My oldest is going into Kindergarten in just a few short weeks, and I'm simultaneously excited and devastated about it. I thought as a teacher, I'd be prepared for this milestone, but I'm just not! Watching him grow is the greatest gift, but it's also sad leaving the previous stage behind.

My first five years teaching were spent in kindergarten. It is an exciting and fun grade, but it is also the first "school" experience for a lot of kids, which can leave parents feeling stressed about how to prepare. The one thing that parents always asked me over the summer was "What should my child know going into kindergarten?"  

So here are my top 5 skill recommendations for kids to practice prior to starting kindergarten. These are purely my opinion of what will help kids feel confident and will make the transition easier. There are absolutely more skills to work on, and even skills that might be more important, but when I think about those first few weeks of school, these are what come to mind.

1. Use the Bathroom Independently. 
Y'all, while preschool teachers might be able to go into bathrooms with kids, kinder teachers are not supposed to. Kinder babies need to be able to use the bathroom independently, including buttoning their pants, wiping themselves, and washing their hands after. We also recognize that accidents happen. Just pack a spare change of clothes in their bag and the world will move on.

2. Practice Basic Cooperation Skills.  
Social skills are a huge part of kindergarten. Kids work on cooperation, kindness, sharing, interdependence, and so much more. On the first day of school, it is easy to tell which kids have had opportunities to practice these skills prior to kindergarten. These will obviously take a lifetime of practice to develop, but the more opportunities that your child can have to practice taking turns, sharing, waiting in line, listening, etc the quicker they will adapt to school social expectations, which translates into them being happier in school.

3. How to Take Care of Supplies. 
This is one that will benefit you at home too! Practice how to handle books, use scissors, putting lids back on markers and glue sticks, putting items back where they belong, and keeping a tidy area. Teachers will go over these things the first week of school as well, but having a basic understanding of how to take care of supplies is a skill that is helpful in life. Kids who struggle with disorganization in kindergarten often continue to struggle with it in older grades by losing assignments, forgetting their name, etc. It also causes disagreements with other students when a kids backpack or desk supplies spill over into others areas, or if not everyone helps clean up things like Legos when center time is done. Instilling these skills early is a great skill and will help students with independence and  relationships with peers (plus, it may help your own home feel more organized!)

4. Recite the Alphabet. 
You will find an array of "kindergarten readiness lists" that include knowing all the letters of the alphabet, including their sounds, and starting to put them into words, and I disagree. The alphabet, letter sounds, and putting them together to make words is a huge part of what is learned in kindergarten. Obviously, the more letters and sounds that kids know going into kindergarten are beneficial, but in my opinion, being able to recite the alphabet and knowing some letters is enough. At minimum, kids should know the letters of their name! If your child doesn't know every letter, don't stress, this does not mean they are behind!

5. How to Write Their Name. 
This is probably my number one "academic" skill suggestion for kids entering kindergarten. They should know how to write their name, using proper sentence case. In a class of 30 kids, this skill will make a world of difference! It will take a huge burden off your child's teacher, and will instill confidence in your son/daughter, if they can recognize and write their name prior to starting kindergarten. I have a great freebie to help kids practice writing their name, which can be found HERE.

Also, this isn't a "skill" but save your kid's teacher some sanity, and send your kid with velcro shoes for PE days! Nothing takes longer than tying 30 sets of shoes! ;) And only send them lunches and snacks that they can open independently. They often don't have much time for snack/lunch, and if they have to wait for help to open their food, it may take the majority of their time.

That's it. Y'all, kids will learn a ton in kindergarten. Arguably, it's the grade where the most is learned. If they don't know everything starting off, it's ok. You will be blown away by how much they learn in 9 months!

So you have a kindergartener! The first day of Kindergarten is exciting, scary, and everything in between.These are my top five skills that kids should know prior to entering kindergarten! Help your son or daughter feel more confidentin the transition to traditional school by practicing these skills prior to the first day of school. #Kindergarten #BackToSchool #BuildingBrilliance

Grab this First and Last Day of School Sign FREEBIE by clicking HERE (or click the photo below).
First and Last Day of School Sign FREEBIE


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