Kindergarten - Pittston,PA

Updated on November 15, 2011
J.C. asks from Pittston, PA
19 answers

Hi Mamas!
I would like to ask all of you about your children as they entered Kindergarten. I am curious, what skills exactly did they all have going into it?
I have a son, going to be 5 in April and I am already nervous. What does he need to know to be ahead when he gets there? Multiplication? Reading chapter books? (kidding) But I really am curious what everyones experiences have been. I want to get him ready the best way he needs to be, but am not exactly sure how much is too much, or how little is too little. I have him in PreK, but want to be certain they are giving him what he needs.
Thank you all very much!

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answers from New York on

My son is in K now. He isn't reading yet but is very close (he can sound out some words and knows his letter sounds). Some but not all his classmates can read.

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answers from Dallas on

The school district my daughter goes to sent a list to us before school started. It is as follows:

Can feed and toilet independently
Can operate buttons, zippers, and snaps on clothes
Can tie his/her shoes independently or wear ones with velcro
Can sit and listen to a complete story
Can recite simple nursery rhymes or songs
Can stay awake during school hours and does not need a nap (they do all day kindergarten here)
Can work and play well with other children
Can separate from parents easily when left in care of others
Can write first name using upper and lower case letters
Can count to 20
Can read and write all upper and lower case letters of the alphabet
Can follow simple 2-3 step directions.

This is a general list of things. If he is in Pre-K he will be fine. I found that for the most part a lot of the things they are learning at first in Kindergarten are taught in order to get everyone on the same page since you will have a significant number of kids entering kindergarten with little to no preschool/Pre K experience.

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answers from Austin on

Be be to sit quietly and listen to a story.

Can follow multi task instructions without help or reminders. "We are getting ready to go to the store. Please go and pick out a snack and get me one too. Put the snacks in my purse. Get your jacket and put it on."

Knows how to spell his name.

Maybe can write his name.

Totally Potty trained.

Can draw a face with the features in the proper places.. (not perfect)

Can count to 30.

Knows the alphabet.

Can write some of the letters and some of the numbers.

Can recognize some letters and some numbers.

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answers from Charlotte on

Added - reading Carol's post is eye-popping. Not every school district expects this of children coming into kindergarten. And I would be very upset if my kid's school expected this. Go talk to your elementary school and find out what they look for. It is RIDICULOUS for a school to expect children to be able to read coming into kindergarten.

J., what you child needs to do in kindergarten is be able to follow the teacher's rules and transition from activity to activity. Kinders learn HOW to be in school. It is wonderful for your child to know his ABC's, numbers, and easy addition. Colors, shapes, drawing and coloring, working with manipulatives so that it is easier for him to learn to write. (Picking up small beads, things like that, to help develop strength and dexterity in his fingers to prepare him for writing.)

You don't want to have him "go to school" too early. What I mean is that you don't want to give him work sheets and act like he is supposed to sit down and "work" while he is in preschool. You want him to learn by playing. You can do math anywhere you are - in the store, outside in the park. You can point out ABC's and introduce him to sounds that the letters make while you are looking at billboards. Take him to the library and sit in the cushions or couch and read to him. If there's a Saturday morning reading program there, take him and let him sit in the circle and listen to a story. Circle time is very important and children need to have the maturity to be able to do that.

Sometimes children AREN'T ready for kindergarten if they can't sit still, listen to a story, transition from activity to activity well. Sometimes they need to wait a year and go when they are older. Your pre-school teachers and the guidance counselor at the elementary school can give you assessments of your child's readiness. I had to do that with my own son. I have never regretted waiting until he was mature enough to go.

So - no multiplication tables and chapter books, okay? (LOL!) Teach him life overall. The reading, writing and arithmetic will come!!


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answers from San Francisco on

Hmm, we are in one of the top (public) school districts in California. Many kids come in "advanced" and others, not so much. There are no academic requirements. Yes, they evaluate them to see how well they know their letters, numbers, days of the week, writing skills, etc. but it's just a starting point. It's also about making sure the classes are well balanced and identifying any early learning problems.
Being ready for kindergarten is pretty much the same as it has been for years: a child should be able to use the toilet, get in and out of their jackets/shoes on their own, sit and listen to a story, follow simple directions, have basic manners with other children and adults (waiting, taking turns, not hitting etc.)
If you want to prepare your child at home, have him do lots of drawing, cutting, gluing, coloring, anything that improves fine motor (pre writing) skills. Do lots of counting and sorting (how many pancakes do we need? how many of each type of fruit is in your fruit salad? do you have more red tee shirts than blue?) And of course read to him every day! Reading is all about comprehension and following a story, even if he isn't reading on his own it's still important to be able to recall a story that was read aloud :)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son's class was reading by Christmas. Simple addition, self help skills--bathroom, dressing, etc, Some kids are ahead, some are behind--but all tend to level out throughout the year. At his "evaluation", my son had to count (they stopped him at over 100. Spell his name, cut out a simple shape with scissors, color a picture of a butterfly...
Here's a website with a "Kindergarten readiness checklist":

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answers from Fort Myers on

My grandson entered kindergarten this year. He went to pre-k last year & we thought that they prepared him for kindergarten. Wrong !! I took him to an evaluation before school started.. I was very surprised when i was told that he was behind in everything. He is very smart. & has a great memory. He had to know his alphebet (upper & lower case) & be able to write them. He was told to count to 100. He could only count to 20. He was asked his birthdate, his home address, & his phone number. (everyone in his home has cel phones. ) he was put in a special reading class because he couldn't read yet. According to his teacher, all the other kids were already reading books. Confused?? We were. After this happened, i went on line to i got this from another mom on mamapedia. I really helped. We realized what we already knew. He is smart ! Good luck !

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answers from Lakeland on

I think a lot depends on the state and if your child will be in public or private school. My daughter turned 5 the week school started here in Florida. I was worried she would not be ready. She was behind on some things when she started, but is now excelling past the other students. She is only one of six in the class and the teacher can give all the kids one on one time.
I would think if he has been in pre-k he will be just fine. You can pick up a Brain Quest workbook, I use them with my daughter. They start at pre-k level and go up from there. I found they are a useful tool in their learning and you will be able to see where he is at.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Mamazita's answer sums it up very well. I would just add not to worry about prepping a bunch of academics. Make learning a part of the world he experiences every day. Read to him a lot, encourage a love of books, give him opportunities to explore and make new friends. Fine motor skills are often one of the hardest parts for boys so give him opportunities to color, use a white board, find objects in playdough or putty, make stuff with play dough, scissors, etc. Kumon has some great little project books with fun cutting projects that are designed for his age group (I think Target carries some of them).

My son was a very young K (turned 5 2 weeks before cutoff date). We were worried about social stuff, but he did amazingly well. Fine motor was the biggest challenge. Everything else just fell into place bit by bit. K teachers are amazing, they are able to deal with such a wide range of skills when kids start. DS's K class had kids you didn't know a single letter to kids reading advanced (and I mean high school level) dinosaur books and were able to pronounce every word. The teacher will get to know your child and match the material to him. But he will feel more confident if he can sing the alphabet song, recognize some letters and their sounds, count to 10, and write his name. His PreK teacher can also let you know if they see any issues.

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answers from Erie on

Nervous? I say forget it. We have twin boys who turned five in May and started kindergarten in August. Lots of people told us we should put them in pre-K for a year rather that start them "too early". I believed (and still do) that all of the behaviors that they display are typical for boys their age, so I didn't see a reason to hold them back. Boy, am I glad about that. We just had parent-teacher conferences and our guys know much more than they were expected to know. I would think that your guy would do wonderfully (maybe even be a little bored) if you have him in a pre-K program that's even halfway decent.

If you want more specifics, I can pass them along. I was just pleased to see that our school (decent public school in a suburb with a wide socio-economic range) is focused on why they need to know things, e.g. what sounds the letters make is more important than the names of the letters.

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answers from Washington DC on

There will be a wide range of abilities when he starts. My daughter was almost 6, so she was reading and writing some words and could identify all letters and print her name. My son had just turned 5. He could get his first name down and that was about it. And they said that was perfectly acceptable. They are now going over all the letters. He comes home excited and can write some words and read some words. By the end of kindergarten there are about 50 sight words they expect them to know. Our school had a back to school night in spring for prospective parents to tell them what to help their kids with over the summer, and during kindergarten round up they gave us a list of things to know. If your son is in preschool his teacher can also let you know. As for too much, those that are ahead are pulled out for "enrichment" and they are given some extra things to keep them interested.

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answers from Honolulu on

Every school's curriculum, is different.

Don't worry.

My son, turned 5, after starting Kinder this past August.
Prior, he went to Preschool part time.
While in preschool, he had NO interest in academics or learning all that stuff.
I never pushed it.
His Kinder Teacher said, don't worry. He'll be fine.
And he is.
He is now a great student, can count way past 200, knows all his ABC's, letters and is reading now. And he knows some math too.

Every child, is at a different level. Some kids never went to preschool and some do. I never stressed about my son. Everything clicked... once he started Kinder. And he learned, quickly and loves it and it is fun for him.
My daughter on the other hand, already knew all that stuff, prior to entering Kinder. From 2 years old. She loved doing workbooks and learning. My son likes learning too... but he is just a different personality.
I never, worried.
And per my son, he was socially and emotionally ready and mature... and is good about focusing and listening to direction and cooperation etc.

So, both my kids, had different "skills" upon entering Kindergarten. But they both did well.
Both my kids, entered Kinder at 4. And because they are late born, they turned 5 years old a couple of months after entering Kinder.
Most of their class, was the same age. Only a few, were older. Not the majority.

In Kinder, my son even has computer class, Japanese language class, Hawaiian language class and Mandarin language class, PE, art, social studies, science, and the basics such as reading and numbers and math etc. But they learn, in a fun way. Not drilling. And of course, they play too and have recess.

Don't, worry.
Every Kindergarten and every Preschool, is different.

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answers from Kansas City on

There are a lot of great pre-K and kindergarten workbooks available at Barnes & Noble or Walmart. You can flip through them to see what kindergartners are doing.

Our son did preschool and kindergarten at the same school. His preschool teacher gave us a list of things to work on over the summer to be prepared for kinder. We worked on stuff like patterns (cow, horse, cow, horse, ____ or red, red, blue, red, red, _____), counting (they wanted 1-100 by Christmas), basic addition/subtraction, zipping his coat, knowing full name/address/phone number, and writing letters/his name. She also gave us a list of 100 sight words (I, a, am, is, are, was, were, color words, number words, etc).

I'm sure there were more things, I just can't remember.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter was just shy of 6 when she entered Kindergarten this year, so I had more time to work with her than maybe some of the other kids in the class. In fact, we worked on everything on the "Kindergarten Readiness" list her school posts. She could read Level 1 books and print her letters and numbers, but not in the right way they are taught. She could count to 100 and knew all her colors, shapes etc, of course.

Although I know some of the kids in her class were struggling with letter sounds and recognition.

If you want to work with your son on the relevant things, I'd go to the web site for his school and/or district. Under the Kindergarten section, they will most likely have a readiness checklist that can guide you. If not, send me a personal message and I'll happily copy ours. I'm sure they are all very similar no matter where you are from.

Good luck. Over the summer was a great time to work on these things. Lots of fun days, but they get bored too, so a half hour a day, or whatever fits your sons personality, is good for them.



answers from Detroit on

Relax... they do not eed much. They like them to be able to write teir name. count to 100. know all letters capital and lower case. colors shapes. identify numbers 1-10.

That being said.. not all kids go to school knowing these things. They start out teaching colors and shapes the first week.. then they move to letter A..they do one letter per day kids write the letter. talk about the sound it makes..

My daughteer is one of hte oldest in her class. December birthday turning 6.. She says kindergarden is easy.. she enjoys it but it doesnt challenge her. The teacher really encourages the kids to write words and sentences.. Of couse she cant spell so no one can read what she writes..(school is skl florida is fda etc...

so dont worry... try to teach him colors shapes letters numbers..


answers from Springfield on

My little man (5) just started kindergarten this year. He count and read (sorta), he was having a little trouble with colors, but a week after it started we go a note, suprise your kid is color blind. I have no idea why i didnt think about that cause is dad and older bro is, but it was fine, he love school!



answers from Los Angeles on

How about calling your school district to ask?
And I would do that now?
I think I will do the same.



answers from New York on

Why don't you ask your preschool teachers. I am assuming the preschool
is in the same district. The idea of preschool is to get them ready for K.
So if I had to guess, I think he will be ready. Try not to worry.



answers from Pittsburgh on

As other posters have said, there is a wide variety of what is expected when a child enters K. A few suggestions:

- go to google, and enter this search term: pennsylvania state standards for kindergarten. the first search result should be a .pdf file from the Department of Education that lists the standards that kindergarten students are expected to master/have mastered

-contact the school district you live in, and ask to speak with the curriculum director (if it's a big district) or if you can be put in touch with a kindergarten teacher specifically. You can then ask specific questions and get answers specific to your district.

-school registration is typically in late winter in most PA districts, and there is typically a Kindergarten Orientation near the end of the year for incoming parents. The teachers will give an overview of what they teach and touch on what they need the students to know when they show up on the first day. For example, our K teacher asked that if they didn't already know how to tie their shoes to send them in slip ons or velcro until they did. She also told us Kindergarten now is what we experienced in 1st grade, just to give you an idea.

-is your district all day? i know that the district i grew up in has all day Kindergarten, and they have a much, much earlier birthday cut off for K than you would think. April shouldn't be an issue, but it's worth checking out.

-unless your PreK is part of your district and the teachers are district employees, I wouldn't suggest asking them if what they are teaching is all that your son will need. chances are it is, but just to be on the safe side, especially if your PreK is not in your district, you want to be on the safe side.

all Kindergarten expectations are different. my son and my 1st cousin are in the same grade, and my aunt and I always discuss what they are learning/have learned. two totally different districts in the same state, two very different types of teaching and learning and expectations.

good luck!!

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