Starting kindergarten is a big step for any child. That’s why it is so important that you are sure your child is ready for kindergarten before he or she starts. If you are unsure, there are some easy questions that you can ask to help determine if your child has the necessary skills to succeed in school.
According to Beverly Anderson, executive director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s South Side, and in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa, “Determining if your child is ready for kindergarten is less about how old they are and more about their developmental level.”
In most states, a child must be 5 years old before he or she can be accepted into a kindergarten program, and each school district has its own birthday cut-off date. However, Anderson says along with a child’s age, his or her physical, social, and cognitive development should all play a significant role in determining whether or not he or she is ready for kindergarten.
Here are some things to consider:
Is your child a good listener and able to follow directions? These abilities will allow your child to understand the teacher and complete his or her schoolwork. They will also help your child interact with classmates.
Does your child have basic language skills? Can he or she verbalize wants and needs and clearly express feelings without becoming frustrated?
Can your child function independently? Does he or she have problems being away from you? Does he or she have necessary self-help skills such as putting on a coat and using the bathroom?
Fine Motor Skills
How are your child’s fine motor skills? Does he or she have the dexterity to hold and use a pencil for writing and a scissors for art projects?
Does your child show an interest in reading? Have you noticed him or her trying to read or make up stories based on the illustrations in a book? Does your child try to follow along while you are reading?
How well does your child interact with other people? Does he or she get along with other kids? Know how to share? Work in a group? These are signs that your child will be able to make friends at school and work to perform a common task.
Love of Learning
Does your child show an interest in learning? Does he or she ask many questions and show curiosity?
Anderson says if you feel your child is doing well in most of these areas, then he or she may be ready for kindergarten. If you’ve noticed that your child is struggling, don’t worry. There are things you can do to improve his or her ability to succeed in kindergarten.
For instance, you can work with your child’s preschool teacher and even practice certain skills at home. You can also visit a kindergarten classroom, so you can see firsthand what it is like and how other children behave. Another option is to enroll your child in a 3K or 4K program. This can help your child learn the skills he or she will need to excel in kindergarten.
“Don’t worry if your child isn’t well developed at all of these things. Most children are strong in some areas and need improvement in others” says Anderson. “These questions are merely designed to guide you.”
“Also, remember when it comes down to it, parents know best,” says Anderson. “Always be an advocate for your children as you know them better than anyone.”
For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.