School Readiness

Kindergarten is full of exciting beginnings. GrowSmart knows that school readiness begins at birth - 5 years of age. We want children to start ready & stay ready, plus love learning!

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School Readiness

Kindergarten is full of exciting beginnings. It's a year of transformation for both parents and children—a time when wobbly pencil scribbles become letters, when marks in a book change into words, when new faces turn into best friends.

Success Starts Now. Concepts your child will explore for kindergarten. 


How young children learn depends on what approach they take. Approaches to play and learning are guided by a child’s curiosity, initiative, creativity, or imagination. Relatively speaking, children’s cognitive and behavioral regulation will strengthen over time, with guidance. Regardless of the content area, the approach to play and learning should go hand and hand with self-regulation skills so that children are able to play and learn in ways that are best. 


  • Play memory games & matching puzzles 
  • Simon Says - – If you say, “Simon Says” before a command, children should do it. If you give a command without saying “Simon Says,” they shouldn’t move. Start with simple one-step directions (i.e., “Simon Says, jump!”). Model the movements as you play.
  • I Spy - Give a clue about an object (i.e., “I spy something that is blue”) and challenge children to find and move to the object with a variety of challenging movements (i.e., hop/jump to the blue bucket). If child is finding it difficult to locate an object, provide hints and clues to support them.
  • Breathing Dragon's Breath - Take a deep breath in while raising arms over head. Release air out while simultaneously bending knees, bending forward at the waist, and flinging arms down and then behind.
  • What's Wrong with This? - Encourage children to carefully examine one part of the room. Then ask them to close their eyes. When they do, move or change one item in the room and have them try to figure out what changed!
  • Sequence pictures from a book or walk - after an outside walk or reading a favorite book – Ask what did we see when we were walking or reading the book? Ask open-ended questions and provide hints to help identify the correct sequence. Which item came first? What was next?


  • Seeks out new information and asks "Why" and "How" questions
  • Shows curiosity by saying things like, "I wonder... what will happen next?" 
  • Tries different ways of doing things to see what happens 
  • Independently seeks new challenges with familiar materials and activities 
  • Sequences activities in dramatic play (i.e., gather pots, pans, spoons, and vegetables to make soup) 
  • Uses realistic and open-ended materials in cooperative play 
  • Ability to focus attention on tasks and activities 
  • Plays simple memory and matching games 
  • Remembers actions that go with stories and songs 
  • Persists in preferred tasks that may be challenging 
  • Figures out more than one solution to a problem 
  • Follow classroom rules and routines more independently 


our child's development of social and emotional skills is the foundation for feeling a strong sense of self-awareness, positive concept, emotional competency, and interactions with others. In order to foster these essential skills, children need guidance in developing healthy relationships and build skills needed to express and control their feelings. This all starts in a space place such as at home and in school.


  • Random acts of kindness - create a list with your child and have them do random acts of kindness (i.e. make a card for the person who works at the grocery store.)
  • Mindful Coloring - color or doodle with your child while playing calming music.
  • Make a Feelings Chart - model a variety of feelings and how they may look. SAMPLE
  • Read! - read different books to children and take a picture walk while asking open-ended questions about how characters might be feeling.
  • Create a Calm Down Kit - add items such as a fidget toy, breathing card, and a book to help regulate emotions when your child is having difficulty.
  • Create a Calm Down Corner - identify a safe space for children to reflect, think of their feelings and brainstorm strategies for feeling better.
  • Emotion Feeling Matching Game - helps to build listening skills, self-control, and attention span.
  • Simon Says Game - helps to build listening skills, self-control, and attention span.
  • Use Music - play a variety of genres of music and ask children how they feel listening to it.


  • Shares key information with others about self (i.e. gender, who is in family, differences)
  • Develops self-confidence and displays joy in accomplishments
  • Shows increasing independence and asks for assistance, as needed
  • Uses respectful language to communicate thoughts and emotions
  • Demonstrates independence and seeks/accepts help when needed
  • Begins to develop emotional regulation and utilizes self-soothing strategies
  • Shows kindness and compassion for self and others
  • Has positive interactions with peers and adults and displays comfort in safe settings
  • Shows ability to enter play groups and interact with peers
  • Develops and maintains friendships with others by taking turns, cooperating, and listening to others
  • Identifies solutions and problem solves during social dilemmas


Children communicate using facial expressions, gestures, eye gazes, body movements, signs, and language to initiate interactions and respond to others. Just as young children must engage in meaningful conversations to build language, they must also engage with books, writing and drawing, and print, to allow them to further explore the connections among letters, sounds, and words.


  • Start a conversation - Ask your child about their day and tell them about yours, too. 
  • Play games such as I Spy, Simon Says, and Mother, May I.  These games encourage your child to use descriptive language and follow simple directions. 
  • Go to the library. Let your child explore their interests and pick their own books. 
  • Read aloud to your child. Snuggle up in a cozy chair to read or try reading in a silly voice. 
  • Sing nursery rhymes. Playing with rhymes and sounds builds and understanding of language. 
  • Play with play dough, small toys, and puzzles. This will develop the fine motor skills necessary for writing and proper pencil grip. 


  • Understands and follows 2-3 step directions related to daily routines 
  • Asks and responds to questions comfortably and with accurate information. 
  • Retells stores and events in sequence
  • Displays understanding of print (pointing or touching each word, following words from left to right) 
  • Listens and responds to a variety of texts and media 
  • Begins to display phonological awareness (rhyming words, segmenting words, beginning and end sound) 
  • Recognizes many upper- and lower-case letters 
  • Adds details to drawings/writings and retells their ideas 
  • Begins to show fine motor strength, eventually using comfortable and efficient three-finger pencil grip


Health and physical development in children are essential because they: help young children make sense of things around them, build on small and large muscle strength (fine and gross motor skills) and help children learn to independently take care of their needs. By incorporating activities that include the above aspects of health and physical development, you will foster an environment that promotes learning through senses, exploring, and practicing healthy habits.


  • Provide opportunities to explore.  Offer a variety of materials and activities for sensory experiences and ask open-ended questions that are related to senses (naming attributes of an item or food.) 
  • Provide equipment and a safe environment for new skills to be developed and mastered. 
  • Have a routine that includes simple exercises and talk about the importance of physical fitness. 
  • Provide activities for small muscle movements - play dough, peeling stickers, pinching, and picking up small objects are all great ways to build small muscles
  • Have a variety of writing tools available for drawing (pencils, markers, chalk, crayons.) 
  • Have conversations about safety. Converse with your child about safety rules and find time to role-play scenarios. 


  • Develops ability to use senses to perceive and guide movements
  • Shows increasing awareness of body and spaces around them
  • Moves large muscles to increase coordination, develops strength and balance 
  • Understands the importance of physical fitness 
  • Explores spaces around them through large muscle movements and activities
  • Develops control with small objects 
  • Draws simple shapes and eventually figures with more detail
  • Increases demonstration/ability to take care of personal needs (hand washing, teeth brushing) 
  • Uses self-calming strategies 
  • Shows increasing awareness of safety practices and things that may be unsafe 
  • Develops healthy eating, resting, and sleeping habits 


Children develop cognitive abilities through their earliest experiences with their natural, physical, and social environments. Nurture your child's natural curiosity and help them explore, describe, predict and share their thinking with the world around them. 


  • Take time to count every day! Make it routine to count - whether it's the books on the shelf, trees in the park or the planes in the sky. 
  • Play number games. Dice games and dominos can help your child learn to recognize and count groups of objects. 
  • Talk about sizes and shapes. Ask questions to help your child start to think beyond colors and numbers. Is this plate a circle? What shape is this book? Do you think the swing is taller than the slide? 
  • Play with patterns; help your child create repeating patterns using items around the house (i.e., line up fruit: apple, banana, apple, banana.) 
  • Sing Songs! Listen to music and explore and express ideas through movement and dance. 
  • Get creative by gathering paper, crayons and scissors and have fun creating art that tells a story. 


  • Sorting objects by color, shape, and size 
  • Naming, describing, and comparing shapes 
  • Counting forward to 20 by memory
  • Counting backwards from 5 
  • Counting 10-20 objects in a line or group
  • Recognizing and continuing basic patterns 
  • Learning about ways that people interact 
  • Building relationship skills through dramatic play 
  • Drawing with a purpose to tell a story 
  • Using scissors and simple instruments 
January 2023

Success Starts Now

School Readiness Folder

School Readiness Folder

Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps
by Gaia Cornwall

This story features a young boy who is scared to jump off the diving board. But, with some encouragement from his dad, Jabari finds the confidence to jump!

The Rabbit Listened

The Rabbit Listened
by Cori Doerrfeld

This book uses animals to help the main character relate to how to manage feelings, such as anger and how to truly listen to others to be able to help them find comfort.

Press Here

by Herve Tullet

Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions inside, and embark upon a magical journey!


by Keith Baker

Meet the peas - the alphabet peas! Whether they're gardeners, hikers, or inventors, these delightful little veggies work and play their way through the entire alphabet.

Actual Size

Actual Size
by Steve Jenkins

How big is a crocodile? What about a tiger, or the world’s largest spider? Can you imagine a tongue that is two feet long or an eye that’s bigger than your head? Sometimes facts and figures don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes you need to see things for yourself—at their actual size.