TEN SKILLS YOUR CHILD NEEDS
BEFORE STARTING KINDERGARTEN
Will your child be ready?
Help your child practice writing letters, especially the letters in her name.
Teach your child how to write her name with an uppercase first letter and the remaining letters in lowercase.
Write in shaving cream in the bathtub, salt or sugar in a cake pan or in finger paint to make practicing more fun and multisensory.
2. Letter Recognition
Play games to help your child recognize some letters of the alphabet.
Play hide and seek with refrigerator magnets.
Rather than drilling your child with flashcards, use them to play a game of alphabet go fish.
3. Beginning Sounds
Make your child aware of the sound that each letter makes.
Find items around the house that begin with the same sound and identify the letter that makes each sound.
Overemphasize the first sound in words to help your child hear the individual sounds in words.
4. Number Recognition and Counting
Count throughout the day (for example, the crackers she is eating for snack or the socks in that you take out of the dryer).
Point out numbers you see in your environment and have your child name them (for example, the numbers found on food boxes or street signs).
5. Shapes and Colors
If your child is having trouble recognizing certain colors, you might add a little food coloring to cookie dough, milk or vanilla pudding to emphasize those colors.
Help your child recognize more difficult shapes such as diamonds and rectangles by showing her how to draw them on paper and cut them out.
Play games in which your child finds objects of particular colors and shapes around the house or in the neighborhood as you drive.
6. Fine Motor Skills
Give your child several different writing options (colored pencils, crayons or markers) to help keep her interested in writing and drawing.
Playing with play dough is a fun way to strengthen the muscles of the hand that will be used for writing.
Purchase a good pair of child-safe scissors and let your child practice.
Give her old magazines or newspapers to cut up, or allow her to make a collage of the things she likes by cutting them from magazines and gluing them to a piece of paper.
Cutting play dough is also fun for children.
8. Reading Readiness
Run your finger under the words as you read to your child to help her learn that words go from left to right and top to bottom.
Play games with rhyming words to help your child hear similar sounds in words. For example, as you are going up the stairs, name one word that rhymes with cat for each step as you go up.
9. Attention and Following Directions
Read lots of stories with your child and work up to reading longer chapter books, one chapter each night or as long as she remains interested and focused.
Give your child two and three step directions. For example: "put on your pajamas, brush your teeth and pick a book to read."
Play Simon Says with two or three step directions. For example: "Simon Says jump up and down and shout hooray."
10. Social Skills
Give your children opportunities to interact with other children in preschool, church or social groups or play dates.
Teach your child how to express her feelings if she doesn’t like something.
Role-play different situations she might experience on the playground or at school. Help her find solutions for typical problems she might encounter.
Chances are you're already practicing many of these skills your child will need for kindergarten. Remember to keep it fun and don’t make it stressful for you or your child. With just a little fun practice, your child will be prepared for her elementary school debut!
BARBARA MUCKEL (L) Sisterhood Chapter Leader and
BILL CLARK Buns Care Charity Board of Directors
present a check to
LINDA PEREZ (R) Executive Director of St Jude House
The Buns Care Charity's Sisterhood Chapter
The Sisterhood's primary focus is to promote the importance of
in Northwest Indiana.
The Sisterhood's volunteers provide free PreK at-home teaching kits and basic guidance for families unable to afford traditional preschool.