Whether you have a child getting ready to start kindergarten this fall or want to get ahead of the game and start preparing your toddler now, we’ve got the scoop on everything you and your child should know before starting kindergarten.
Lisa Shore, Principal of Conley Elementary School in the Chandler Unified School District, offered some insight into some of the most important skills a child should possess that will make a world of difference when beginning school for the first time.
All students will be given a readiness test to assess their ability to write their name, count to 10, hold a pencil, draw a straight line, form letters, etc.
“That’s just information for us to see what they know,” said Shore. “It helps us sort our classes and balance the classroom.”
Social and Emotional Skills:
While it’s helpful if kids are able to know the letters and their name, Shore says there are a lot more benefits of social and emotional skills than the academic ones.
Some important social and emotional skills that a child should know include:
- How to communicate with others
- How to problem-solve
- Following directions
- Eating in a 25-30 minute time frame
- How to open food items including applesauce, milk cartons, baggies, put a straw in a juice box, etc.
“If these things are already somewhat established then we can do the academics,” said Shore.
How You Can Help Prepare Your Child:
There are many things parents can do in the years leading up to their child starting kindergarten, rather than trying to cram it all in the summer before school starts.
Shore suggests that parents help their child learn by using the environment around them rather than doing worksheets or flashcards.
Have them count the apples at the grocery store or look for certain letters on signs or buildings while driving.
Shore says that reading to your child is always beneficial, but suggests that parents look for ways to make it meaningful and engaging.
“Talk to them… ask who their favorite character is and why, ask them what they think will happen next,” she said.
Parents can also teach a multitude of skills by playing board or card games with their child—this will help them learn how to follow directions, take turns, and even problem-solve.
Shore also said it’s important that parents help foster independence with their child by letting them do simple tasks at home such as making their bed, getting themselves dressed, and putting dishes away.
“It brings self-confidence and little things like that help so much,” said Shore.
How to Register Your Child for Kindergarten:
In the Chandler Unified School District, children who are 5 years old by August 31, 2022 are eligible to enroll in kindergarten. However, children who turn 5 between September 1 and December 31, 2022 may participate in an early readiness assessment to see if they qualify. You will want to check with your local school district on age requirements.
If your child meets the qualifications you can either visit the school’s front office for a registration packet, or some districts and schools have the option for you to enroll your child online. Many schools begin kindergarten registration in January.
You will likely need to provide your child’s birth certificate, proof of residency, and immunizations records when enrolling.
With all the different school options out there, Shore suggests that parents visit the school in person before making a decision about where to send their child.
“Go to the school, get a feel for the campus, meet the teachers and principal, see what it’s like before making a judgment to find the school that works best for you and your child,” she said.