Is Your Kid Ready for Kindergarten?

Children are writing

The first day of kindergarten is a major milestone for young students and their parents. You might feel a little anxious as the big day approaches, and unsure if your little one is ready. What skills should your child have before making the leap to kindergarten?

Whether your child will be attending a public or private kindergarten (like Strelitz International Academy’s Early Years Program in Virginia Beach, VA), there are skills that, if mastered before school starts, will make the transition to kindergarten life much smoother.

Read on to learn some of the academic (and non-academic) activities your child should know before entering kindergarten.


– Separates from parents or caregivers easily.
– Adapts to new situations with relative ease.
– Sits quietly without interrupting.
– Expresses basic needs.
– Can play independently with other kids
– Works cooperatively and shares during playtime.
– Exhibits personal-care independence (i.e. using a tissue, washing hands, drinking from a water fountain).
– Knows when to say please, thank you, and excuse me.

Language & Reading

– Knows first and last name and can recognize the first name in print.
– Knows at least one parent’s first and last name, and can repeat home address, birthday, and an emergency phone number.
– Recognizes some or all alphabet letters, both uppercase and lowercase (doesn’t have to be in order), and can identify some letter sounds.
– Can say or sing the alphabet.
– Knows when two words rhyme.
– Recognizes familiar words and symbols, like stop signs.
– Pretends to read books.
– Offers input when being read to, and can tell personal stories.


– Recognizes and can say numbers 1-10 (not necessarily in order).
– Counts up to five objects.
– Arranges numbers in order from 1 to 5
– Identifies at least three shapes ( circle, square, triangle).
– Arrange objects in size order.


– Understands (and follows) directions with more than one step.
– Plays simple memory matching games.
– Classifies objects by physical features (i.e., color, shape, and size).
– Grasps the concepts of in/out, front/back, on/off, big/little, and up/down.
– Completes simple puzzles (up to four pieces).
– Identifies up to five colors.
– Understands the concept of cause and effect.
– Draws pictures to express ideas.

Physical Skills

– Holds a book and turns the pages.
– Builds with blocks.
– Opens lunch containers.
– Tries to tie their own shoes.
– Puts on and takes off a backpack.
– Uses buttons and zippers.
– Pour liquids without spilling.
– Uses pens, pencils, and art supplies with some control.
– Demonstrates gross motor skills like jumping, running, and/or bouncing a ball.

This list might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry! It’s totally normal for children not to have mastered every single skill before kindergarten. Plus, there’s a lot you can do to help them get up to speed.

Some Ways to Help Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

As mentioned above, your child might not master certain skills on the list until kindergarten – and you’ll be amazed at how much material teachers cover in a single year. But there are activities you can do with your preschooler to help prepare for kindergarten. Start by picking a few items on the checklist to try during playtime, and make a note of any that need more practice.

Encourage Independence at Home.

It may be faster to pitch in and help, but let your child dress himself, use the toilet, wash his hands, put on and take off his coat, and put on and remove his own shoes.

Your child should know how to blow her nose and cough into her arm without assistance. But of course, always make sure she’s comfortable asking an adult for help when the going gets tough.

Teach Responsibility.

You may already be doing this, but give your child some jobs to do, like making the bed, putting away toys, or filling water bottles before a family hike. Having responsibilities will make your preschooler feel empowered, and sets the stage for what will be expected in kindergarten.

Stick to Routines.

This is critical since the typical kindergarten day is tightly regimented. Begin waking up at the same time every morning, getting dressed, and loading a backpack well before school starts in the fall to make the transition seamless.

Read Aloud.

Take your child to the library. Checking out books is a surefire way to spark an interest in reading. Read together every day, and read anything you see together, like billboards and signs. Knowing how to rhyme is extremely important when learning to read, so try checking out some nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss’s books.

Lastly, prepare your child emotionally for this big change by talking about it frequently during the summer months.

Are You Looking into Private Kindergarten Schools in Virginia Beach?

Strelitz International Academy is a top private school in the Hampton Roads area of southeastern Virginia. We’ve developed a unique IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP) designed for 3- to 12-year-old elementary school students. We believe children thrive in smaller classes following a creative curriculum. We’re very proud of our experienced and compassionate teachers, staff, and administrators, all of whom hope to instill a love of learning that will last a lifetime.

Please contact us to schedule a tour and learn more about our programs. We’re eager to share what we offer! To find out more, call us at 757-424-4327.

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