ABC’s and 123′s — Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Times have certainly changed over the years! Kindergarten used to be a half day of play and socializing.  It was a way for children to become accustomed to being away from parents,  and with other children. Today, in the secular community, kindergarten is more about learning.   Children of home schools should be no less prepared when beginning kindergarten.

We begin teaching our children as soon as they pop into our lives. We teach them everything they know. "Monkey see -- Monkey do." We've all heard that expression, and it is very true with children. They learn and then they mimic! They soak up information like a sponge soaking up water.  What some parents may not realize is that there is a window of learning opportunity that begins to slowly close as a child gets older. The desire and ability to learn at a young age is nothing less than remarkable! As parents, we should take this opportunity and run with it. If you've decided to home school your child that will be kindergarten age, you will want to make certain they are well prepared.  Take a look at the preschool standards noted below and see how your preschooler measures up.

Self-Help Skills: Preschool children should be able to dress, use buttons and zippers, and complete standard grooming practices.  They should also be able to go to the bathroom, flush, and wash their hands on their own. A four to five year old should be able to feed themselves and verbally indicate likes and dislikes.

Social Skills: Preschoolers should be able to be at ease without parents, and be able to mingle acceptably with other children. They should know and practice manners, such as saying "please" and "thank you" and know basic etiquette.   Preschoolers should be able to do what is asked of them by adults other than parents. Of course, this is keeping in mind that safety rules should be taught regarding strangers, and who strangers are. By all means, teach your child how to cough or sneeze into their elbow.

Personal Information:
Children should know their full name, address, and telephone number and the names and relation of close family members. Your child should also know the correct name for body parts.

Basic Knowledge: Preschoolers need to know the basic colors, numbers 1-10 (if not higher), names of common objects around the house, names of common animals, names of buildings such as hospitals and fire departments, how to use writing objects and scissors, and how to write their first and last name. And, of course, children should know safety rules.  At age four to five, children are very capable of learning the days of the week, a little about weather, and the major holidays.

Language and Math:  Letters, words, and pictures are a vital part of communication, so the more your preschooler knows, the better. They should be able to say the alphabet and write and recognize all the letters. Read to your preschooler frequently and let them see you reading frequently.  Speak to your children in complete sentences and expect the same from them.  As for math, your preschooler should be able to count from 1 to 10 and recognize the numbers and know basic shapes.

That may seem like a long and daunting task for a four to five-year-old, but remember that young children learn fast. Studies have proven that from birth to age five is the most important ages for a good educational foundation to be formed. This would also be an excellent time to start teaching your children computer skills. Many people have the false assumption that young children cannot use a computer, but to the contrary, they learn basic skills quickly. Use the computer to your advantage and for your child's enhanced learning experience. There are many great online sites that offer skills for kindergarten readiness where learning and fun are integrated.  Such online programs offer a little something for all learning styles, which is a great advantage.  Children can actually learn faster and the information "sticks" better.

Children love the world around them. Nurture their curiosity and help them explore and have fun while learning. Keep a positive attitude about learning and success will be waiting to greet you!

Rhonda Miller is a homeschooling mom of three children and happily married. She blogs at HomeSchool-Online and is a marketing rep for Time4Learning, which is a online interactive curriculum for grades K-8. In addition, Rhonda is a registered nurse by profession and works part time. Visit her website.

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One Response to “ABC’s and 123′s — Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?”

  1. Change is inevitable, however, great tips! Those tips will surely make the kids feel welcomed and comfortable in their new environment.