Kindergarten Readiness Skills

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Help Your Child Get Ready for Kindergarten

Every child grows, develops, and learns at a different rate. Your child may already be successful with some skills and may need more time to develop others. The key is to give your child plenty of opportunities to practice and learn these skills by interacting naturally with family and friends.

The following skill areas are based on the Utah Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines. Review these skill areas, observe your child, and identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. Then use the Ready! Set! School! lessons and activities to find ways to develop your child's skills.

Click here to download a checklist that you can use to keep track of your child's progress

The Basics of Kindergarten Readiness:

In order to attend kindergarten, your child must be five years old before September 2nd of the enrolling year.
You must provide:
  • An official birth certificate.
  • An immunization record or an immunization exemption form. This can be picked up at your local health department.
  • A vision screening certificate.

A few other things to do:

  • Some school districts require a record of a recent health examination. Check with your local school to find out what it requires in the health examination and whether it offers a kindergarten vision screening.
  • Find out whether your school has a kindergarten orientation and make plans to attend. Most schools hold their orientation in the early spring.
  • Make an appointment to visit the school and teacher before the first day of school.
  • Talk with your child about some of the fun things that will happen at school, such as meeting new friends, listening to stories, and playing outside. Address any concerns your child may have.
  • Begin a healthy routine by making sure that your child sleeps at least 10-12 hours and eats a nutritious breakfast every day.

Helpful Resources

If you are concerned about your child's development, contact your local school district. Every district actively seeks out and serves children with special needs. For additional resources and information, go to Special Education area of the Utah State Office of Education website.

Head Start serves the child development needs of preschool children (birth through age five) and their low-income families. For further information, contact the Head Start Collaboration Office at (801) 538-9312.

Skill that Your Child will Need for Best Results:

By reviewing these skills, you will be prepared to adapt Ready! Set! School! lessons to your child.

Self-Help Skills

  • Eats independently.
  • Uses restroom independently.
  • Washes hands after using the restroom.
  • Removes outerwear independently.
  • Asks questions and seeks out adult help when necessary.
  • Knows how to care for and use books.
  • Cleans up after self.

Social/Emotional Skills

  • Tries new things.
  • Takes turns.
  • Shares materials.
  • Listens while others talk.
  • Shows concern for others.
  • Plays cooperatively with other children.
  • Works well independently or in small groups.
  • Separates from parent without undue anxiety.
  • Knows parent or guardian's first and last name.
  • Knows own first and last name and can tell an adult.

Large Motor Skills

  • Hops, jumps, and runs.
  • Bounces, catches, kicks, and throws balls.
  • Walks in a straight line forward and backward.
  • Balances on dominant foot for five seconds.
  • Participates in simple games.

Small Motor Skills

  • Holds writing instruments correctly.
  • Holds scissors correctly.
  • Uses scissors to cut straight or curved lines.
  • Turns a single page in a book.
  • Puts together simple puzzles.

Math Skills

  • Counts to ten.
  • Creates groups of up to five objects.
  • Places like items together (e.g., red cars and blue cars).
  • Plays with, identifies, and names the shapes (e.g., circle, triangle, and rectangle).
  • Uses comparative words (e.g., heavier, shorter, less, taller, bigger).

Language and Literacy

  • Listens attentively and responds to stories and books.
  • Speaks in complete sentences.
  • Speaks clearly enough to be understood by unfamiliar adults.
  • Has a vocabulary that includes words to name colors, parts of the body, and positional words (e.g., in/out, to/from, around, upside down).
  • Expresses feelings and ideas.
  • Knows poems and songs.
  • Identifies signs, symbols, or logos in the environment.
  • Identifies 10 or more letters of the alphabet, especially those in own name.
  • Writes using drawings and made-up or real letters.

For more information about the Utah Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines, a 48-page document by the Utah State Office of Education is available by clicking here.

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