As the parent of a preschool age child, you have probably already begun to prepare for the elementary school years. To help your child develop kindergarten readiness, you can start at home with fun, educational activities that feel like play. It is also important to find a preschool program that will support your goals for your child.
5 Categories of Kindergarten Readiness Skills
There are many places you can find kindergarten readiness resources for parents. This article will simplify an overwhelming amount of information into 5 main areas. Everything your child needs to get off to a great start will fall into one of these categories of kindergarten readiness.
• Reading Readiness
• Basic Knowledge Skills
• Motor Skills
• Social Skills
• Personal Knowledge
Kindergarten Readiness Activities to Prepare your Preschooler
The following kindergarten readiness activities can easily be done at home or in a formal preschool setting. Children learn best through play. Implementing these ideas throughout the day in a natural, fun way will make learning stress-free and enjoyable. Many kindergarten readiness resources for parents can be found online.
The following activities have been broken down by relevant kindergarten readiness skills area. Begin doing these on a weekly basis when your little one is around 3 or 4 years of age and they will be more than prepared when it comes to kindergarten readiness.
1. Reading Readiness
This is an easy one and probably something you have already been doing. The best way to prepare your child for reading is simply to read to them! Involve small children in a variety of stories and picture books. Ask them to interpret the illustrations. Point to the words as you read them aloud. Make it fun by using different voices for characters. Allow your child to pick out the books and turn the pages. If there is a favorite story, read it every day, but introduce new books on a regular basis.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 26% of children who were read to regularly by a family member recognized the letters of the alphabet, compared to 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently.
2. Basic Knowledge Skills
Every kindergartner should have basic knowledge skills, including colors, shapes, numbers and letters. Parents and educators can point out colors and shapes in the home or school building. Toys and other familiar objects can be described in detail to the child. Matching games can be played with paper cut outs or plastic manipulatives.
Numbers and letters can be learned by studying signs, books and food packages. Flashcards are a great tool for learning these basics for kindergarten readiness. Magnetic letters and numbers can be placed on the refrigerator or a metal cookie sheet.
3. Motor Skills
Large motor skills can be developed through play. Make games out of skipping, jumping on one leg, crab crawling, balancing on a low beam, front rolling and spinning in circles.
Fine motor skills include holding a pencil, using scissors, coloring inside the lines, driving a toy car along a path or shaping play dough.
Motor skills are important to develop in the early years as they will be essential to your child’s kindergarten readiness.
4. Social Skills
Kindergartners need to enter school with certain social skills to help them succeed in their classroom. It is important to learn basic manners, sharing, getting along with others, raising hands and standing in line.
In a CNN article titled Study: Behavior in Kindergarten Linked to Adult Success, the author states, “…it takes the discipline, it takes the motivation, the attitude, the ability to work with others and work with adults to be able to succeed in schools and attain degrees.”
5. Personal Knowledge
Preschoolers need to have basic personal knowledge to round out their kindergarten readiness. Start with how to spell and write their first name. Teach them your phone number and be sure to practice until they can recite it with ease. It is important for them to know their address, but be sure they at least know the name of their city and street name.
These personal details will give your child self-awareness while promoting a sense of safety and belonging.
Focusing on these 5 skill areas will guarantee that your preschooler can enter elementary school with confidence and the knowledge they need to succeed.
A Supportive Kindergarten Readiness Program
Make sure that your child’s preschool has an accredited program for kindergarten readiness. The ABC Academy offers the fully accredited Great Start Readiness Program at its Jackson child care center that will support your family goals.