Kindergarten readiness is a hot topic. There is the debate about whether or not brand new kindergarteners need to be able to check off a big old list of skills before being ready to start the year. In my mom group, it is well known that I was a teacher in my past life. Because of this, I am frequently asked questions about education and if I’m being completely honest, sometimes I insert my normally shy self into the conversation even without being asked. I’m passionate about educating little humans. Today, I did just that. I inserted myself into a conversation about how to prepare a 4-year old for kindergarten and now I want to share with you.
To be honest with you, I see both sides. I totally understand wanting my kids to feel at ease when they enter kindergarten by teaching some academics beforehand. We all want our kids to find success in kindergarten and school in general. But at the same time, we don’t want to rush our kids’ education or more importantly, their childhood.
So in a SUPER informal “study,” I asked all of my kindergarten teacher friends what they wished their students knew BEFORE starting kindergarten. The number one thing they ALL said was social skills. They have to begin teaching curriculum almost immediately. This is nearly impossible to do if you have 20 five-year-olds who do not know how to behave when their parents aren’t around. Teachers cannot teach academics if their students do not know how to behave. There are five specific kindergarten readiness skills that teachers wish for most: coping skills, sharing/taking turns, following directions, problem-solving skills, and knowing when to ask for help.
Coping skills are an important part of kindergarten readiness. Think about the following questions. How will your child react when things don’t go their way? Will they disrupt the class with an outburst or will they take it in stride and wait patiently? There are going to be times when they are not picked to be the line leader or will have to do PE when they want to do art. They are going to be told no at some point and they need to be able to accept that. Looking for tips to help your child develop coping skills? Check out this blog post for 5 different tips.
Can your preschooler share or take turns? In a school environment, these skills are crucial to the productivity of the class. Some materials will belong to the classroom and all students will need to use them. For strategies on sharing to prepare your child for kindergarten check out this post, 5 Skills Essential for Kindergarten – Sharing/ Taking Turns.
As a parent, you have already learned that it is important for your preschooler to follow directions. However, their teacher will be responsible for directing not just your preschooler, but the entire class. So the better your preschooler is at following directions, the more the teacher can focus on the lesson rather than corralling students. When your preschooler is heading off to kindergarten they will need to be able to follow the directions of their teacher or any adult in charge. If you want some fun activities to work on listening and following directions be sure to check out this blog post,
Problem Solving Skills
When your child wants a toy that is misplaced, does he search for it before asking you to find it for him? When your children both want the same toy, can they work together to find a solution? Does he try to solve simple problems on his own before asking for help? Problem-solving skills are necessary for every aspect of life and school is no different. Your kiddo’s success will greatly depend on his ability to be a problem solver. If you’re looking for ways to help your child develop their problem-solving skills, check out this blog post, 5 Skills Essential for Kindergarten – Problem Solving Skills.
Ask For Help
I just told you that your child needs to be an independent problem solver, but now I am going to tell you that your child needs to be able to ask for help. I’m sure you’re yelling at me to make up my mind right now. But, it is important your preschooler understands the difference between asking for help to find a pencil they haven’t tried looking for yet and asking for help when they don’t understand how to do an assignment. If your preschooler is able to ask for this sort of help before starting the school year, it will prevent him from falling behind in the curriculum. Help your child develop be kindergarten ready by teaching them how to ask for help using these strategies, 5 Skills Essential for Kindergarten – Asking For Help.
Preparing Your Child For Kindergarten Academically
I totally understand that some families still want a list of ways to prepare their child for kindergarten academically, so I have partnered with my friend Erin at Littles Love Literacy. She has compiled a resource that explains what academic skills your child will benefit from having before starting kindergarten AND how to work on them without using worksheets.