Kindergarten Readiness – A Checklist for Parents

Kindergarten Readiness means possessing the skills that will make the transition from pre-school and the school year a success.

How do I know if my child is ready for Kindergarten? What should my child know before entering kindergarten?

If you are asking yourself these questions it probably means that you either have a child whose birthday is in the spring and/or has had some challenges at preschool. Perhaps you feel your child needs more support, protection, adult guidance and is struggling to follow directions, attend, sit still, communicate, hold a pencil, and make friends . The preschool years provide opportunity for a child to grow and develop social communication skills, pre- academic skills, emotional regulation, motor skills and transition from whole body learning to the ability to sit and listen and learn. Often parents are not sure if over the 6 months from spring to fall their child will  grow out of their challenges or grow into the skills that they feel are needed for the transition to kindergarten. So if you are one of these parents here are some questions to ask yourself and some information to gather to help in both making a decision and helping your child “Get set for Kindergarten”.

These are some of the questions I ask parents when helping then decide between a developmental kindergarten year or kindergarten.

1. First we review medical history? Think back to your pregnancy and your child’s birth and infant history: where there any issues such as IVF, bed rest, long labor, prematurity, time in the NICU, difficulty breast feeding, colic, poor sleeping patterns, reflux. Our children are hard wired in utero and understanding your child’s neurological full picture from birth is often helpful in understanding your child at age 5.

2. Motor Milestones- Did your baby crawl? When, for how long and what did the crawling look like ( on all 4’s versus  commando crawling)? Were there any delays with walking, running, jumping, climbing and do they seem at ease with moving their bodies through space? Is your child a movement seeker, avoider or neither? These questions help you understand the child’s sensory motor wiring and if sitting in a chair for a lot of the school day will be a challenge. For a child to be ready to learn with their eyes and ears and brain their body needs to be ready to sit upright and stay calm for long periods of time.

3. The next set of questions relate to cognitive and emotional development. Babies arrive with fundamental neurologically based social capacities, which are shaped, encouraged and developed through experiential learning and the brains physical development. Did your child have a very challenging time separating from you in the first year of preschool? Do they have good awareness of other’s thoughts and feelings and are they able to talk about them? Do they infer emotions from other children’s facial expressions and can they share in group imaginative play? Do they have a lot of anxiety when going to birthday parties and new places?

4. Language Acquisition: At what age did your child babble and use words, sentences and complex social language to share ideas and problem solve with a peer? Your child’s language prior to kindergarten should be fully functionally. This means they should be using language to ask and answer questions, use appropriate grammar, connect and organize their thoughts, talk about their own personal events and share stories in an organized manner.

5. Handwriting: Does your child have a hand dominance and when did this start? Does he hold the pencil with an adult tripod grasp and is he comfortable drawing shapes and making simple pictures?

6. Letters and numbers: Do they recognize the majority of the upper case letters and has this been a very slow or easy learning process? Are they interested in print material and realize that letters make up words and tell stories?

7. The final question: Is there a family history of challenges with academic or social learning, attention or memory?

All children benefit from learning in an environment that is emotionally safe and provides them the “just right learning challenge”, a challenge that is only slightly above their current capacity and one that is attainable. For many children the transition from preschool to kindergarten offers challenges that are not “the just right” challenge. So how do we help these children? Getting accurate information is key before making decisions. The professionals that are skilled to assess the roots of learning are occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and learning specialists. It is important to take into consideration the whole child including the social emotional systems prior to making this decision. Once an assessment has been made then filling your child’s learning “tool belt” so they feel confident when entering kindergarten becomes the primary objective. Kindergarten readiness camps and individual sessions tailored to the child’s needs are great ways to ensure Kindergarten success.

Ways to gather insight and information.

1- Kindergarten readiness assessments

2- Speech therapy and or occupational therapy assessments

3- Get set for Kindergarten camp

To prepare kids for their new challenges, Child Success Center will be holding Kindergarten Readiness Camp in the summer of 2014, which will offer a play based learning environment designed to help children acquire skills in problem solving, flexible thinking, group collaboration and pre-reading and writing through the use of Zoo Phonics, Handwriting Without Tears and Social Thinking. Our exciting indoor gym will be turned into a fun learning camp with swings, a trampoline, climbing wall and monkey bars to take campers on an adventure while building up their kindergarten skills.

Kindergarten Readiness Camp 2014 - Child Success Center

Presented as either individual weekly “Camps,” or a 2 week session, kids will spend over 20 hours a week involved in activities designed to help them develop the skills needed to excel in kindergarten. The program will help children develop confidence when taking the first steps toward making new friends, attending to a new routine, handwriting and reading.

Program Highlights:

For the young children who lack interest or capacity for writing, letters and numbers can seem daunting. To make this learning fun we love Zoo Phonics. Phonics is the learning of letters and words through sound and it’s taught using a cast of zoo animals. Letters come alive as the children learn to recognize and match them with sounds, then write them with ease. Multisensory activates such as drawing and writing on the walls with shaving cream make this fun and a joyful experience.

Goals will be dependent on the needs of the group of children signed up for the week.; each child will have the ability to participate in activities that will focus on their needs as well as the needs of the other children in the group.

Areas covered include but are not limited to:

1. Social thinking: social skills required to play with others and learn in a group- listening with your whole body, perspective taking, sharing thoughts and ideas, social problem solving,

2. Identifying Upper case letters and match them with a name and sound using using the Zoo Phonics program

3. Learn how to correctly form upper case letters (and lower case letters if they show an interest) using the Handwriting without Tears program

4. Fine motor skills: Master holding a pencil, marker or crayon and handwriting skills

5. Develop attention and listening skills for success in a Kindergarten classroom

6. Promote body awareness through creative play and movement

Begin their love for learning



Child Success Center
2023 S. Westgate Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Call 310-899-9597 to access our “warm” line.
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