What Should Child Know Before Starting Kindergarten?

Updated on May 07, 2010
T.M. asks from Fort Worth, TX
9 answers

Let me just start by saying that I was not a good student. I had terrible study / homework habits until college and want to make sure that my child does not. What should my focus be for getting him ready for kindergarten? Thanks!!!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Google "Kindergarten readiness" and you will find some good info. I think if he knows shapes, the alphabet, colors and how to write his name and can cut with scissors, he'll have a good start! You can also get him a K workbook at the dollar store for him to try this summer.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

He should be able to count to 20 or higher.
Be able to say the alphabet.
Be able to recognize some letters of the alphabet or all of them.
Be able to spell his name and write it (does not have to be perfect)
Draw a Human face with the features in the correct places.. (not perfect)
Be able to go to the potty all by himself (pull down pants and underwear, use the potty and wipe, replace his clothing back on his body)
Be able to wash his hands
Can sit and listen to a whole story
Should be able to keep his hands to himself
Knows his birthday
Can open a carton of milk, put a straw in his own juice box.

Things to prepare for Kinder..

Give him multiple tasks all at once.
"Please go to my room and look on my end table. I need my book with the picture of the car on it. Also could you bring me my car keys, they should be in my purse."

"We are going to the grocery store, help me make a list of what we need."
Sit down and you write it out, he could make his own list with some things he draws pictures of.
When you get to the grocery store tell him you forgot the list and see how many items he can remember, then at the last minute ask him to see if he can find the list in your purse. When he finds it, go over what is in the basket, verses what was on the list and see how many he remembered and how many he for got.. Work on memory..

Have him work on fine motor skills. Lots of coloring, sidewalk chalk, playdo, rolling small balls with his fingers rolling long snakes..

Have him separate all of the loose change into little piles. Have him connect an entire box of paperclips. (this does not have to be at one sitting)

Have him pick up stuff using only clothes pins.

Have him hang and then button all shirts out of the dryer.

Take him to story times at the library and the bookstore. Remind him to sit still and listen. If he has a question, remind him to raise his hand.

Teach him at when you drive down the street it is always on the right side of the road. When you walk in a store, remind him once again to walk on the right side of the aisle.

He will do great! So will you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

Some of the things my 4 year old daughter is learning in preschool:

Recognizing uppercase & lowercase letters
Recognizing numbers
Reciting alphabet
Writing her first name (she just learned this one in the past month)
Coloring w/ crayons, markers, paint
Cut w/ scissors along lines draw on paper
Gluing things on paper

They also work on teaching the kids to walk in a line, as well as be quiet while walking down the hallway. They also need to be prepared to sit in a classroom setting, be quiet & listen to the teacher for a period of time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi T.,

I'm in the mid-cities area. My 5 year old is finishing his first year of Kindergarten now. Kids come in at a variety of different levels -- but if you want him to struggle less this is what I would make sure he knows:

Be able to identify all letters - upper and lower case.
Identify numbers 1-20+
Counting 1-20+
All colors
All shapes
Phonetic sounds for letters

Some kids that go to pre-k already know how to write in capital letters. My son did not know how to write. Any reading they can get a jump on will help.

To help with phonetic sounds - we have the Leap Frog "Letter Factory" dvd, my husbands aunt is a teacher and she recommended it.

We were told when we started Kindergarten that the lesson plan that they use now was first grade 10 years ago. My son is finishing this year reading basic books, understanding counting coins/money, counting by 2, 10, 100.. He knew all of his "sight words" (about 50 of them) before the middle of the year.

Hope that helps.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

We were surprised at what was on the readiness exam for my granddaughter. She was expected to know how to fold paper in "half", cut with scissors, draw stick figures, color inside the lines, tie her shoes, pick one in 4 items that didn't belong, follow 3 instructions(do this, then this, then this), and several other tasks, besides the usual alphabet, numbers, and colors. Check with her new school for a list of expectations so you can work on things over the summer. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi T.,

What schools are expecting children to know upon entering K varries greatly. Someone said they are expected to know how to read all their site words. In our district they are expected to know that by the middle of first grade. Here's some of the things he should know...

recognize all of the letters both upper and lower case
know the sounds of a few of the letters
be able to count to at least 20
recognize numbers thru 20
know all his colors
know the basic shapes, circle rectangle square diamond oval
know concepts like over and under, up and down
be able to follow a two or three step direction
be able to recognize his name
be able to dress himself completely (zip zippers)
use the bathroom by himself and properaly wash his hands

I'm sure there are a few more, but this is what comes to mind.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

Read to him as much as possible! He won't be able to read yet, but he will begin to recognize the shapes of the letters, and plus, it's just good for kids to enjoy reading/being read to.

Other than that, learning his alphabet (singing the song, and seeing/recognizing the different letters in written form), recognizing his name when he sees it written, learning to count objects, and knowing shapes and colors. Have him practice coloring (it's ok if he goes outside the lines; the practice will help him refine his motor skills for writing in Kinder). Take him to story time at the library so he can learn how to sit with a group of other children and listen to the teacher. Being able to follow multi-step directions is important (i.e. "go get your coloring book, bring it to the table, and sit down").

I'm not a teacher, but having a child in Kindergarten this year, these are the skills that have helped her the most, I think.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on



answers from Dallas on

Hi T., Im going to add to what the lady below me said. My daughter is just finishing Pre K and getting ready to go into kindergarden when the new school year starts... She Knows how to write her 1st name first letter capital and the rest lower case. She knows the days of the week, colors, shapes, abc's, recognizez some sounds and the upper and lower case letters... Now to pass Kindergarden all the moms on my block whose kids are done with kindergarden or are just getting out of it say that to pass they need to know how to read, count to 100, know address and telephone number, months, days of weeks, colors, shapes, write 1st and last name correctly and some other things. I live in ft worth as well my daughter goes to pre k at the weldon hafliy development center and will be attending park view hills elemetary school in august. Hope this helps... Good luck. Its always good to go and get flash cards with abc's numbers words ect to help your kids. Good luck

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