready…. with the exception of his massive energy. thanks for the list.
I think it may seem like a lot because it’s all split up into a list. But if you take an honest assessment of your child, they probably know a lot of this stuff already. Just normal everyday play and reading will teach them most of this stuff.
Not all schools offer Pre-K (my local school in my award-winning school district) does not. And even where they do, they charge $$. Preschool is not an insignificant cost especially if you have 2 children close in age who would be in preschool at the same time. If they have to know all this what on earth ARE they teaching in kindergarten? I have the feeling I will be doing a lot of battles at my kids’ schools…
As a teacher I feel saddened when parents ask questions like this. Parents are parents for a reason. Kids absorb so much before starting school and this list is just a guideline. Of kids are not able and ready to be a contributing member of their class then their learning as well as the learning of others will be limited. If kids come to kindergarten with at least half of the skills on this list they will be fine. Kindergarten has changed a great deal in the past decade so do not worry that the students are learning far beyond this list. My advice for parents who are already feeling defensive, spend time reading and talking to your child and give them opportunities to learn. Drop your guard and be positive. It will help you and your child!
They will learn a lot in K. K teachers kill themselves (esp if it is half day) preparing these kiddos to read, write, investigate, learn math concepts etc. I’m a parent and teacher. As a society, we are soft. What’s wrong with challenging our kiddos to do and learn more. Because it might be too hard? They might fail the first time? Give kids a push and they will surprise you. The problem these days is that we want our kids to do and learn more, but we don’t have high expectations. Is it really too much to ask to have your 4 or 5 year cut out shapes, know their colors, count?
I agree with the list. I’m also working on becoming a teacher (albeit high school), and this is what we learned in childhood development class, as well. It’s not necessarily about being able to make a pancake, snake, etc, or being able to ride a bike, it’s about having the skills that are needed to do so. That’s why they are seperated up into gross and fine motor skills, etc. It’s supposed to be a practical, relatable list for their developmental mile stones – since it isn’t as obvious as feeding themselves and talking.
That seems fair. My 3 year old can do much of the more academic stuff (letters, numbers, etc). The maturity / fine motor skills aren’t there yet, of course.
And at 43, I’m still working on learning to “use an appropriate amount of glue for tasks.”
As a preschool and kindergarten teacher( I teach preschool in the morning and kindergarten in the afternoon) I can say that this list is right on. It may seem overwhelming, but the majority of these skills are learned through simple conversation with your child and playtime. I think it is important for parents to remember that just because something is labeled “geometry” does not mean your child is expected to grasp higher level skills. Kindergarten and preschool are meant to expose your children to a wide spectrum of subjects, activities and skills so that in the future, when they are ready to work on higher level math or reading, they have a well rounded foundation of knowledge to rely on. In a world where our country’s education system is quickly falling behind that of other countries, I do not think it is a mistake to have high, but reasonable, expectations at this early age. Preschool children are very capable of learning to count(in multiple languages), read simple sight words, and interact with others in a positive way. It can be done!
Well Said! (Kind of sad that our great nation is lagging behind in education!!) Thank you to teachers like yourself, who do so much for so little! Just another profession that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves!
It might seem overwhelming in list form, but a lot of these “expectations” are part of normal development for children…even my 1 and 1/2 year old can do *a few* of these things. I’ve worked with several different Kindergarten classrooms in both urban public and Christian private schools, and I would agree that this is a great list to gauge your child’s Kindergarten readiness. SO many activities in Kindergarten (even at the beginning of the school year) require a basic knowledge or ability to do these tasks, and I’ve seen how frustrating it can be for the kids who weren’t developmentally ready to start Kindergarten. The good news is that all of these “expectations” can be practiced at home in a fun and exciting way! Pinning it on Pinterest for future use with my little ones =)
I think the list is pretty accurate. My daughter is in preK now and we just had her mid year parent teacher conference and all of these skills were on her assessment list. I do think there are many parents who don’t have the resources to send their kids to preschool and those children will certainly catch up when they get to Kindergarten (luckily we live in FL where ALL 4 year olds are entitled to free preK).
My son is 3/4 through his first year of preschool (he’s 4) and he already does most of the things on this list. He needs a little fine-motor fine-tuning, but otherwise he’s on task – and he’s still got one more year of pre-k to go before he hits kindergarten. I’m amazed at how early they start kids on things like reading, writing, math etc these days – pretty sure I was almost 5 before my “school” stopped being all playing and coloring and we actually learned letters and numbers. Whew.
As a Kindergartener teacher, I know that this seems like a lot. However, this is what my students are expected to know. Kindergarten is not like it used to be. They are learning so much more and they need to know a lot of these things to help them be ready so they will then be ready to move onto First Grade.
This is ridiculous. What happened to childhood? We wonder why our children are sexually active at 9, maybe it’s because we push them to be small adults from birth and never allow them to be children.
the list above certainly isn’t pushing a kid to be a small adult. I agree-kids should have a childhood. but these things aren’t hard to teach or learn and can be fun to do with a child. I dont understand your issue with this?
I agree that this list isn’t pushing them to be small adults, I’m simply saying it’s the beginning of that push. I also wonder how much of this “educating” is helping. People used to learn this IN Kinder, this obsession is just one more way of saying that without the perfect schooling your life is doomed.
This list is the first of it’s kind that I’ve ever looked at. I’ve stayed home with my girls since the oldest was 9 months old. She’s 4 1/2 now and without even realizing it, she’s learned almost all of these things without any pushing at all. We play all day long and her natural curiosity has brought her to learn shapes, counting, math, handwriting, etc…
Any parent who takes time to play and read with their young kids will find that almost everything on this list will happen naturally without any coercion or pushing.
And why should we whine that this used to be what kids learned in Kindergarten? The most recent research says kids are capable of more at a younger age (developmental delays not withstanding). If they can acquire that knowledge while still having fun and playing, then what is the harm.
Finally, as a mom who is very particular about the messages my daughters view and the people they spend time with, I think you made an illogical jump to the conclusion that knowing shapes and how to use scissors by 5 leads to early promiscuity. Sometimes, it is easier to make your point with facts instead of hyperbole. Exaggeration just makes people right you off as someone who doesn’t really understand the issue.
Very well said, Jennifer. My blood started to boil when I read the original comment. Took me a minute to calm down so that I can respond.
Reanna, do you have children in the 4-6 age range? I feel like if you did, you would not think that this is such an unreasonable jump. As (many) people have pointed out, most of this stuff comes from playing. Usually the kids who do not know this stuff are parked in front of the television all day. (Notice I said usually, not looking to start debates with people who have had different experiences.) I find it very offensive that you are even comparing the two, even if you are saying it is just the ‘beginning’. Most of the problems in adolescents today stem from lack of proper parenting, not being pushed to your full potential at a young age in school. There is nothing on this list that prevents a child from being a child while they learn it.
You really should think before you speak.
I see what you mean, Reanna! Thanks for clarifying. I agree it is troubling how quickly kids “grow up” and are thrown into society. I think that we, as a society, are too eager and willing to push our kids into schools and into other peoples’ care.
The more and more I read, I’m considering home schooling. I think it will allow for us to move at an appropriate pace and give a more balanced lifestyle. While I don’t want to keep my child in a bubble-I do think that there are some benefits from shielding from some unnecessary things.
I don’t see that expecting your 5 year old to jump and play well with others is pushing them to be little adults. I think it’s pretty sad that this is a list for 5 year olds. If my daughter couldn’t play with playdough (aside from sensory issues) or identify basic shapes by the time she was 5, I’d be concerned. And I didn’t spend a million dollars to teach her, nor is she walking around like a tramp now. She’s just a 5 year old kid that knows how to skip and loves books because she’s been read to and encouraged to explore books. I’m pretty proud of that.
This is nothing really. I teach Pre-k in Florida and they actually have to know by the end of Pre-k how to add and subtract, read sight words, know ordinal numbers, how to put words together and take them apart on top of all of the above. Pre-k is the new Kindergarden, Kindergarten is what first grade used to be and it just continues. Children are having to learn a great deal of things at a much younger age now!
It’s sad though that this changes by the time you get to middle school. As a former 8th grade teacher, I was appalled at the number of students who were below grade level in reading and math.
I this is a clear example of pushing children earlier than ever and chopping away at what little they have left of unencumbered childhood. That’s not to say that some children will naturally know all those things and more by kindergarten. Here is an article I liked on High Pressure Pre-schools. http://www.education.com/magazine/article/high_pressure_preschools/?page=2
I agree that there can be a lot of pressure on our kids these days. However, I have found that my son is EAGER to learn if I present it in the right way. Kids definitely need time to be kids…but often times they also enjoy structure and learning new things. If you can make a game of it or include hands-on “learning” for a few minutes each day, I think this is beneficial to the child. I’m not saying I agree with this list 100% (I didn’t make it up…it is straight from a Pre-K assessment), but I do think parents are wise to encourage learning these concepts when a natural situation presents itself. In fact, this is the whole reason I started this blog…to enable parents to teach their children important WHILE playing!
I definitely agree that it is important to teach while playing. I taught English at a private academy for 2 years in an Asian country. At my school I taught 2.5/3.5 years who at the end of their first year were expect to be able to read and write in their second language. Teaching through play was not encouraged, and the more worksheets they brought home the better. I had one parent ask if I could give they daughter more instruction during playtime and break time. They didn’t want her time wasted. It was easy no on many levels but it saddened me that they were pushing their young daughter so much. Fortunately, most the parents of my students were willing to do things differently.
I would agree that this list is very accurate to what kids need to know for kindergarten. I am a pre-k teacher, and these are the skills that are tested on our assessments. Times have changed, and kids are doing more in kindergarten than they were 20 or even 10 years ago. Like others said, much of this is picked up through various activities throughout the year.
I agree with much of this list and many of the comments on how kindergarten is certainly not what it used to be. However, as an early childhood eductor, it drives me crazy to see lists like this because most parents tend to focus on the academic tasks and dismiss the importance of many others. I have been teaching preschool children for 15 years and have yet to have a parent come back and tell me I didn’t teach them enough academics, but have had plenty of parents tell me I was right when I expressed concern with their child’s ability to succeed in the personal/social development tasks.
I think this is pretty spot on. I think that parents often make excuses for their children and do not push their children hard enough. Our children can be brilliant if we allow them to be. Now is the time to get as much information into them as we can, while they are sponges and absorbe it all willingly. If we make learning fun there is no reason that children should not be able to achieve these skills as well as others before kindergarten. Enough excuses and letting sesame street parent our children. One on one interaction is what our children long for and if you take a step back at look the society you will find the children who have succeeded most are the ones who’s parents have been involved in their learning from the very beginnig.
Some parents opt to share time with their children in different ways. If a child can’t do everything on this list it hardly means that a parent hasn’t spent time with their child. This is a small slice of reality. Children learn many, many things and learn best when they are INTERESTED. Sometimes that means waiting a bit in some areas and letting them soar in their exploration in others. Some of those areas don’t make lists like this. Some are far beyond this list. If my child is more interested in identifying trees and birds and learning about chemical reactions… I’m not particularly concerned with if they grasp their scissors correctly. That will come. But the real learning takes place where the passion and interest exist.
I know it makes you sound good to say that you let your daughter pursue her interests… but some tasks, like using scissors correlate into other areas, such as handwriting. Once the muscle memory is built incorrectly, it can take years of trying to break the task. At the very least, you can slip in this instruction by letting her cut out pictures of birds from magazines. It’s killing two birds with one stone!
Thanks for the advice Jennifer — I know it comes from a good place. My daughter can most definitely use scissors well enough. I used that as a point of illustration to address the mistaken notion that if a child can’t do everything on this list it means that the parents must not spend time with them. That’s a broad and insulting thing to say to any mother.
I’m with you there- my three year old loves to model chemical structures using my old kit from OChem (I am a chemist so I’m sure I’ve encouraged her in that direction) but she doesn’t really care about doing art projects at all at this point. I believe that you need to encourage their passions because when I am passionate about something I learn it best.
This list is spot on!! My son is in pre k (middle of the year)and he can do all of these things. I would add rhyming though, that would be about it. But I think that is a great list for parents to double check. Thanks!!
@Jaci – Rhyming words was a downfall for my 4 1/2 yr old. His Kindergarten (KDI-2) testing showed he “did not know how to rhyme”.
I questioned this immediately – and the tester said he could rhyme but not all his rhyming words were real words, but made up ones – and she could only count ‘real’ words, so marked that he did not know how to rhyme.
Since I was not present in the room for the testing, I do not know what rhyming words were questioned. I turned to him & asked “what rhymes with car; he immediately said star”, so I decided I know my child best. This ‘assessment’ was based on a short visit with a total stranger.
I was extremely saddened when we were told he was not qualified for the private parochial school we were registering him for. oh, well. He loves words, sounds, and books. He’s fun, loving and talkative. He will be fine but now I know to remind him if a ‘word’ is a real/known word or if it is a made-up word!!
I have to agree there – we live far below the poverty line (with my husband going back to school when my daughter was 7 months old) and my kids are right on task – my now 3.5 year old can do the majority of these things. I think the original poster referring to income may have been eluding to time commitment? … At any rate, I don’t exactly resent the original comment but I do prove it wrong.
I teach k-5 art and I have a 3 year old daughter. Most of my Kindergarteners can write their name when they first come to school. (Now I didnt say all the letters are going the correct way or all in a straight line!) I agree with the standards on this list, to be prepared for Kindergarten and be able to hit the ground running your child should have the points on this list at least 90% mastered. Kids are learning to add and subtract early in the year in Kindergarten. If a child cannot identify or consciously count they are already behind. I would add to the list being able to identify 5-10 sight words (cat, dog, house, etc.) Understanding simple science concepts would be a plus too. (seasons, plants, weather, and simple environment knowledge)
Let your preschooler help you cook, ask them to count the eggs you need or measure out ingredients. Plant a peat pot plant ( you can find them everywhere right now for a buck) and let them care for it and talk about flowers growing from seeds, count the seeds you plant and talk about how many actually came up) Learning should be fun! Go visit a pond and talk about what animals live there and what animals don’t. String cheerios or fruit loops on yarn and hang it outside for to feed the birds. For a great website that practices reading and math skills try http://www.starfall.com, my daughter loves it!
Heather, I agree with you. Many of these things can be learned in everday activities (play time) spent with your child. Hoping, music and dance can all come from play time or outside activities. Cutting, glue and writing is for craft time. Little bits go a long ways with kids. It’s amazing how much they learn in a short amount of time. My son is going to be 2 in a couple weeks and he already identifies yellow and blue Hot Wheels cars (using his not-so-clear words sometimes). We count things all the time so I often catch him pointing to each car and saying something different after we count. He can’t say the numbers yet, but I’m assuming he’s grasping the concept. Some parents don’t understand that these things don’t have to be learned in a classroom or at a desk. And it’s really sad when people think that kindergarten is for learning the flat line basics.
I own a bakery and my 4-year-old twins help out three times a week (or more, if they want to). We decided not to send them to pre-k, so they’ll start kindergarten next fall, just before their fifth birthday. They count eggs for batter, read dough temperatures, do basic add/subtract for simple ingredient mixes, and can read basic weights and measures. In the next few weeks I’ll be introducing addition with decimals for them. My son is learning how to make change at the cash register, and my daughter’s job is to sort the spices and herbs into their respective racks, then alphabetize each rack. They both help shape dough, roll loaves of bread, pipe frosting on cakes, and my staff helps them read the formulas for each item, sounding out the words they don’t know, and showing them how to do things they don’t understand. My son has recently decided he wants to learn how to use the espresso machine so he can serve customers at the front counter. We also have an herb garden out back that they’re responsible for tending (with a little help occasionally).
Neither my husband nor I feel this is too much for them. They’re flourishing beautifully, and are articulate, eager, and creative children. My son is concerned about how the bakery will manage without them when he and his sister are in school for half a day. :)
Thank you for posting this! I was just looking for this kind of information last night. I have a few years before my oldest gets ready for kindergarten but I like being prepared. I’m happy to think my 2 year old is on the right track, even if I know I think he knows more than he really does. I read through a few of these and when I got to “identifies 10 colors, I was very happy he was able to prove his dad wrong and identify 11 colors, not the 5 Daddy predicted.
I went to a private school and this kind of curriculum and expectations were placed on 3 year olds and also the ability to tell time. It can definitely be done before kindergarten.
I think it is really easy to get caught up in the game of keeping score when it comes to what your kids can and cannot do at whatever age. I have a seven year old that is brilliant who is reading the Chronicles of Narnia and writing paragraphs and learning his multiplication tables…and a 5 year old that just recently learned to sing the alphabet. FIrst things first, each child learns at his or her own pace and compare one child to another is foolish. Secondly, while I appreciate the list as a guideline, it does not categorically apply to all children and should have a disclaimer of sorts that goes with it…I have spent HOURS and DAYS and WEEKS and YEARS reviewing the same information taught in every method available to reach my children and some things come easy and some things come hard. Some children will NEVER be able to adequately learn what comes on this list in a traditional classroom because very few allowances are made for children who learn differently. I get so frustrated with teachers that would infer that my son’s delays are the result of my inadequacy as a parent. Be careful how you judge, there can be more at work than meets the eye.
I agree with you, never should children be compared and never should we as parents be judged without people knowing the facts surrounding the family. I feel that the schools need to be ready for each child and not the child being ready for the particular school.
Spoken by someone that I am willing to bet has never worked in a public (or private, for that matter) school setting in their life. It is so easy for people to say that the teacher or school should be able to handle all kids at all levels. I wish that people like you could walk a mile in a teacher’s shoes. When you have a class of 30+ children at 30 different levels, it is impossible to teach anyone. The children suffer when there are no guidelines for what should be expected at each grade. Yes kids learn at their own pace. But, should an entire class suffer because of it? I think it is more just for that child to be put in a grade level that is more conducive with the level of learning that they are at, rather than say a kindergarten teacher should have to deal with some students at a first grade level and others at a pre-k level. There is nothing wrong with a set of standards to help regulate the classroom setting as much as possible.
And yes, times have changed. But it is not the schools putting too much pressure on the kids. It is society as a whole learning that kids are more capable than what they thought 50 (or even 10) years ago. In my experience, children who are on target tend to be happier and more well-rounded than their peers who might be… lacking. Is this the case in all situations? Of course not. It never is. But in general, yes kids are happy and thriving.
I have always thought that “grade levels” should be based on skill and not age or average requirements due to age. It would be much easier to teach individuals that are in the same general skill range.
Yes, it would be nice if grade levels were based on skill and not age, but parents would be really upset if their 8 year old was in a class with 5 year olds, wouldn’t they????
I agree that the traditional school setting can not teach all children individually. They must put them into a medial “box” where the advanced children get board, and the children who need help in certain areas get left behind. Each parent is their own child’s advocate to find the type of education that will teach them. If they are not one of those kids that fit into that box then traditional education is not for you. Those teachers don’t have the resources to teach 30 children what they each individually need. It is unrealistic for parents to think (or demand) they can. Fortunately, there are other educational models out there, it just takes some time and research to find the right fit for your child’s needs. It also may take some money for private, a longer drive than normal, or some luck to win a spot in a lottery. Homeschooling is always an option, but that takes sacrifice and dedication to do well. Alternative education is out there, and growing. Schools that embrace the needs of the child, and encourages them to wonder. The list to me, is a guide to understand what I can do as a teacher to help support each child to practice the skills they need to master in each area. It is a good list for that. As a Montessori teacher, the 4 year olds in my classroom will be Kindergarteners in my class next year. When they leave my class next year, they move on to first grade. Some of them have not mastered all of the skills listed here, but I have the materials in my classroom to help support them, with practice, so that they can improve in weak areas. If they excel in some of the areas on the list, we have work that will extend their abilities and knowledge in that area and allow them to move forward, even if they are still working on other skills they are weak in. I have 30 children in my classroom ages 3-6. I also have 2 assistant teachers working with me, however, we facilitate independent learning. The children are in our classroom for 3 years which enables them to practice work they learn, over and over, extended it with creativity, and master it before they move on to the next thing. The model of traditional education our government embraces is not able to offer that.
Well said Katie. =)
I love that you said it’s not the schools putting too much pressure on the kids! I am a teacher, and there are times that we sit together and think “Are they kidding? How much more can we cram down their throats?” Look around you in the media! Teachers are constantly being attacked for not doing a good enough job of having our students meet the standards or having high enough scores on state tests. We have no control over what those standards are, and the government keeps raising them on us! We teach these things because it is mandated upon us! Would I like to give my kindergarteners more time to be 5 year olds and interact socially, YOU BET! Do I like telling parents that they need to spend more time helping them catch up at home because their 5 year old only knows 20 sight word? NO! Unfortunately, parents and teachers are in the same boat! We have to deal with what is handed to us. I am a mom too, and I do have concerns about my child being ready for kindergarten, even though I have an insight into exactly what he will need to know! We can’t force our kids to retain it! The best you can do is spend time with them, make the things you do together count, always introduce new vocabulary, and encourage them!
WELL SAID!! Thank you so much! It’s not the teachers’ faults… 99% of the teachers are AWESOME and don’t get paid enough. The states and the nation are at fault for cramming the ever increasing standards down the throats of the school boards, who are told to “keep up” or not get any funding.
It is teachers with this mind set that finally pushed this parent over the edge and withdrew my children from public schools. You are supposed to work with the parents…for the CHILD!!! Since pulling my children (who were labeled behind) they are testing (with your public education required tests) above their grade level. I have a son who excels in Math but was told he cannot work ahead because it is NOT fair to the rest of the students. I have had a child who was struggling with reading and was made to leave his class for 1 hour a day to focus on reading. Most teachers (NOT ALL) are oblivious to the fact that each child, no matter how much you force it, learns at there own pace. Given time, love and support…NOT PRESSURE they will learn just fine. It is sad to have a teacher with so many excuses for why she can’t do her job. Thank God, this NURSE never says, “Sorry, I have to many patients to be a good nurse to you.” If you can’t handle the heat…leave and find a desk job where you are not responsible for future generations!!
I honestly think you must have misunderstood what Mrs. A was saying. The vast majority of teachers understand that all children learn at different levels. The problem is, the requirements set by the state politicans that require teachers to continually cram more and more curriculum into students, no matter what the students are individually capable of. My state, Texas, keeps increasing the difficulty of the standardized tests to the point where quite a great percentage of children fail despite the fact that the teachers are working their tails off trying every possible approach to help the kids. The teachers are held accountable if all students don’t pass the test, but what politicians and apparently some others, don’t appreciate is that every child is different, and not all will excel at this type of test. Since you are in the medical field, it would be like asking a doctor to get the same, excelling results from his patients even though they are all different individuals (some have basically good health, while others may have abused their health throughout the years). Most teachers agree that all children should be given the tools and guidance that they need to succeed to the best of their potential, but as Mrs. A said, some of the standards are causing teachers to feel like they are “cramming” information down kid’s throats, instead of allowing them to learn at a more reasonable pace.
I completely agree with this list. My daughter is half way through Kindergarten and they are already learning to write the alphabet in cursive. They have to know the Big letter and small letter in manuscript as well as the big letter and little letter in cursive. They have done money, and time (face of a clock) she is already reading stage 1 and stage 2 books.
I would add life skills to the list. Can your child use the restroom by themselves? Can they wash their hands properly (not just wet them)? Can they cut their food and use utensils, if buying the hot lunch? Can they open containers or baggies and put a straw in their juicebox, if packing a lunch? Can they make healthy food choices (white vs. chocolate milk) in the lunch line?
I agree with the list. Kids are expected to know more in kindergarten. I think this shift in what needs to be learned is for several reasons. A lot of kids have spent several years in daycare before kindergarten. When I tought daycare (some private, some state run) we worked on these things because 8 hours is a lot of time to fill with a room of kids. We gave them a lot of free play time, but needed some structured activities to keep the class running smoothly. Also, more parents are delaying kindergarten for their kids, which means there are a lot of 6 year olds starting kindergarten. I know two moms that have already decided to hold their kids back a year because they have a birthdate close to the cutoff. They made this decision when their kids were 2 and did not even wait to see if their kids were ready or not. Some kids do need an extra year. However, it seems like the trend is to give your kid an “advantage” by making them the oldest. I am not sure it is an advantage to the child or to the rest of the class.
My oldest (almost five) will be one of the younger ones in kindergarten next year. He is more than ready in all areas. I did not drill him on academics. He learned a lot through play and is EAGER and EXCITED to learn. To me, his attitude towards learning is more important than the fact that he can read, do simple addition/subtraction, etc. He recently had his pre-k screening and the fact that he was “compliant” and “cooperative” made me more proud than the fact that he did well on the academic portion.
Times are changing. We need to be prepared and help our kids be prepared. Thank you for the list of things to work towards. And, an even bigger thanks for providing us with so many ideas and resources to make learning fun and exciting. Thank you.
Tania, I agree with everything you said except the put a straw in a juice box. Have you every seen a capri sun?? I’m 28 and I can’t even it do it sometimes!! haha
This is inaccurate children don’t NEED to know these things to begin kindergarten. Is it helpful? Probably. Necessary? No. My sister, now in college, never was able to pedal and steers a tricycle, jump, hold a pencil correctly, cut with a scissors, at the beginning of kindergarten or to this day as she’s has cerebral palsy. Some children will never have the physical development, some children have trouble with speech/hearing, some children are color blind – that does not mean they aren’t ready for school. This is a good list of suggestions but not prerequisites. I’d hate for someone to keep their child from attending school or think their child is inadequate because they can’t check off everything on the list. Children are all very different in their development, their strengths and weaknesses. Not every child will fit the mold. Be your child’s first teacher. The items on this list are a good place to start but if your child isn’t able to do all of these, please don’t stress out terribly. While some kids can do everything on this list before starting kindergarten it’s still in the range of “normal” if a child can’t.
Lish, thanks so much for your thoughts. I tried to preface (in the paragraphs above the list) that these are simply guides and that every child is different. Perhaps I didn’t do a good enough job of that, though. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your post. Reading some of these comments has made me sick to my stomach. My daughter is considered “special needs”. She has a severe speech delay. She has gone to a special preschool since she was three. She is five now and she goes to a “regular” kindergarten class at a public school. We have gone above and beyond in our efforts to play, read, interact, etc. but for her it just takes a little bit longer. To read some of these comments accusing parents of not doing these these things because their kids are not at the “appropriate” level is just plain wrong. I hope you consider yourself lucky to have children than learn easily. Mine doesn’t but I am so grateful for every thing she learns, no matter how big or little, because I know the effort that was given from all parties to do so. One thing my daughter knows and knows well is compassion and consideration and because of that, I know she will be okay. We are in no hurry and she will continue at the pace that is appropriate for her and she will accomplish great things.
There is almost nothing on this list that can’t be taught with common rhymes, songs, fingerplays, games and activities that have been aimed at this age group for 50 years or more. I am really amazed at the number of people who feel this is inappropriate for a 5 year old; most of my kindergartners are doing this and much more on the first day, even in a VERY low income, non-English-speaking, no-one-goes-to-preschool area. I will admit that I usually take a close look at the parents whose kids are reading way beyond grade-level, because it often hints towards high-pressure homes, but some kids really are just ready then. My daughter, 16 months with special needs, has taught me that things come when they are ready, not when any other mom, doctor or chart says so.
I am a pre-kindergarten teacher and taught kindergarten for 5 years. This list is a great resource and seems to be on target. Children need not only know their abc’s but being able to identify objects that start with the letter…ex: Bb for ball….is also important! When children begin kindergarten they are expected to review certain concepts and begin blending letters to make words and start reading. I teach at risk students/early intervention type of pre-k class in a public school. Check your area because their are usually free pre-school programs that are offered based on need. It doesnt take alot of expensive resources to make a positive impact on your child. Reading aloud and playing pretend helps stimulate imagination and interest in language….socioeconomics does not stop that.
As a Kindergarten teacher I agree with this list for the most part. However, I would suggest more phonemic awareness skills instead of letter recognition (for example able to orally blend c-a-t=cat; identify and produce rhyming words; clap syllables, etc.). I also love getting the ones (generally the ones who have been through preschool and PreK in my school) who know the letter sounds instead of or in addition to the names of the letters (/s/ instead of “ess”) because the phonemic awareness and knowledge of letter-sounds helps them read so much faster than knowing the ABC song (see-ay-tee sounds nothing like cat).
I do recognize some of these things that we do go over at the beginning of Kindergarten just to make sure everyone has the basics, but I have found the majority of children coming into Kindergarten DO know these things, sometimes with the exception of some of the personal and social skills (which are VERY important!). My 2.5yo knows quite a few of these! (colors, shapes, rote counting to 20 and counting with meaning to 10, recognizes many letters/sounds and sings the ABCs) and she has learned it all through play and reading books together.
I think the most important on that list are the behavioral aspects. If a child can recognize their numbers and letters but can’t sit still and follow directions it will affect the entire class a lot more than if the situation were reversed. A child this age has a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but they are also fully capable of containing it when disciplined and directed appropriately.
Agreed! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)
Thanks! I’ve tried to look online for a list like this to no avail. Obviously, we may not all agree with it but it is what they need to know in school these days! I plan to homeschool my girls and this gives me a good idea of what to make sure we are developing in our day to day activities.
Fairly good list but should be able to count one-to-one up to 15.
I am not seeing knowing letter sounds or writing and identifying her own name and names of friends. Cutting skills are very important.
I teach preschool and over the last 5 years it has changed to what I had in 1st grade.
Most children who love books and can get along in a group will be able to adjust.
I’m in love with this website! You have such great information for your followers:) Great Work!
Thank you so much for your kind words, Tammy! You made my day! :)
I teach 4 year old kindergarten and this list is pretty accurate. My class is only 2 days a week and their curiosity and imagination are incredible at this age. I tell my parents at the beginning of the year that half of what I will teach them is the ABC’s, 123’s and the other half are the social skills that they will need to be successful in the classroom. How to Share, waiting your turn, when it is time to listen and when it is time to talk, working independently, how to raise your hand, etc. I try to teach them good habits so that when they get to “Big School” they do not have to think about how to sit but rather can focus on what is being taught, thus opeing up their minds to learn so much more. I think that you need to add to the list :
being able to go to the bathroom independently, being able to follow multiple step directions, and being able to open their own lunch items. Learning the behaviors is just as important as the academics.
1 to 1 correspondence, when counting items, or does that come later?
I think this is very accurate and ideal for conquering what kindergarten has to offer.
I do think that is alot for students (my son will have just turned 5) is to learn before they even start. I’m just curious what the kindergarten teachers have to teach after the parent has pretty much done a kindergarten teachers job ! I say forget kindergarten and go start grade one and forgo the kindergarten class altogether.I’m 42 and remember kindergarten very well those basic is what I learned and ohh you forgot to say they should have learned to tie their own shoes too !!
I too was looking for a list like this just the other night. We live in Asia and my daughter is in kindergarten in an International school. She is one of the youngest in her class. I thought she would be ahead with all the things she seemed to know and her eagerness to learn, but I realized she was actually right where she needed to be or even behind some of the children. She could do all on the list with the exception of some of the scissor stuff. Many of her classmates were already reading and writing well, and she was just on the verge. I went in with my expectations of what we learned in kindergarten, which is just like others have said is not the current things being taught. However, I also agree with those who have said knowing 90% on the list and a desire to learn has been the key for my daughter. She is now reading Stage 2 books and is hungry to read and learn more. She is struggling still with cutting straight, drawing straight shapes and adding details to her drawings so that they tell a story without explanation. We will just continue to work on that at home, just like we worked on the reading earlier in the year when she came home and said she wanted to read like the others. The biggest thing for me is to realize that things are at a higher level than they were when I was a child and information like this is what I need so my younger daughter will have a good kindergarten experience like my older daughter, and I will have the correct expectations.
I would like to respond to Nancy who says ” To be honest the majority of people who think this is too much are the parents of the children who have issues in the classroom”
I would say that is not the case. My children are well behaved, but I believe in delayed formal education. Luckily, I homeschool, so I git to decide when I would teach them these things. That does not mean that my children did not know anything at 4 or 5, I just think that this is a lot for a typical 5 yr old to know, especially boys.
Oona I disagree, that these things might be an issue for boys. I guess it depends on the boy or the system. My son went into Kindergarten from a Montessori Pre-K not only knowing this list but much, much more. He is a normal active child and has issues sitting still, however he went into Kindergarten reading at a 4th grade level, doing simple math ect. His pre-school was bilingual so he can do most of his basics in Spanish as well. I think it is a lot about not projecting our issues on our children and letting them go at their own pace. If my son asks a math or science question that I don’t know (trust me there is a lot I don’t know about these subjects.) we Google it or find a resource at the library. He sees that I read so he reads as well. Don’t sell you kids short just because they can’t sit still, you might be amazed at what they can handle.
I think this list is good, but would add another section called “self-help.” In my experience children have been taught the academics, but not the basic living skills. Ex: putting on your coat, feeding yourself, putting on your socks and shoes, bathroom skills… Sometimes parents just need to let go and let their children do it. Yes, it does take more time, and it may mean getting up a little earlier. But, it does make the child much more mature.
I disagree with the full extent of this list….it is too much. Its just a way for daycare / preschool teachers to have a purpose and parents to feel justified they dump their kids off to daycare & shove them out the door to preschool. Come on people…THIS WAS NOT REQUIRED WHEN WE WERE 5! And now once the kids move up to older grades their is less and less expectation.
I agree with Oona’s comment above.
most gets are not dumped at daycare their parents have to work to make a living and to supply basic needs for their children. I am very lucky that I get to stay home with my children. I also do daily activities with my children which is basically playing with my children and they are learning as they play. My 4 year old can do all of this through the playing that we do by me engaging with my child while he is playing. my 3 year old is already starting do lots of this and its all through play. I take my child to preschool because it helps him learn to socialize with other children and he loves it on the weekend he ask why he cant go to school and my younger child cries because he does not get to go. And now this was not required when you were 5 but the times are changing and it still is not required but it helps your child to succeed when he gets to school. All of the things on that list can be learned through play and fun games with your child and it also allows you to play with your child and spend time with them. You are your child’s first teacher.
And went exactly do they get to be children?
They get to be children the entire time…that’s the awesome part! When they’re little they don’t even know they’re learning! You sing their alphabet and numbers to them, play sorting games, build towers with their blocks, color and craft…etc…and POOF all of a sudden…they’ve learned!
^ I totally agree with Janet! Everything on that list (except *maybe* the name writing) nearly happens naturally during play. And even then, children are usually curious about writing, especially if you show them how to write their name, or have it printed somewhere where they can see it, they will begin to experiment on their own (note – it didn’t say they should be writing straight, frontwards, perfect letters – its just that they should know the letters in their name as a general basis – corrections are easier to teach than beginning entirely!) When you see the first letter of their name in the real world (say the W on the Wendy’s sign for William, or a C on the Cheerios box for Carla), point it out. They can pick up so much more than you give them credit for if you just talk to them when they’re growing up!
Brandy, do you play Chutes and Ladders with your kid? Every make a milk shake with them and sit under the stars and count the stars? Run along the hot sand at the beach and jump into the ocean before you could realize how cold the water is and chicken out? Sing songs with your child? Patty-cake? Spend an afternoon coloring a book? Do all of those things sound like being a kid? All of those things also teach several of the skills on here. I think part of the problem (not saying this is your perspective, just reflecting on a lot of the comments I’ve read here) is that parents believe teaching these things to their children means sitting them upright in a desk and shoving flashcards in their face. Which, you’re right, robs them of the fun of childhood. But the best way your child can learn every single one of these skills, is through PLAY. Which is what childhood is all about.
Of course, every kid is going to excel in some areas and lack in others, but in general I think it’s a good list.
I walked into a Kindergarten class yesterday and she was teaching about pronouns, as required by the curriculum. Kindergarten is just not what it used to be. :(
As a mother with a child with a speech disorder and struggles with his fine motor, this list is certaintly too much for my son. I am doing all I can to help him be prepared for preschool (preschool, working with him at home, and speech therapy) but some of these tasks are going to be very hard for him to succeed at before kindergarten. That is great that your daughter is so advanced however, I just ask if you can try to keep an open mind to the fact that all children are not the same and learn at very different paces.
@Melissa- I can imagine it is tough having a son with a speech disorder. I am an Occupational Therapist in the school setting. This is a guide for parents and should be looked at as a GUIDE. You have bigger fish to fry right now and you should never be made to feel bad because your son isn’t hitting all these skills YET. Have you looked into OT for him? I know it would add one more thing onto your plate and there might not be time, but that is one option. Just keep plugging away at what you ARE doing! If you still feel that he is behind with fine motor/academics when he starts kindergarten, as a parent, you have a right for the school district to test him for speech, OT, academics so he can get the support he needs. Also, many districts have an Early Childhood program where you can get him tested and enroll him there. Hope this helps and I am truly sorry that these comments have hurt you. I am a mom of an almost 4 year old and a 13 month old who are SO different! My daughter was so quick on picking up skills and my son is taking his time more :)
I think this is about right. It’s easy to get hung up on academics, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. At the grocery store, ask kid “Can you give me the (insert color) box with the circle crackers on it? Are these apples red or green? Can you put 2 boxes of noodles in the cart? Let’s count how many things are in the cart altogether.” A pair of scissors and a recycled junk mail flyer (heaven knows we ALL have junk mail) or a coupon insert makes great fodder for cutting practice. It’s not about money, it’s opportunity.
My first reaction to this list was “oh no, another standardized set of expectations to force children to fit into” but as I read the list, and the dialogue, I realize it is not the list I oppose,,, people are correct – this is not an abnormal list… what struck me was the message that these are things children “need” to know… yes, we all want our children prepared to be successful for their entry into the school system but the system also needs to recognize and celebrate where every child is when they enter. The message children “need” to know this puts a flash card/drilling pressure on parents and teachers… risking setting the child up to build a disdain for learning in the most formative learning years. I don’t agree that ‘that is just the way it is’ these days… WE each have the role and responsibility to engage in dialogue beyond blogs to influence the way it is. Thank you for this thought provoking dialogue and the opportunity to share my two cents. Parent of a KG’ner and an ECE college instructor.
Wow! That’s quite a list. I am a kindergarten teacher in BC, Canada. While our government is making some very harmful choices about education right now (teachers are currently on a tree day walk out/strike), current thoughts about learning in kindergarten are research based and sound. We just made the move to full day K, and have been directed to add play – indoor and outdoor to the kindergarten day. Our 5 year olds are expected to have classrooms that facilitate discovery, exploration and play. When my kids come to school, I much prefer them to have the skills listed under Personal and Social Development, Listening and Speaking and have had thousands of books read t them than any academic skills. I believe that 4 and 5 year olds need to have time to develop the skills of co-operation, curiosity, and discovery far more than they need to have academic skills.
Right on! I am waiting for Alberta to make a similar move, but fear they would move to full day WITHOUT the play focus, which would be a disaster and disservice to our children. You’ve got awesome circumstances there and I can’t wait to see the longitudinal research that comes out of BC’s progress.
I also teach kindergarten, but in Arizona. Our Kinder program is full day with little emphasis on play and social development. It saddens me to see the enormous amount of academic pressure we are putting on kids so young and going against what we know to be developmentally appropriate by not letting them play and socialize. Unfortunately I work/live in a ‘right to work state’ and even though a walk out or strike of some sort is desperately needed to make changes in education, our hands are tied. We either deal with the circumstances or walk out to show we believe in what is right and lose our jobs.
I teach Kindergarten in Ontario and we are in the process of changing over to a very play-based all day Kindergarten. I am SO EXCITED to be starting next year and am already on the bandwagon this year, with many, many new play-based centres and more time to play and discover on their own, even with my half-time class. Hopefully our full day plans go ahead, even with our government also making some recent poor choices regarding education.
I was a kindergarten teacher for six years, now I’m a stay at home mom. I taught three years in a private school in Boston, and three in a public school in Lincoln, NE. Very different places. This list is precisely what I would expect a kindergarten student coming to my private school class…that’s just how those kids were. Many were even reading. However, after teaching in the public school I was happy when a kid came potty trained (I had one show up in pull-ups), recognizing their name, and having some idea of how to sit on the carpet and listen to a story. The above list is a dream, not always the reality….so many parents are just not clued in to the idea of their child learning things before going to school. Too much TV, and video games and not enough actual playing and and reading and talking.
And not to condone tv watching, but even watching NickJr or PBS would teach them something. While potty training my daughter, we would watch NickJr and their “commercials” are teaching them about patterns, shapes, colors, letters, etc… Curious George teaches about recycling. My daughter pointed out a “cycling triangle” (her words) on the bottom of her water cup the other day. I did not teach her that….
Again, not to condone tv watching…since the potty training is complete, so is the tv watching (with the exception of random treats).
Every, single one of us is different. No two of the readers of or responders to this blog list are exactly the same. Our children are also incredibly and wonderfully unique. And thankfully so, because not only would life be boring if every child were super compliant and super smart, but that also means all of you would be exactly alike. And just which one would you wish everyone, including you, were exactly like?
My pre-k son is reading level 2-3 readers, but refused to be potty trained until he was almost four. He can add and subtract to who knows how high (as long as one of the two integers is ten or less), but he cannot for the life of him cut along a straight line, no matter how much he curls his tongue. He can tell you all about our solar system and tell you the states and their capitals (learning which HE initiated), but he is hard-pressed to sit still for more than ten minutes unless he is fully engaged. He plays sports and goes to church and plays outside almost everyday in our cul-de-sac full of kids. He is full of life and curiosity and I’m glad he is. I am a stay-at-home mom who decided to leave my job as an editor to be a stay-at-home mom. And I am now back in school for an MAT to teach high school (and later, college) English. (Forgive any spelling or grammar mistakes, I’m exhausted from playing outside all evening with my son.)
So, thank you for the list. I appreciate it. But ladies, you all need to get your bloomers un-bunched and enjoy the children you have, both in your home and in your class, because each and every child is a blessing and a miracle.
I am a pre school teacher and i agree with this list. If you enroll your chihld in a great childcare setting from a young age (under 2 atleast) i can promise you along with many other early childhood teacher you will have no worries about your child i an of these areas!
I think you need to read the list again. I think that many of the requirements are possible. Following a two step direction is listed on “What you can expect your two year old to do page in the what to expect book” . Its pick up the book and give it to mommy. When Mommy talks do they answer? Can you child stay with an adult while you work, go out or do they melt down? Do they know their name and respond to it? Do they know the alphabet song or colors? Watch Sesame Street or Blue’s clues or any of those shows they present this information to preschoolers. It is not that expect you to send your child reading, and doing multi-level math. They are asking you to prepare your child for a learning environment. Also if they cannot do everything, it is not a no way no go option. It allows you and the teacher to see what they need to work on. They will review letters, numbers and everything in school. but they do it at a much faster pace. Also they want to make sure that if a child does have a learning issue it is discovered early on, not years later. You do not have to send your child to preschool to learn these items. You need to be the parent. That is the true failure of the American school system; parents who do no want to acknowledge their role in their children’s education. As the parent, you need to make learning the priority, and I am not talking about advanced learning but basic learning.
Though I will say, I never learned to skip. I attended many years of school and not being able to skip did not cause me any problem!!!!
This is a wonderful list and I totally agree with it. The problem??? The only requirement to come to Kindergarten is that the child is 5. I have students who come in knowing all of this and more and I have students who come into my classroom who do not even know their first names.
Some moms are so touchy, yikes! Thanks for posting, it is nice to see some guidelines! :-)
These items incorporate so much of what we practice at preschool in our play and circle time. A modified game of Crazy Eights was introduced to my 3 yr. old class this afternoon–number and shape recognition were used in this game. When I told the kids we were going to play a game, one of the students was sad that it wasn’t Go Fish. Learning can be a lot of fun. I love it when students learn, and don’t even realize it. One of the most valuable things parents can instill in their child is the sense of wonder and joy in discovering something new–not just about things, but about people and places too.
As a National Board Certified Kindergarten Teacher with 10 years of teaching behind me (and a mom of two preschoolers), I think this list is absolutely right on for 5-year-olds beginning kindergarten. In fact, I would also add several self-help skills, like toileting, hand washing, socks, shoes, dressing, zipping, packing their own backpack, opening lunch containers and generally being able to physically care for themselves indpendently. Really all of these skills can and should be learned organically. I also believe that behavioral readiness is far more important than academic rediness.
Haha – and I shood probably proff reed my riting before I hit “post comment”, huh!
I have two daughters,3 & 4, and after reading this list I felt a little overwhelmed but as I sat and thought about it I decieded to printed this list and highlight the things I know my children have yet to master. It seems like alot but really its a matter of having simple conversations and taking the time to sit and color or go out and play. Our kids learn from the littlest things and sometimes we dont even realize that they are learning from everyday things. At dinner time talk to them about what color their peas are and make it a game to see how many they can count. Instead of turning an afternoon movie on get some craft supplies and have arts and crafts time, it amazes me at how creative my girls already are. This isnt about money or about the schools wanting too much from our kids, its about us wanting our kids to have a head start in life and a bright future that they knowingly look forward to. I will agree that the schools are teaching more younger but thats because the world around us is demanding that. I dance around to music with my kids, we sing the abc’s, we have arts and crafts time and I talk to them about ever task they undertake during the day and yet I still feel like I could do more so for the love of my children I will.
As a preschool teacher of 20 years, I think this list is very accurate for an older 4 year old. Alot of these measures look like our Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) assessment tool set by the state of California.
Found this post via pinterest and think this is generally a good list. However, as a pediatric occupational therapist, the fine motor expectations are high and emphasizing them too much too early can actually jeopardize typical development! Children’s hands are simply not ready for a lot of work with a writing utensil of any kind before age 5 1/2 – a little drawing and colouring with broken crayons on a slant board or easel, and learning letters through other fun play (magnets, stickers, etc.) are generally sufficient to prepare children for K and Gr 1. In my province (I live in Alberta, Canada), children are expected to print their names at THE END of KINDERGARTEN – not prior to. This is the curriculum, long established with child development (which generally doesn’t change, or at least, advance) as the basis rather than cultural trends. In my experience, any “head start” that some children have (either because of natural aptitude/interests or parental encouragement) usually levels out in the first few months of kindergarten or grade 1. So I always encourage parents to just PLAY with your kids! Get outside and play, be with them, engage with them, read books, play Lego, get outdoors and for MOST children, the rest will fall into place quickly when they get into a more formal school setting. They have their whole lives to be in school, and only 4 or 5 short years to do their heart’s desire – PLAY!! And yes, I work hard to take my own advice! Thanks for a great post.
Coming from a current Pre-k4 and former Pre-K3 teacher that works with strictly those families that you are referring to… It is possible for parents in those situations to teach atleast half of this stuff. My students knew quite a bit of this because despite extreme poverty, there was someone watching the during the day that interacted with them in one way or another.
And that family you were mentioning, the father cared about his family which is why his work was. So important to him. His family depends on him to get his work done so they can survive. They also probably didn’t take the tickets because families like what you described (hard working but still very poverty stricken) generally don’t accept gifts like that out of pride. The child that speaks fluently but couldn’t comprehend hadn’t been exposed to baseball but that doesn’t mean anything. I hadn’t been exposed to baseball stadiums until 3rd grade simply because I wasn’t interested. He also could have been uninterested due to a lack of fimilariality with you. Since you brought up his fluency I am guessing he was an ESL student and ESL students go through an opening up phase with people they are not comfortable with which could explain why he didn’t seem to comprehend what you were talking about.
Okay ladies, I’m all for RESPECTFULLY disagreeing with someone. But please stop the name-calling (on both sides of this disagreement) or I will be deleting these comments.
Truly apolgoize, my language gets more colorful the more irritated I get. I should have crafted my comparison to the rigidity I hear in these posts without a colorful description :)
I stand by my position that it is a bit on the crazy side not to expect schools to handle excellence. There is no other way we can BE excellent, compete.
The fact is, schools often do not have the resources available to bring low level students up to grade level, keep on level students there, and to help high level students stay engaged. It is a systemic problem, caused by how most states and districts fund and mandate education. Mainstreaming students with ESE needs means the typical classroom teacher is spread too thin. That usually means, based on how teachers are evaluated (a political issue), that they have to focus o the lower level students. Advanced students can sometimes be used to teach and help the lower level students, but that is not always practical, depending on the grade and subject level.