As your child passes the preschool stage, it becomes time to starting thinking about kindergarten readiness. There are ten essential skills that your son or daughter should have developed by the time that they start kindergarten in order to ensure that they can make the most of their educational experience and make as much progress as possible at this vital stage in their childhood development. Here are the primary ten skills that you should focus on with your child to prepare them for beginning kindergarten.Download Article
While your child’s kindergarten teacher will not expect him or her to be able to write fluently by the time they arrive in kindergarten, they should at least be showing interest in attempting to write. This includes mark making of all kinds including drawing and scribbling and an interest in the written word. Your child may ask you to write on their behalf to produce notes for others or to see words in order to copy them. A target to aim for is for your child to be able to recognise their own name and to try to form some or all of the letters in it. This forms the foundation for the further writing skills that will be worked on during kindergarten – correct letter formation and writing of simple words and sentences.
- Help your child practice tracing letters.
- Teach your child to write his name.
- Write letters on a sand (or any other sensory bins).
Having a basic knowledge of the alphabet is a great start to your child’s kindergarten year. If your child can recognize some of the lower and upper case letters, perhaps starting with the ones in their name, this is a big advantage when it comes to learning to read. Having some idea of the order of the alphabet is also a useful skill to develop, perhaps by singing the alphabet song together.
- Introduce your child to the alphabet with a fun dot activity.
- Use flashcards or mini books to learn the letters and new words.
- Make an outline of letters using playdough letter mats.
- Sign nursery rhymes together with your child.
Phonics are the building blocks of learning to read and write effectively. Learning the skill of phonics – the way individual letters sound when put together into words – is a great foundation for any kindergarten child and will make the process of learning more advanced skills a lot simpler. Work with your child on blending sounds together to make simple regular words such as “dog”, “cat” and “man” so that they have a head start when they begin school.
- Teach your child letters and sounds at the same time.
- Use clip cards to teach beginning sounds.
Fine Motor Skills
While your child will already have developed the gross motor skills of being able to walk, run and handle toys effectively, they will need a little more practice to hone the essential fine motor skills that are required to get the most out of kindergarten. Being able to hold a pencil properly and pick up small items is a key skill, and you can practice at home by working with your child on tasks that promote dexterity such as threading, making jigsaws, building with blocks, using scissors to cut and sorting small items such as beads or buttons.
- Coloring pages are great sources for practice fine motor skills. Ask your child not to go over the outline.
- Play dough is a fun activity every child like. Use play dough to make a figure, or letter.
- Cutting with a safe scissors is great. He can cut a lot of things: paper, play dough, etc.
Basic mathematics skills will help you child to be successful in kindergarten. While nobody will expect your son or daughter to be able to do sums, it would be helpful to enable them to understand the concepts of more and less, to be able to sort by size and to identify some basic shapes. Some simple numeral recognition up to 10 and the ability to count up to 10 objects with one to one recognition would also be a bonus.
- Count everything around. Count when you sorting toys or count how apples are on the table, etc.
- Introduce the concept of one and many.
- Sign nursery rhymes, they are easy to remember for little kids.
Working on your child’s cognitive development before they begin kindergarten will help them to get a great start on their educational path. Concepts such as the passing of time, positioning, and spacial awareness are something that you can work on with your child in advance so that they are ready to build on these skills at school. Understanding and reasoning skills will encourage your child to experiment and try out their own solutions to simple problems, preparing them for independent thought and play in kindergarten.
- Play memory games.
- Encourage your child to solve the problem and come up with a new idea.
- Practice patterning use. Use simple sequence such as ABAB. Use any materials your child like, such as m&m, buttons, etc. Print these pattern, give your child a glue and let him find the missing objects.
Visual Discrimination Skills
Your child should be able to spot differences between two objects and be able to describe their similarities. They should also be able to identify colours and describe differences in size between two different images or things. Your son or daughter should be able to talk about what they can see and be able to sort objects according to a given criteria such as colour or shape.
- Spot the differences pages are really great for it. Your child will look into small details to find it.
- Which is one is different pattern are also great. The only one object differ. Which one?
- Play a game with toys. Place 5 toys in a row, let your child name them. Ask him to close his eyes and hide one toy. Ask Who is missing? Or add one toy and ask who just came?
Reading skills can begin at an early age, so help your child to discover a love of the written word by reading to them and sharing books as soon as possible. By the time, they start kindergarten your child may be able to recognise some simple words – perhaps familiar store names or signs that they see regularly. They should also be able to tell a familiar story by looking at the pictures and show an interest in enjoying books on their own. They may even be able to put the events of a well-known story in the correct order.
- Read aloud to your child as much possible.
- Teach your child how to hold the book and turn the pages.
- Make sure he knows where the book starts and ends.
One of the most important skills that your child should have when starting kindergarten is the ability to follow instructions. Your child should be able to understand and comply when given a direction such as to get a pencil or to hang up their coat. They should also preferably be able to follow a two or three step instruction such as “go to the bathroom, wash your hands and then get your lunch”. They should preferably also be able to follow instructions relating to position, for example, “put the paper on the table”, or “put the doll inside the bed”.
- Give your child a routine 2-3 step directions.
- Or place the teddy bear in green (or big) box and train in a red (small) box.
Perhaps more important than any educational skill is the social side of beginning kindergarten. You should ensure that your child is socially ready for beginning their education by making sure that they can interact well with others, be polite and helpful, help with cleaning up, be able to cooperate, ask for help whenever necessary and use words rather than actions to solve their problems. They should also be able to use the bathroom properly, dress and feed themselves as well as being aware of good hygiene.
- Let your child socialize on a playground or go on a play date.
- Teach your child expresses his feelings and uses words to describe if he does or does not like something.
- Play role games with toys or other family members. Playing situation that might happen is good, it will give him an opportunity to better react in real life situations. He will know what to expect and will not get frustrated.