Ways to Ensure Your Child Is Prepared to Start School

Classroom with teacher and children learningChildren of the same age can vary widely in abilities, development levels, and milestones achieved. Yet, in most parts of the country, by law, they’re required to enter kindergarten around age 5, regardless of social aptitude or emotional maturity. The idea that children are automatically ready for school based on their year of birth has become a somewhat controversial topic. Some educators believe schools should address each child’s potential gaps in development, instead of assuming that all are at the same pace. One method is a “readiness test” that assesses new students’ abilities. While these evaluations don’t necessarily predict a student’s future success, parents can use the results to benchmark their children’s development against others in their age group. Parents also can gather additional information on their current abilities from their child’s pediatrician, preschool teachers, or daycare providers. Having this insight ahead of time can help concerned parents if the new school identifies developmental areas where their child lags behind.

Does Your Child Have These Traits?

Whether your child is up to speed or just a tad behind, teachers have found the following traits helpful for kindergarten success. Each characteristic can better improve children’s cognitive, physical, and emotional development before they enter school:

Did you know? Being able to recognize words, hold interest in a book, and count on one's fingers are some pre-academic skills that characterize a child's kindergarten readiness.

  • Enthusiasm for learning and trying new activities
  • Curiosity
  • The ability to follow directions
  • Sensitivity to other children’s feelings
  • The ability to take turns and share

Can Your Child Do the Following?

Before your child enters elementary school, you should ensure he/she can:

  • Play with other children without fighting or crying
  • Pay attention when listening to a story
  • Use the toilet on his/her own
  • Use zippers and buttons
  • Say his/her name, address, and telephone number

How Can You Help Your Child?

Parents can help their children develop these traits and capabilities by:

  • Helping with recognition of letters, numbers, and colors
  • Scheduling trips to the museum, or art or science programs
  • Encouraging play with children of both sexes
  • Participating in organized, community sponsored

For more information visit the following trusted sites to learn additional ways to set up your child for success:

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Child Development