Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?
This time of the year marks preschool graduation for many, and soon attentions will turn to entering kindergarten in the fall. It’s a big and wonderful next step in your child’s development, but one that often leaves parents wondering, “Is my child ready?”
When you try to put your mind at ease, you start to see the term “kindergarten ready” everywhere. But, unless you’re an education professional, it can be hard to know exactly what it means.
Joy Turner, Kiddie Academy Vice President of Education, says, “It’s common for parents to have a little anxiety, wondering if their kids are ready for kindergarten. For this coming school year, that may be more of an issue because of what’s being called the ‘kindergarten bubble.’”
What is the kindergarten bubble?
The “kindergarten bubble” is yet another byproduct of the pandemic. With lots of students not attending school this past year because of the pandemic and many parents electing to delay the start of kindergarten for their 5 and 6 year olds, many experts are predicting larger-than-usual numbers of children entering kindergarten this coming school year, with greater disparities in ages and skill levels.
Even with the bubble, Joy says not to worry. “If your child attended a program like ours, they should be in great shape. Preschool programs like ours are designed to introduce and facilitate activities that develop the skills needed for kindergarten. For example, the Kiddie Academy Life Essentials® curriculum helps children focus on skills that include writing, math, literacy, building independence, developing fine motor skills, growing social skills, learning to follow directions and character values. And there are also opportunities to get them involved educational programs this summer, like our CampVentures® program. This is a great way to narrow some of those learning gaps and get kids back on track with the socialization they may have missed out on during the pandemic.”
The truth about kindergarten readiness
Bubble aside, Joy offers parents the following information regarding kindergarten readiness in general:
- It is not necessary that children be able to read before entering kindergarten. While being able to read full sentences is not usually a requirement, phonemic awareness does help develop strong early literacy. That’s why we teach children rudimentary skills like recognizing letters and sounds and reading sight words.
- There is not one determining factor on whether your child is ready for kindergarten. Every child will reach his or her developmental milestones at a different pace. Some children will master many skills during their kindergarten year. By the time children enter kindergarten and after, they will be well on their way to developing the physical, mental and emotional attributes that will help them throughout an academic career.
- There are key readiness skills that will make the beginning of kindergarten easier for your child and help your kindergartener transition to school. Some examples include being able to count to 10, recognition of alphabet letters and sounds, holding a pencil, forming letters, ability to speak in complete sentences and show an interest in books and stories. Social skills are equally important to work on. Things like managing emotions, feeling and showing empathy, making good decisions and following directions will help your child’s transition into kindergarten. Don’t be concerned if your child doesn’t have them all before they start kindergarten, they will continue to develop the skills throughout the year.
- It is normal for children to enter this first formal learning experience at varying developmental stages. In fact, according to the United States Department of Education, students will enter kindergarten with a range of different academic skills and learning behaviors. This is due to the fact that young children experience various types of early care and education environments the year before they enter kindergarten and will be coming from a variety of different early childhood experiences.
- Respect your child’s feelings. Some children are ready to jump into kindergarten feet first. Others, though, may be more nervous or anxious – it depends on their temperaments. That’s okay. Validate their feelings and let them ask questions. And stay positive! Children are very good at reading your moods.
How you can help
Reading aloud to children every day will also help prepare them for kindergarten. Our friends in the Kiddie Academy Education Department recommend the following books:
Goodbye Preschool, Hello Kindergarten, by Sonica Ellis and Nejla Shojaie
Kindergarten Rocks!, by Katie Davis
The Night Before Kindergarten, by Natasha Wing and Julie Durrell
On the First Day of Kindergarten, by Tish Rabe and Laura Hughes
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff
Kindergarten, Here I Come!, by D.J. Steinberg and Mark Chambers
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