Children grow so fast over the year-long transition from preschool to kindergarten. They are learning many new things, but starting kindergarten is a whole new ball game. How can you make sure that your child is ready for this milestone?
Before you answer that question, it’s important to remember that different schools and educational models will have different expectations for your child. For example, Montessori kindergarten programs focus on developing confidence and leadership alongside language and mathematics skills. Traditional programs tend to emphasize concrete academic concepts.
No matter which type of educational experience you choose, every child needs a few basic skills to have a successful kindergarten year. Here’s a four-point checklist of what your child should be able to do before they enter private kindergarten.
Basic Personal Skills
Before enrolling your child in a private kindergarten program, they should be able to:
- Inform an adult of their wants and needs
- Display independent toileting skills
- Button, zip, and adjust their own clothing
Your child needs to be able to communicate with the teacher and their peers and go to the restroom on their own. These basic personal skills show your child’s readiness to succeed as a kindergarten learner.
In terms of relating to others, your child should have the following skills before they go to kindergarten:
- Understand the concept of authority
- Follow instructions with several steps
- Get along with other children
- Understand their actions have a cause-effect relationship
Interpersonal skills are vital to developing a healthy respect for authority figures and peers so that the classroom environment can remain calm and conducive to learning. Your child needs to understand that their behavior impacts others and be able to conduct themselves in a way that demonstrates this understanding.
A Sense of Independence
Self-sufficiency is a critical skill for the kindergarten learner. You’ll want to ensure your child can do the following:
- Sit quietly for a few minutes at a time
- Pay attention long enough to listen to instructions or a story
- Be away from their caregivers for an extended time
- Handle books and materials with a firm, stable grip
- Understand the general parts of their day (for example, morning, lunchtime, and pickup)
Remember that self-sufficiency doesn’t mean your child will never need you. It simply means they are learning to regulate themselves and do some activities independently.
While confidence, self-sufficiency, and leadership are important, your child will also need a few academic skills to help them acquire new knowledge throughout their kindergarten journey. Those skills include:
- Writing at least their first name
- Counting to ten
- Knowing basic letters and sounds
- Recognizing rhyming sounds
- Recognizing and sorting a group of similar objects
Remember that these academic concepts are just one part of your child’s development. Your child also needs the other skills to be truly ready to take on the private kindergarten classroom.
Preparation Is the Key to Future Success
Try not to allow this list of skills to overwhelm you or your child. If you don’t feel your child is ready for kindergarten, take a step back and evaluate which skills they need and which proven methods you can use to encourage them toward development.
If you need resources or assistance, enrolling your child in a preschool program is a great way to prepare them for Montessori kindergarten.
The Montessori Children’s Center offers childcare and education programs for children three months to six years old. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your child successfully prepare for kindergarten with a program that will guide them toward reaching their innate potential.