School Readiness

Kindergarten is full of exciting beginnings.

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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.

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. Is your child ready for kindergarten?


Your child is learning about herself, but she's also learning about where she belongs in the larger community. As personal esteem grows, so does the knowledge that other children and adults have unique thoughts and feelings. Respect for others—as well as self-control and expressing emotions with words—are valuable life skills.


  • Make new friends. Visiting playgrounds, going to the library and having playdates are opportunities for your child to learn how to cooperate and interact with others.
  • Play games. 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' encourages your child to follow directions, listen and show self-control.
  • Open a book. Read about emotional situations that children face— like a big move, a family separation or a visit to the doctor—and then discuss the characters' feelings. Learning to identify the feelings of others inspires empathy.
  • Recognize feelings. Acknowledge your child's emotions and help her use words to explain her feelings.
  • Give praises. Recognize when your child makes good decisions.
  • Encourage dramatic play. Dressing up and pretending is an opportunity to explore the actions and feelings of animals, family members and community members like police officers, firefighters and teachers.


  • Follows one-and two-step directions
  • Stays on task for ten minutes
  • Listens to a story without interruption
  • Completes self-care tasks independently (bathroom and hand-washing, tissue needs, zips, and buttons)
  • Shares and takes turns
  • Uses words to express feelings and needs
  • Follows rules and routines
  • Asks for help when needed
  • Accepts responsibility for own actions
  • Engages in self-directed play when given choice of activities


Climbing, running and jumping may look like play. But to your preschooler, it's hard work! Physical activity helps your child develop large muscle groups, so she can gain both strength and confidence in her body.


  • Go Outside. For physical development, nothing is more important than getting outside to play every day.
  • Practice balance. Using sidewalk chalk, draw a line on the ground. Have your child walk on it like a tightrope. Wiggly lines are fun, too!
  • Get moving. Jump, hop and gallop, focusing on coordination and spatial awareness. Or add music and have a dance party!
  • Have a ball. Practice throwing, catching and kicking in a safe environment. Large targets, such as a large pail or low hoop, are excellent for building skills.
  • Have fun. Playing a game like 'Simon Says' incorporates different movements and reinforces body awareness. (Try 'Simon Says balance on one foot.')


  • Runs, jumps and skips
  • Catches a large ball
  • Walks backwards


Fine motor skills use small muscle groups to build dexterity and coordination. For your young child, building fine motor skills leads to success with important activities like cutting with scissors, holding pencils and feeding himself.


  • Practice writing without the pencil. Make it fun by using sidewalk chalk, finger paint, shaving cream or bright markers.
  • Play with playdough. Squishing clay builds hand muscles—and your child will love to roll, smoosh, pat and pound it with his hands, or with tools like popsicle sticks.
  • Encourage helping. Pouring water into a cup and setting the table before a meal can build small motor skills.
  • Play with small toys. Build with Duplos and solve puzzles together.
  • Pick it up. Have your child use a pair of plastic tongs to pick up and sort small toys.
  • Open up. Save containers with lids, and help your child work on opening and closing them.


  • Grasps objects correctly (pencil/crayon grasp; manipulates small objects with pinching grasp)
  • Holds and manipulates scissors to cut straight lines and simple shapes
  • Copies vertical and horizontal lines to form letters, numbers, and shapes


Ordinary conversations have an extraordinary impact on a growing child. Not only does talking to your child build vocabulary and encourage the exploration of spoken language, this type of back-and-forth interaction also stimulates brain development. It strengthens communication skills and has a positive impact on future reading success.


  • Encourage storytelling. Have your child recall a favorite story, or let him make one up.
  • Sing nursery rhymes. Playing with rhyme and sound builds an understanding of language.
  • Create characters. Use puppets and stuffed animals to bring a story to life.
  • Start a conversation. Talk to your child about his day, and tell him about yours, too.
  • Play games like 'I Spy'. Encouraging your child to make guesses based on color, size and shape develops descriptive language skills.


  • Participates and engages in peer story discussion
  • Uses appropriate words to describe an object, event or experience
  • Speaks in complete sentences
  • Identifies characters and recalls basic story details


Children learn language skills long before they start to read and write. In the early years, literacy is focused on fun—playing rhyming games, looking for letters at the store, reading picture books and simply having conversations about everyday life.


  • Read aloud to your child—and make it fun! Snuggle up in a cozy chair, or try reading with a silly accent.
  • Ask questions when reading. Build anticipation by talking about what might happen next. When the story is finished, ask what happened in the beginning. Who was your child's favorite character?
  • Go to the library. Let your child choose his own books. Not only is he more likely to explore a book he's interested in, it will foster a sense of pride and independence.
  • Create labels. Affixing them to basic household objects— like door, table and chair—can help build word recognition.


  • Identifies most letters of the alphabet (both upper and lower case letters)
  • Distinguishes between first, middle, and last names when seen in writing
  • Writes first name beginning with a capital letter and followed by lower case letters
  • Identifies some beginning letter sounds
  • Recognizes when words start with the same sound
  • Recognizes when words do and do not rhyme
  • Looks at books independently
  • Opens and holds a book correctly
  • Can grasp and turn pages of a book
  • Reads from left to right
  • Recognizes his or her written names


Math is so much more than numbers. Nurture your child's natural curiosity and help your little one discover shapes, patterns and numbers while exploring the world.


  • Make it routine. Every day, take time to count—whether it's the forks in the drawer, the trees in the park or the wheels on your car.
  • Play number games. Dice games and dominos can help your child learn to recognize groups of dots from 2 to 12.
  • Talk about sizes and shapes. Asking questions helps your child start analyzing objects mathematically. Is this plate a circle? Does this book look like a rectangle? Do you think the swings are taller than the monkey bars? Which one is bigger, the tricycle or the bike? Asking questions gets your child thinking.
  • Play with patterns. Look for patterns in clothing and household items. Help your child create repeating patterns (like lining up fruit—apple, orange, apple, orange).
  • Organize a scavenger hunt. Send your child to look for objects of different shapes or sizes.
  • Practice categorizing. Have your child help you sort the laundry, separating clothes by color or by the family member it belongs to.


  • Counts aloud to 20 or higher
  • Sorts object by attributes such as color, shape and size
  • Recognizes and continues basic patterns
  • Identifies basic colors such as red, orange and yellow
  • Recognizes basic shapes
  • Counts ten or more objects
  • Identifies written number from zero to ten

Llama Llama Misses Mama

by Anna Dewdney

It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave.


by Doreen Cronin

For energetic toddlers (are there any who aren’t?), here’s a book that invites them to wiggle along with the story.

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!

If You Take A Mouse To School

by Laura Numeroff

The famous mouse from ‘If You Take a Mouse to the Movies’ and ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’ is back for his first day of school.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

by Bill Martin Jr.

When all the letters of the alphabet race one another up the coconut tree, will there be enough room?