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HomeArticlesReady or Not? Kindergarten Start Options

Ready or Not? Kindergarten Start Options

Determining the appropriate start date for a child’s entry into kindergarten often revolves around a calendar day cutoff. However, while calendar dates are a significant consideration, parents should also evaluate additional factors in the decision-making process.

Indicators of Readiness
  • Ability to use a writing utensil, engage in listening to stories, and counting activities
  • Seeking help with appropriate language skills
  • Regulating emotions in new situations
  • Independently managing basic needs
  • Successfully following rules within a group setting
  • Academic Readiness: One aspect to assess is the child’s academic readiness. This involves determining whether the child has been exposed to fundamental math and reading skills, such as recognizing numbers and letters. It is important to gauge the child’s ability to count and comprehend age-appropriate stories.
  • Social and Emotional Skills: In addition to academic preparedness, parents should examine the child’s readiness in social and emotional skills. Successful kindergarten students must possess the ability to self-regulate their emotions, work both independently and collaboratively within a group, and exercise impulse control. Poor impulse control may lead to chronic disciplinary issues, adversely impacting the child’s self-esteem over time.
  • Communication: Language skills and the ability to seek assistance also contribute significantly to a child’s success in kindergarten. Effective communication, including vocabulary and self-awareness skills, enables the child to advocate for themselves throughout the day. Polite methods of attracting adult attention and expressing needs become essential in the kindergarten classroom.
  • Physical Development: Physical development plays a role in kindergarten readiness, requiring students to have the stamina for a full 6-hour school day. Proficiency in self-care tasks, such as feeding oneself and addressing basic bodily needs, along with engagement in physical activities, is key. The development and utilization of gross and fine motor skills are fundamental for daily success.

When contemplating the decision to delay a child’s entry into kindergarten, it is essential to weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully. Providing an additional year of preschool is often viewed as a “gift of time,” allowing for the natural development of skills. However, drawbacks may include potential academic boredom and a sense of being out of sync with future peers with milestones such as driving and dating.

Parents are encouraged to consider the holistic readiness of the child, taking into account strengths and concerns. Consulting with experts such as the child’s current preschool teacher, pediatrician, or leaders of daycare and camps can provide valuable insights. Utilizing one’s support network is crucial in making this initial step into formalized schooling.

Dr. Gayle Galligan
Dr. Gayle Galligan
An Arizona native, Dr. Gayle Galligan has been a teacher of the gifted, a staff development trainer, a mentor to teachers and administrators, a leadership developer for administrators, and a principal of a Title 1 K-8 school before moving to the district level. She is currently serves as the Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in the Deer Valley Unified School District and oversees all areas that impact students PreK-12.



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