Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Readiness Skills to Practice for Kindergarten

By: Christine Cox, The Choosy Mommy

I can’t even believe these words are coming out, but next year I will have a child in KINDERGARTEN! Time has gone by so fast and I just can’t get over that my oldest child will be going to full-day school next year. As a parent, I lay in bed at night and wonder if she is even ready. She seems so young to be in school all day, but she loves going to pre-school. She says it is one of her favorite things to do (besides soccer and swim class)! How are parents to know if their child is ready, besides being the right age? I attended a meeting at my daughter’s pre-school and here is a list of readiness skills to practice for kindergarten (as recommended by teachers).


It is all about the alphabet in kindergarten. From identifying all 26 capital letters, to knows their sounds from beginning to end, the teachers agreed that the ABC’s are most important for kindergartners.


Numbers rank high on what they should know, but according to these teachers, they only expect a kindergartner to know 1-12 (verbally and identifying). In pre-school, my daughter learned up to 30 which is a lot, but once you get past 20 it is pretty easy.

Colors, Patterns & Shapes

Yes, these three things are what you would expect a kindergartner to know. But my child, my natural born leader, doesn’t “learn” from me. She thinks she is always right, even if I try to correct her (we are working on this.) Thankfully, she did go to pre-school to learn these things from her teachers. I can say, however, that flashcards helped her a lot with color recognition and shapes.

Puzzles also work wonders! My 18-month old son is just getting into puzzles. We have a shape puzzle that actually says the shape when you place it in the correct spot. Needless to say, 'oval' is a new favorite word around here!

Fine Motor Skills: Writing & Cutting

Here is the biggest one in my book. Writing is a skill that takes more than memorization. Children who are ready for kindergarten need to be able to print their first name with the first letter being capital and the rest lower case. This takes practice. In the first year of pre-school, my daughter learned all of her capital letters and how to write her name with those. And this year, she is reviewing the capitals and learning lower case. In the beginning it was confusing to her that she had to write her name with the lower case letters too, but she is getting much better at it. Luckily her name isn’t long!

Also, writing and cutting are fine motor skills that are not being learned as quickly with this generation. This article about learning fine motor skills says that children aren’t learning the art of holding a pencil/crayon/paintbrush/cutting with scissors like they used to because of the touch screen technology that is now available. I mean, my 18 month old does know how to open the iPad, touch and swipe!


All I have heard for the past week was, “Is snowflake a compound word? What about basketball? Butterfly?” Kids soak up knowledge fast and are curious about words. As a piece of advice, be their teacher at home and go with the flow when they are interested in something like this. I found books that had compound words in them and pointed them out as we were reading.

They are also expected to know rhyming words in kindergarten. So same thing. I would fine books that rhymed and we’d practice those words. Dr. Suess is the best for this!

Once we were done reading the story, I’d ask her to retell it to me because the teachers also expect this. It has to do with understanding!

Last Note from the Kindergarten Teacher

One of the kindergarten teachers made these points at our meeting:

  • Teach your children to tie their shoes. This is a fine motor skill that is being learned later in life and should be learned before kindergarten. 
  • Get your child off of video games and touch screen technology and read a book together instead. Read to your children every day. They will learn more than just the story they hear.
  • Teach your children how to use the water fountain. Pushing that button might be hard, but they will need to know how to do it!

If you have a child who is in kindergarten, or is already past this level, what were they expected to learn that I haven’t mentioned? How did you or your child deal with the stress of this milestone?

About the Author: Christine Cox is the blog master for Choosy Kids and owner of The Choosy Mommy. She has always had a passion for writing and is honored to contribute her work to this blog. Most of her writing inspiration comes from her daughter, Capri, who is fun-loving and full of energy, and son Cam, who is learning new things everyday. Click here to learn more about Christine.


  1. These are awesome tips. I used to tech kindergarten and many kids came in unprepared.

  2. This post would have been so helpful had I come across it last year. ;) This is all so true. I was shocked with everything that my daughter had to catch up on in her kindergarten class. She was great with art, social skills and coordination, but was behind in memorization and reading. Thankfully she quickly caught up, but I wish I'd had a heads up. These are really helpful tips!

  3. My daughter does most of these things. We need to work on tieing shoes though. She doesn't have any shoes with laces so it never comes to mind lol

  4. Tying shoes, buttoning pants, all of these skills are super helpful. Great post. I'll have a Kindergartener too next year...sniff, sniff.

  5. My son is in 4th grade and he still struggles with cutting. Fine Motor skills are still being worked on!


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