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Kindergarten Preparation

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: We are attempting to prepare our four-year-old son for kindergarten, what and where can I find what he is expected to know before going to class the first day?

A: The best place to start gathering information on what will be expected of your son next year is the school that he will be attending. Most school corporations have a readiness checklist for children entering their kindergartens. You need this list because it will tell you the skills that the school expects your son to have when he enters kindergarten. Use it as a guide for getting him ready for school.

Here is a checklist that you can use right now to see if your child meets the general expectations of most kindergartens. Your son should be able to do the following:

  • speak clearly enough to be understood
  • know his name, address, phone number, and parents' full names
  • be happy away from home
  • handle all his personal needs, such as going to the bathroom and tying shoes
  • play well with other children, share toys and games, and respect others' property
  • make simple choices
  • express his own needs and wants in an age-appropriate manner
  • follow rules, especially safety rules
  • follow a series of three directions

Children who are well prepared for the academic side of school will be able to handle the following tasks most of the time:

  • tell the right hand from the left
  • use crayons, paints, paste, and clay appropriately
  • draw rather than scribble
  • tell or retell a story
  • answer questions about a short story
  • listen to a story for at least five minutes
  • work independently for five or more minutes
  • listen to a rhyme and hear similarities and differences
  • recognize similarities and differences in the sizes, shapes, and colors of objects
  • copy simple shapes
  • compare objects by size
  • bounce and catch a ball showing the hand-eye coordination necessary for reading and math

    More on: Expert Advice

    Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

    Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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