I recently shared a post about life skills your child needs before Kindergarten. There was a lot of great feedback from parents, so I decided to elaborate on various skills your child should have before Kindergarten. These are not mandatory, but they will sure help your child out AND make your child’s teacher happy and appreciative.
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It is very helpful if your child is able to go to Kindergarten knowing their name. This might seem obvious to some, but when I taught Kindergarten there were many students who did not have this skills down.
Want to really impress your child’s teacher? Teach your child to write their name using the correct formation that the school uses. Yes, there is a difference! Check it out below.
Ask the school your child will mostly likely attend which one to teach. And don’t stress! If you’re not sure what school your child is going to, then I recommend using the print font. You can print free, customized handwriting sheets at this website.
If you have the time to help your child master writing letters correctly, they are going to do better in school. Having the ability to know the letter and how to write that letter down will be invaluable. It will also free up working memory to allow your child to complete more complex tasks that they will be learning in school.
Please take the time to help your child learn the correct letter formation! Once a bad habit starts, it is extremely hard to break. This link has some great tips for handwriting with preschool students.
While you’re working on correct letter formation, have your child tell you the letter they are working on. You can also use flashcards or play with magnetic letters. You may also be interested in this letter recognition maze – it’s a free printable. It’s important for them to have letter recognition skills down so they can start the reading process.
This one ties in perfectly with the two above. While you have your child practicing writing and recognizing their letters, ask them to say the sounds too. Triple win!
These days many Kindergarten students are expected to be able to count and write to 100. Add in the fact that they need to put all these numbers in order, and that’s a pretty tall task for your little one! Help them out by getting them counting to at least 20 at home.
If you want to go a step further, use flashcards and see if they can recognize numbers 1-20 as well. (Numbers 1-50 would be even better, but start with just 1-10 and continue building up from there.)
If your child is ready for a super challenge, give them those 20 flashcards and ask your child to put them in the correct order. This is another skill they will need to have down in Kindergarten for numbers 1-100, so having 1-20 down already will help them out!
Yes, when I went to Kindergarten the teachers were still teaching this skill in class. But that’s no longer the case (or at least very rarely the case!). While it may not be a big deal if your child can tie their skills or not, it’s an important skill. Plus they’ll make lots of great friends if they are the “master” at this and can help others out. 🙂
Try to make sure your child understands that they are not the only student who will be in the room. They may need to wait their turn. But also teach your child the importance of asking for help if it is needed.
Another one of the important skills your child should have before Kindergarten is a basic understanding of books. No, your child does not need to know how to read. But they should understand how to hold a book the correct way and how to turn pages.
This may seem like common sense, but as a former Reading Recovery teacher, I can tell you that many first graders still struggle with this skill. Read a lot at home. It does matter!
Sing silly songs. Make up silly rhymes. Teach nursery rhymes. There is a lot of research out there saying that children who have exposure to nursery rhymes do better in school and lots of other aspects of their lives. You can read more about the importance of nursery rhymes here.
Since you’re going to be ready so many books and nursery rhymes, it’s time to help your child get a start on their basic comprehension skills. Asking your child to tell you who the story was about, what they did in the story, where the story happened, when the story took place, and why the characters acted the way they did is a great skill to help your child in Kindergarten.
Comprehension doesn’t align only with reading though! So make sure your child can follow basic listening comprehension skills – such as following one step directions. If your child is already a pro at one step directions, start working on two step directions.
There are the ten skills your child should have before Kindergarten, based on the knowledge of a former Kindergarten teacher.
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