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School Readiness FAQs
Q: Is my child ready for kindergarten?
A: No single factor determines whether a child is ready for kindergarten. If your child meets the chronological age requirements set by your school district, technically s/he is ready for kindergarten. We do know, however, that children who are more independent with their self-care skills, who can write their first name and who know the letters in the alphabet perform better in kindergarten than those who do not. The ability to interact in a positive manner with peers and follow basic directions from adults will also help children be more successful in kindergarten.
Many early childhood educators like to say that it is the responsibility of kindergartens to be ready for children, not the responsibility for children to be ready for a prescriptive school program. In other words, although some skills may help children be more successful in kindergarten, these skills should not be considered “gates” that are constructed to keep children out of school.
Q: What can I do to help my child be more successful in school?
A: The experiences that children have during their earliest years can help them enter school as confident learners.
Children who are exposed to more conversation, book reading and communication enrichment activities enter school with larger vocabularies. Children who enter schools with larger vocabularies have more school success when it is measured at third grade.
Drawing, writing, cutting and pasting are all important school readiness skills. Provide children with opportunities every day to interact with writing and drawing materials.
Helping children make friends and have multiple opportunities for social interactions will help them be more prepared for and successful in school.
Q: How does reading to children help prepare them for school?
A: Reading to children helps them learn to listen, teaches them new vocabulary and teaches them about many elements of language. In addition, reading to children introduces them to books, the concept of print and the joy they can receive from reading. When adults read and write, children are more likely to read and write. Their interest in reading and writing will serve them well in kindergarten.
Q: What can I ask the school to do to help my child be more successful, happy, make more friends, etc.?
A: If you are concerned about how your child is doing in kindergarten, schedule a time to meet with the teacher to discuss your concerns. The school can provide extra instruction in areas of reading, writing and mathematics if your child needs it. In addition, they may be able to assuage your fears by providing you opportunities to volunteer in your child’s classroom so that you can see that your child’s skills are similar to other children in the kindergarten class.
If you have concerns about your child’s progress, you can request that your child be referred for an assessment to determine if s/he qualifies for special education services.