Some people say that preschool is the new kindergarten and kindergarten is the new first grade, so does that change what our kids need to know before they start elementary school? With preschoolers getting homework these days, some parents fear their kids who aren’t reading by the time they begin kindergarten are somehow behind already, but that’s just not the case.
Experts including Marcy Guddemi, former executive director of the Gesell Institute of Child Development say the best thing you can do for your kid who’s heading to kindergarten soon is to encourage a love of learning. At this age it’s all about building confidence and independence, not if they know that two plus two equals four. And this is what kids should know before kindergarten.
- They should be able to “use” books - Kids don’t need to learn to read before kindergarten, but they should know how to hold a book, which way to turn the pages and understand that the words tell the story, along with the pictures.
- They should know some letters and numbers - If they can count from one to 10, recognize most letters, and identify basic colors and shapes, they’re right on track for kindergarten.
- They should be able to write their first name - Their handwriting doesn’t need to be perfect, but by the time kindergarten starts, kids should be pretty good at writing their own name correctly.
- They should have a little bit of independence - As in being able to dress themselves, go to the bathroom on their own, pack up their own backpack, and ask for what they need. Kids should also be able to use scissors, glue sticks, and crayons fairly well when they start school.
- They should be getting pretty good at cooperation - Being able to share, take turns, and listen and follow simple directions are skills a new kindergarten student should have.
- They should know some basic personal information - A five-year-old should know their first and last name, and if you can get them to learn your address and phone number, even better.