Academic readiness for your soon to be kindergartener is a must for a successful start to the new school year. Beginning as early as you can to help prepare your child academically will help insure a more smooth transition.
What should a kindergartener know academically before starting school? Since there are over 1 million kindergarten teachers in the U.S. there are many answers to this age old question. However, I have compiled a list of skills ALL kindergarten teachers wish their students have mastered prior to the first day of school.
Since technology use is becoming more and more prevalent in children, and at much earlier ages, kindergarten teachers are noticing the lack of writing skills in new students. Children entering kindergarten do not have to know how to write their name, but they should be able to recognize their own first name. You can practice writing letters and especially their “real” name–not a nickname–at home in many different ways. Using a multisensory approach helps children learn as well as retain skills such as writing. Filling a cake pan or cookie sheet with sand, salt, sugar or flour and having your child use fingers or some type of utensil to write the letters of their name is an example of multisensory approach. Shaving cream or foaming soap in the tub is another fun way to learn how to write and recognize their name. Recognizing their own name makes finding seats and personal items much more quick and easy. This makes for a great start to the first day of kindergarten.
Need more ideas? Check out my post “The Best Name Activities for Kindergarten”
Having your child know and identify all 26 letters of the alphabet would be amazing, but isn’t necessary. They will learn and practice letter identification during the kindergarten school year. However, your child needs to know what letters are, recognize a letter is different than numbers, and hopefully know the letters of their own name. Just knowing the ABC song is not enough! This will set the stage for a very successful start to academic education. You as the grownup can help your kiddo learn this skill by playing alphabet games. Flashcards are useful, but identifying and learning the sounds of household items are much more engaging. Refrigerator magnets or bathtub letters are examples of fun ways to expose and reinforce letter identification and sounds. Reading to your child has been statistically proven to be the #1 way to promote learning, reading skills, letter ID, and all things literacy. This simple act will expose your little one to much more than just ABC’s.
Counting is the first step to number recognition. You can help with your child’s proficiency by counting throughout the day. Count food items, toys, fingers, and play number games. Identifying and writing the numbers 1-10 can be accomplished by pointing out numbers in your child’s everyday life. Roadway signs, menus or books is a great start to exposing your kiddos to number recognition. Writing numbers can be fun and engaging by using some of the same multisensory items as above. Shaving cream or foaming soap in the tub. Cake pans filled with flour, sugar, or salt. These are great ways to teach and reinforce number recognition.
Shapes and Colors
Your child probably has been identifying colors for quite some time now. Continue to strengthen this skill by playing games such as “I Spy”, sorting buttons, or coloring and having your child state what colors they used. Simple shapes and their correct names are often a prerequisite to kindergarten. Circles, squares, rectangles and triangles can be seen and identified in everyday items in your child’s world. Point these items out and have your child say the name. Make games out of shape recognition. Cutting out these shapes help with fine motor skills as well. And of course—READ, READ, READ!!!
It is the educators job to teach the basics and the building blocks of education, but having your child know or at least be familiar with these skills, will help make for a great start to the kindergarten school year!!