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Kindergarten Readiness Skills Checklist

Preschools and Kindergartens

Does your child have the kindergarten readiness skills that his or her teacher will be expecting? As a parent, it’s not always easy to gauge whether or not your child is ready for kindergarten. This short checklist of kindergarten readiness skills will help you assess whether your child is ready to face the challenges of kindergarten, or if he or she should perhaps wait a year and work on some of the necessary prerequisites.

Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Self Help

Properly prepared kindergarten students:

  • Are able to state their full name, age, home address, and phone number.
  • Can use the bathroom by themselves, clean themselves when they’re done, and wash their hands without help.
  • Are able to dress themselves for the most part, including putting on their coats and fastening buttons, snaps, and zippers.

Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Social/Emotional

Properly prepared kindergarten students:

  • Are able to separate from their parents or caregivers without being excessively upset.
  • Are capable of playing and sharing with other children.
  • Can recognize and respond to the feelings of others.
  • Understand the concept of waiting their turn.
  • Understand and properly use “please” and “thank you.”
  • Can focus on an adult-directed task for at least five minutes.

Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Language

Properly prepared kindergarten students:

  • Are capable of expressing their wants and needs verbally.
  • Can speak in complete sentences (of 5 words or more).
  • Are generally understood by adults.
  • Use words rather than physical action to express negative emotions, such as disappointment or anger.
  • Can understand and follow simple (two-step) directions.
  • Understand positional/relational terms (i.e. above, below, next to, on top of).

Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Gross Motor Skills

Properly prepared kindergarten students:

  • Can run and skip.
  • Can jump with both feet together, or hop while balancing on one foot.
  • Can climb stairs with alternating feet.
  • Can walk backwards.
  • Can bounce a ball.
  • Can attempt to catch a ball with both hands.

Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Fine Motor Skills

Properly prepared kindergarten students:

  • Can hold a pencil or crayon in a proper, non-fisted grip.
  • Can use scissors to complete an intentional task.
  • Are capable of tracing lines and basic shapes.
  • Can copy basic figures, such as squares, circles, and straight lines.

Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Math

Properly prepared kindergarten students:

  • Can count from 1 to 10.
  • Are at least beginning to count with one-to-one correspondence.
  • Can identify or point to basic shapes (i.e. circle, square, rectangle, triangle).
  • Can identify, either verbally or by pointing, the eight basic colors in a crayon box (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, and black).
  • Can sort items by one or more characteristics or attributes.

Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Literacy/Phonemic Awareness

Properly prepared kindergarten students:

  • Enjoy listening to stories being read to them.
  • Know how to handle a book (i.e. holding it right side up, knowing where it starts and where it ends).
  • Are capable of recognizing environmental print (i.e. familiar signs, words, and logos).
  • Can recite the alphabet.
  • Can recognize their own names in print.
  • Can identify some letters and the sounds they make.
  • Understand the concept of rhyming words.
  • Can draw pictures to express ideas.

Not all children will possess all of the kindergarten readiness skills on this checklist, so don’t worry if your child is missing a few. Just continue to work with your child to ensure that he or she is ready when the time for kindergarten enrollment comes around.

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