Kindergarten Readiness

Ready? Set? Let’s go!

If your child is turning 5 years old on or before August 31, he or she is eligible to enroll in kindergarten! For Person County residents, kindergarten registration can be completed online in just a few simple steps.

For Person County Schools Kindergarten RegistrationCLICK HERE!

Now that your child has reached age eligibility, let’s talk about how to help them get READY for this exciting adventure!

girls on desk looking at notebook

Physical Development

During the preschool years, children begin to practice new motor skills. They are fascinated with their bodies and all the different ways they can make their bodies healthy and strong. Providing activities that foster growth and physical health contributes to children’s well-being and development – and helps them to get ready for kindergarten! Let’s take a look at some of the physical skills that will help them in school.

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor refers to the movement of the large muscles in the upper and lower body that control the ability to walk, run, and dance. As young children develop these skills, they begin to:

  • Skip, hop, jump, run
  • Pedal and steer a tricycle
  • Throw, bounce, and catch a ball
  • Show balance
  • Develop body strength, flexibility, and stamina

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Creating obstacle courses
  • Encouraging outdoor activities everyday
  • Introducing simple ball games
  • Providing adequate space and age-appropriate activities

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor refers to the movement of the small muscles of the hand and arm that control the ability to scribble, draw, write, and tie shoes. Children will begin to:

  • Use scissors, glue, markers, crayons, and paint brushes
  • Mold clay and play dough
  • Manipulate sewing, cards, clothes pins, and smaller beads to string

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Supplying materials for children to cut and draw
  • Limiting using coloring books or worksheets with lines
  • Encouraging using sewing cards and small beads for hand-eye coordination

Self-Care Skills

Self-care refers to the development and use of eating, dressing, hygiene skills. With these skills, children will:

  • Use a fork effectively to feed themselves
  • Dress and undress themselves independently
  • Demonstrate proper handwashing, bathing, and dental care
  • Put toys away in proper locations

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Offering assistance as needed, but giving children room to manage for themselves and encouraging independence
  • Being patient
  • Modeling hygienic practices
  • Providing ample opportunities for practice

Social and Emotional Development

Social and emotional development is extremely important to a child’s future success. These skills will serve them not only in kindergarten, but all throughout life as they interact with others, form relationships, and enter the workforce. Employers often refer to these skills as “soft skills,” but the work of building them begins in early childhood! Let’s take a look at what these skills look like.

“Indeed, the single best childhood predictor of adult adaptation is not school grades and not classroom behavior but, rather, the adequacy with which the child gets along with other children.”

Willard W. Hartup, Foundations

Sense of Self

When it comes to social and emotional development, sense of self refers to children’s feelings about themselves. When they begin to develop these skills, children will begin to:

  • Express feelings and manage them appropriately
  • Gain the ability to deal with change
  • Show self-confidence
  • Play well with others

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Establishing loving relationships
  • Talking about feelings and ways to handle them
  • Respecting that each individual child is unique and has their own personal temperament
  • Providing positive comments and feedback

Sense of Self with Others

Sense of self with others refers to the ways that children make friends, appreciate differences, solve conflicts, and function within groups. With these skills, children will begin to:

  • Develop awareness and respect of differences in others
  • Follow simple rules and routines
  • Show independence
  • Form and maintain positive relationships
  • Respond to others’ feelings and show empathy

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Encouraging friendships and creating opportunities for children to interact
  • Promoting respect and appreciation for different cultures
  • Alerting children to the feelings and emotional needs of others
  • Promoting an atmosphere of cooperation

Language Development

“The basic need to communicate coupled with a rich and stimulating language environment seem to be the main factors that propel children’s early language learning. Parents, grandparents, and early education caregivers need to know that child language development begins in infancy and is an ongoing process in which young children expand and refine their knowledge and use of language largely with the help of facilitating adults.”

Dorothy D. Strickland, Foundations

Listening and Speaking Skills

Listening and speaking skills refer to the knowledge of spoken words and non-verbal language, such as gestures and picture symbols. Children with these skills begin to:

  • Ask and answer questions
  • Understand and follow oral directions
  • Develop familiarity of sounds in words
  • Understand and use a growing vocabulary
  • Have a longer attention span

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Encouraging children to express their thoughts and feelings
  • Talking about daily events
  • Using facial expressions and gestures
  • Giving clear instructions
  • Reading aloud to children

Reading and Writing Skills

Reading and writing skills refer to knowledge and understanding of oral language, concepts of print, letters and sounds. When children develop these skills, they will begin to:

  • Show an increased interest in books
  • Engage in behaviors such as turning pages and pointing to words
  • Understand that letters of the alphabet are different from pictures and shapes
  • Play with the sounds of language
  • Independently engage in writing behaviors

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Reading with children everyday
  • Supplying a variety of reading materials
  • Pointing out letters on menus, tickets, cereal boxes, or any other everyday items
  • Reading books that feature rhyming words
  • Sing songs together
  • Encourage scribbling, drawing, and painting

Cognitive Development

At birth, infants begin to explore the world around them and learning to use their senses. Preschoolers are constantly experimenting and engaging with their surroundings. If provided with a variety of activities that foster cognitive development, by the time preschoolers reach kindergarten, they will have become good problem solvers, possess a sense of awareness, and understand that their actions have an effect on their environment.

Scientific Thinking Skills

This area of cognitive development includes independent thinking, recognizing problems, and trying to solve them in a variety of ways. Children in this stage of development will begin to:

  • Expand knowledge of their environment through play
  • Observe objects and events with curiosity
  • Make estimates based on experiences with objects
  • Use simple tools for investigation of the classroom and world
  • Identify, discriminate, and make comparisons

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Giving children the freedom to come up with their own solutions to problems
  • Creating a sensory center
  • Planting gardens that change over seasons
  • Exploring a variety of outdoor natural materials (pinecones, shells, acorns)
  • Modeling and teaching responsible behavior

Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Children who are exploring this stage of development will begin to:

  • Recognize and describe common shapes
  • Understand daily routines and order of events
  • Compare and measure items
  • Use numbers and counting
  • Recognize and duplicate simple patterns within their environment using manipulatives, art materials, and body movements

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Asking open-ended questions
  • Providing large amounts of time for active exploration
  • Letting children set the table, one plate per person
  • Measuring and counting while baking
  • Looking for and talking about patterns in nature

Social Connections and Creative Expression

This section refers the ways children form ideas about the way things are. Children will begin to:

  • Take on pretend roles and situations
  • Use objects to make believe and play
  • Recognize roles of community helpers
  • Observe and talk about changes in themselves and their families over time
  • Respond through movement and dance

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Encouraging experimentation
  • Joining in pretend play and letting them take the lead
  • Changing props according to interest of the children
  • Modeling cooperation and negotiation

Approaches to Learning

“If I can ask my own questions, try out my ideas, experience what’s around me, share what I find; if I have plenty of time for my special pace, a nourishing space, things to transform; if you’ll be my patient friend, trusted guide, fellow investigator, partner in learning; then I will explore the world, discover my voice, and tell you what I know in a hundred languages.”

Pamela Houk, Foundations

Curiosity-Seeking and Eagerness

This approach refers to children’s interest in the world, asking questions to find answers, and experimenting with materials. Children who are engaging in this skill will begin to:

  • Show a sense of wonder and pleasure
  • Work toward completion of a task
  • Seek and accept help or information
  • Participate in an increasing variety of experiences

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Involving your child in planning of family or classroom activities
  • Encouraging children to discuss everyday events
  • Offering choices
  • Being active listeners

Persistence, Attentiveness and Responsibility

This refers to a child’s ability to hold attention, pursue difficult tasks, and take responsibility for one’s own learning. Children will begin to:

  • Remain engaged in an experience
  • Work toward completion of a task despite distractions and interruptions
  • Seek and accept help when needed
  • Develop a sense of purpose and the ability to follow through

Adults can help encourage these skills by:

  • Being flexible in allowing children to use materials in a creative way
  • Encouraging listening skills
  • Giving children daily responsibilities
  • Planning trips and activities together
  • Creating a question chart for the week/month
girl in white and black striped long sleeve shirt

Looking for more information on how you can help your child prepare for kindergarten? Contact us today!

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