Spending Time Together

Dot Your I's, Cross Your T's: What Your Child Should Know Before Kindergarten

Kindergarten is an exciting time both in your life and in your child's – but with schools changing up their curriculum every year, how are you to know what skills your child needs to know beforehand and which ones will be taught? If you're looking for a short list of things that it's best your child knows before their first day of school, then here's what you need to know.

ABC, 123

While your child may not be able to sit down with a chapter book and read it steadily to you (though if they are, good for them), they should at least be able to recognize their ABCs, both uppercase and lowercase, and should know their numbers. Not only will this knowledge make it easier for them when they do start to read, but it also ensures that they'll be able to sound out bigger words by knowing what sounds the letters make and be able to identify their numbers. Songs are a great way to teach your child their letters and numbers, so find one or two online that your child enjoys and make sure they know it.

Pencil Preparedness

Before your child walks into their first day of kindergarten, it's important that they can write their own name – at the very least. A lot of kindergarten is teaching and reinforcing skills that they'll need for first grade through the rest of their lives, and using a pencil is one of those skills. While there's a chance that your child's kindergarten will focus on learning to use pencils and pens and write their names, letters, and numbers, teaching your child beforehand will ensure they know it if the class skips over it, or that your child can spend writing time working on new challenges while the rest of the class catches up.

Basic Autonomy

Yes, your kid will be watched over by their kindergarten teacher (who is often helped out by a teacher's aide or second teacher), but it's important to note that this is probably the first time that they'll be out of the house without you – so make sure that they can do certain things all by themselves. Processes like going to the bathroom, washing their hands, operating a drinking fountain, and unwrapping their brown-bagged lunch are all things your child is likely to have to do, so go through a dry run before school starts and ensure that they can do them, even if it takes them a bit longer than it would take you to do it for them.

For more information on learning preparation for kindergarten, contact a local preschool.