Today’s competitive academic environment is stressful for children and parents—and it begins in kindergarten! Some schools administer a kindergarten readiness assessment to help teachers plan for a child’s educational and developmental needs. Keep in mind that children develop in different ways at different times. Some children may be very strong in some areas and weaker in others. Here are the areas that are typically tested.
Gross Motor Coordination – Kindergarten Readiness
a. Hop and stand on one foot
b. Jump and skip
c. Throw and kick a ball
Fine Motor Coordination – Kindergarten Readiness
a. Hold crayons and pencils
b. Use safety scissors
c. Fit together simple pieces in preschool puzzles
d. Tie shoes
e. Use buttons, zippers and snaps
Cognitive and Academic Skills and Abilities – Kindergarten Readiness
a. Retell a simple narrative in order
b. Articulate a meaning and/or give examples for abstract concepts such as expert, freedom and love.
c. Recognize the results of adding or removing objects from a set
d. Recognize numerals, letters, colors and shapes
e. Hold books right side up, turn pages correctly, show an awareness of left/right progression and pretend to read (or actually read)
f. Recognize simple patterns
g. Identify a distinguishing detail in otherwise similar pictures
h. Recognize rhymes
i. Distinguish sounds
j. Make predictions based on details in an oral story or a picture
Social Skills – Kindergarten Readiness
a. Name self and members of their family
b. Identify function of some community locations, such as store, library, post office
c. Follow rules and oral directions
d. Focus on an independent task for 10-15 minutes
e. Play cooperatively and show ability to role play or make-believe
f. Explain process or rules for playing simple preschool games
More than likely, you are probably already providing the activities and enrichment to prepare your preschooler for kindergarten. However, this ten-step checklist should reassure you that all the bases are covered.
1. Play preschool educational games with sounds, colors, letters and numbers.
2. Provide a balance of structured and unstructured playtime including independent playtime, such as doing preschool puzzles.
3. Play group preschool games that require taking turns and following directions.
4. Take your child with you on errands. Teach your child to greet people in these contexts. Discuss the errands being done. Identify the names of streets and buildings, including your home.
5. Visit the library.
6. Allow your child to help with household tasks like recycling, setting the table, and feeding pets.
7. Give your child at least one, simple, daily responsibility that he or she must remember each day and complete independently (make bed, water a plant, etc.)
8. Use sophisticated vocabulary in context. Explain meanings of words.
9. Listen. Ask your child to recall and retell stories. Ask questions about what your child thinks will happen and why. Ask questions about preferences, interests and ideas.
10. Relax and have fun.