If your child is four or five-years-old, you may begin wondering if he or she is ready to dive into that world of formal education called kindergarten – a world where your child will begin to develop a sense of self-esteem and individuality. And, a world where he or she will begin comparing themselves with their peers. Success or failure at this stage can affect a child’s well-being, self-esteem and motivation.
Kindergarten “readiness” is often dictated by a cutoff date (usually age five by Sept. 1) that is set by a state or local school. However, experts contend that kindergarten readiness isn’t just about your child’s age, but rather a combination of his or her cognitive, social and physical developments.
The difficulty is that most children are not always equally capable in all three of these areas. There are children who are gifted physically, but may be slower with language development. Others may be advanced in their cognitive abilities but fall behind with social skills. It is important to look at the whole child when determining kindergarten readiness, but here are are few things you can look for when making the determination to send your child to kindergarten.
Does your child have existing or emerging cognitive abilities such as:
- Thinking logically.
- Listening to and following instructions.
- Reciting the alphabet and numbers one to ten.
- Recognizing and beginning to write shapes and sounds,
- Exhibiting a desire or curiosity to learn new things.
- Trying to “read” a picture book by telling a story based on the pictures.
- Drawing a self-portrait with basic body parts (head, arms, feet) in the correct places.
- Recalling a story from a book or real-life in the order in which it happened.
- Recognizing and playing with rhyming words.
Does your child show existing or emerging social skills such as:
- Listening and communicating with other children and adults.
- Getting along well with other children.
- Sharing and taking turns.
- Working together as part of a group.
- Compromising and agreeing with others.
- Handling emotions properly.
- Following routines such as times for play, eating and learning.
Does your child show existing or emerging physical skills such as:
- Performing fine motor skills like holding a pencil and cutting with scissors.
- Putting on his coat.
- Going to the bathroom by himself.
- Skipping, hopping, and jumping.
- Tying his or her own shoe, buttoning buttons, zipping zippers
- Climbing stairs using alternating feet.
- Throwing and maybe catching a ball.
While your child doesn’t have to exhibit each and every one of these benchmarks, it’s important to know that if you feel hesitant about many of them, you may want to consider delaying your child’s entrance into kindergarten.
At Chatsworth Hills Academy, teachers are passionate about growing these kindergarten-readiness skills using research-based techniques in a friendly, nurturing environment. And, they recommend things that you can do at home to help prepare your child for a positive kindergarten experience at Chatsworth:
- Expose your child to outside educational opportunities such as an art class or visit at the local museum, a sports team in your community or a science program.
- Make reading and playing games with your child a daily family activity.
- Challenge your child to follow basic directions in his or her daily life (around, under, above, etc.)
- Keep your child healthy and teach him or her to choose healthy foods, get plenty of rest and get regular immunizations and checkups.
- Find different ways that numbers are used in your home like measuring cups, calendars, clocks, etc.
- Spend time exploring shapes using regular household items like boxes, dishes, and furniture.
- Make an effort to listen to your child and teach him or her to listen as well – both to you and all of the sounds around you, your home, your city.
- Build excitement about attending kindergarten at Chatsworth Hills by explaining what your child’s routine will be like, and how much fun it will be to learn and meet new friends. Make an appointment to attend an orientation or tour of the school.
When your child is ready, kindergarten will be an exciting and enjoyable time for your student. Consult with your child’s pre-K teacher or doctor if you have questions about kindergarten readiness for your child. Or, give the experts at Chatsworth HIlls Academy a call to discuss.