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Kindergarten Readiness Skills: A Checklist for Parents

By Fiona Tapp for

Published on April 8, 2019

Help your child to start their school life on the right foot, by checking their Kindergarten readiness against this set of commonly assessed skills.

Kindergarten Readiness Skills: A Checklist for Parents

Kindergarten is such an exciting transition for both children and parents. Your little one is heading off into the big world and beginning their school life. But how can you be sure that they are ready and prepared for this next step?

Don't worry if you haven't given Kindergarten readiness much thought up until now, parenting is a full-time job and before you know it your child has hit another milestone and grown another inch.

You still have time to learn all about the developmental markers the teacher will be observing during their first Kindergarten meeting and the key readiness skills that your child will need to practice and master before school starts.

The Kindergarten Readiness Test

A Kindergarten readiness test measures a child's school readiness against an extensive list of skills and abilities. These tests differ from state to state and are not required by every school board. It's often a chance for your child to visit their new school and meet their teacher and classmates. They'll be asked questions and may have to perform tasks so that the teacher can assess their skills across a broad range of categories, which include:


Kindergarten readiness checklists don't only assess academic milestones, they also apply to social development. This usually includes the expectation that your child will be fully toilet trained but also relates to their ability to dress themselves, open and close lunch and snack boxes, and wash their hands.

Parents often take over some of these jobs to speed kids along in the morning but it's important to encourage some autonomy at this stage. Teachers can offer assistance, but they really can't personally attend to all these needs for a large class of children.

Social Foundations

The classroom is where your child will make new friendships and practice their social skills. It's really helpful however if they come into school already understanding the basics of interacting with others. This includes sharing, having a conversation, being polite, following directions, and being able to talk about their own feelings.

Language Skills

Being easily understood is incredibly important in a busy Kindergarten classroom. Your child needs to be able to use clear sentences, ask and answer questions, and recognize their own name. Encouraging an early love of books and reading will also support language learning and development.

Mathematical Understanding

Children entering Kindergarten should be able to count small groups, name the colors, order items and recognize patterns.

Try to integrate these skills into everyday life at home. Have your little one count the utensils when they help to set the table or order their teddy bears from smallest to largest.

Physical Skills

Able-bodied children should be able to run, change direction, stop, stretch and crouch with ease. They should also be able to throw and catch a ball, hop, skip, walk backward, and walk up and down stairs.

These movements which use large muscles are known as gross motor skills. Children should also be practicing their fine motor skills which include being able to hold a pencil, pick up small objects using a pincer grip, use safety scissors, and complete simple puzzles.

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