Preparing for your child’s first year in school is fun and bittersweet as they take their first steps in a societal world without you.
If you are like me, then you want your child to be as prepared as you can possibly make them. So, what do they need to know before starting kindergarten? Let’s delve into the tools they need, how to prepare them, what to do if they aren’t ready, and what they should know.
What Should My Child Know Before Kindergarten
According to the Ohio Department of Education your child should have a very basic grasp of each category of study. Language arts, science, social studies, government, economics, history, and mathematics.
This certainly seems like a lot, but before you start freaking out about all these things they should know and understand, realize that this is to provide a very basic understanding of things. They don’t need an in-depth knowledge of the first Thanksgiving of the USA, or how plants go through photosynthesis, or anything like that.
Below I have listed the basic knowledge for your child in each category based on information from the Ohio Department of Education.
- Language arts
- Reading and writing their first and last name
- Recognize some letters of the alphabet
- Understand that letters are used to make words
- Recognize rhymes
- Using pictures to learn what words mean
- Hold a book correctly
- Being able to tell you what a story was about
- Count to 10Begin to write and copy numbersName some coinsName different shapesMatch objects by shapeUse language to describe positions (up, down, top, bottom, etc.)
- Create simple patterns
- Use words such as night, day, sun, moon, stars, cold or hot to describe somethingNotice how animals and plants can change their surroundings (leaves falling, beaver dams, etc.)Use words or drawings to describe changes on EarthUnderstand that living things need water and foodRecognize differences in animals, people, and plants that are similar (different colored dogs, horses, different colored apples, etc.)Using the 5 sensesUnderstand motion words (up, down, fast, slow, rolling, etc.)Recognize familiar tools (hammer, paintbrush, etc.)Asking what-if questionsCompare objects or living things based on similarities and differences
- Participating in experiments like testing what items float or sink in water
- Social Studies
- Using words like today, tomorrow, yesterdayBe able to tell things that happened when they were youngerIdentify groups, boys, girls, kindergarten, family, friends, etc.Describe location, over or under, front or back, here or there, up or downUnderstand how natural resources are utilized, bath water or drinking water, or dirt for planting gardens.Understand that people have wants and needsObtain what they want in an acceptable way, sharing, taking turns, or trading fairlyIdentify adults who can help, doctor, police officer, fireman, parents, teachers etc.Recognize their national flag
- Cooperation in classroom activities and at home
After going through this list, you will probably realize that these basic things they should have some knowledge of are things you have already been teaching them. But all children are different and there is no pre-defined list that you should check before your child goes to kindergarten.
What if My Child Is Not Ready for Kindergarten?
Not all children start kindergarten at 5 years old. Sometimes, they just need some extra time before going through such a change. My son is an example of this, he did not start school until he was 6 years old.
If your child is not ready for kindergarten when they are 5 Cadence Education provides signs present such as not sharing, or other poor social skills, a more limited vocabulary, difficulty with following directions, poor motor skills, or a lack of independence.
If your child is not ready for a kindergarten setting see about a daycare or a preschool for your child. By doing this you are giving them increased social interaction where they can refine these issues. You would also be giving them the opportunity to expand on these skills ensuring their readiness by the next year.
It isn’t a race to have an education for your child, if they are not ready there is absolutely no harm in having them wait for another year. Every child will learn at their own pace, and if you force them when they are not ready they won’t be able to obtain the information as well.
How Can I Help My Child Prepare for Kindergarten?
Starting kindergarten can be very daunting for your child, my daughter was so scared to be away from me for the first day, and for the first week, she missed me a lot. She started to have fun and make friends and gradually increased to loving school.
Some things you can do to help your child prepare for kindergarten are:
- Read with your child every day and talk with them about what you read
- Encourage their independence
- Help your child write
- Be sociable
- Visit the kindergarten class beforehand if you are allowed
- Talk to them about school and what it will be like
- Encourage their creativity
- Play rhyming games
- Do a sight challenge about firemen, police officers, doctors, etc., and talk to them about what they do to help
- Take them to the public library
Doing these activities with your child will help them with their confidence as they start this new chapter of their life, and it is also a good bonding for you and your child.
No two children are the same in their level of learning, and that is okay. It is perfectly natural for one of your children to grasp concepts that your other child will possibly grasp differently. It is important to help them understand that how they learn is just fine.
There is not a set way that your child has to do things, and as long as they are learning does it really matter if they learn a little slower than someone else? Your child’s learning experience is going to be as unique as they are, so let’s help them embrace it in their own way for the optimal experience and knowledge.
Also Read: Things To Do When Bored, For Kids