Key Milestones Your Child Should Reach Before Kindergarten

The transition from preschool to kindergarten is an emotional time for both parents and children. While it is exciting, you might also be feeling nervous and might be wondering if your child is ready for such a big change. Kindergarten is an important step for all children. If you’re concerned about your child’s readiness, here are some milestones your child should reach before walking through the classroom doors on their first day of kindergarten.

Before we dive into these milestones, it’s important to note that children develop differently and not all children will hit each of these milestones. There is a great deal of variance when it comes to child development, but that does not mean that they’re not ready for kindergarten. It simply means that they will reach these milestones on their own time.

Early Childhood Milestones

Speaking Clearly

To help children thrive in school, they’ll need to have some mastery of speaking or have an alternative form of communication. Children who are effective communicators often feel more confident and are more likely to ask for help when they need it. This also helps their teacher understand their needs and have an easier time guiding them. Communication skills also help children socially, allowing them to create stronger relationships with their peers.

If kindergarten is approaching fast and your child still has trouble forming words and sentences, don’t panic. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, language disorders are common during the preschool years and a speech therapist can help them get back on track. Should your child be nonverbal and use sign language or other forms of communication, be sure to speak with your child’s school. You’ll want to discuss how your child’s needs will be accommodated and how you can help prepare your child for communicating in a classroom environment.

Recognize Numbers and Letters

kid using toy to learn how to count

Before going into kindergarten, children should have a basic understanding of the alphabet and numbers. They should be able to recite the alphabet and count to at least 20 before going into kindergarten.

To help your child develop their number and alphabet skills, make a game out of it! Ask them to point out specific letters on household items or signs. You can also challenge them to identify single-digit numbers on clocks, calendars, or calculators. To help them with their counting, you should also play games like Sorry or Trouble and encourage them to count out loud while playing.

Fine Motor Skills

When it comes to fine motor skills, your child should have already identified which of their hands is dominant or at the very least, a preferred hand for grasping. By the time children go to kindergarten, they should be holding a pencil with two fingers and a thumb instead of the “fist hold”. They should also be able to cut out shapes with safety scissors, follow patterns and straight lines, and use utensils such as forks and spoons.

You can practice these skills by having them write and helping them at mealtimes. We also suggest using fun learning applications such as ABCmouse or AlphaTots Alphabet to practice writing and alphabet skills!

Comprehend Time

red alarm clock in a yellow background

When we say “comprehend time” we don’t mean that children should be able to tell time. When children reach kindergarten, they should understand that time passes and understand the following concepts:

  • Now
  • Soon
  • Before
  • Later
  • Yesterday
  • Tomorrow

It’s important to note that children around the age of four tend to use events to mark the passage of time. They may not be able to tell you the exact time, but they’ll remember they’re going to grandma’s tomorrow or they went to the aquarium yesterday. As long as your child is marking time in a way that is personal to them, they have hit this milestone. If they aren’t quite doing this yet, you can help by including more time references when having conversations with them.

Understanding Questions

Questions are the backbone of learning and it is important that your child knows how to ask questions. This helps their creativity and your child may be already asking a lot of questions. Kids start to become curious around the age of two and when they hit kindergarten they should be able to start responding to questions as well. It’s important that they understand the meaning of the main question words: Who? What? Where? When? And How?

Your child will most likely be stuck on “why” questions. To help them understand other question words, prompt them by saying things like, “Do you have any questions?” Or “Is there anything you want to know about this?” Sometimes children just need a little encouragement in order to speak up.

Tell a Story

two kids reading a book and laughing

When it’s time to go to kindergarten, your child should be able to tell a simple story with a beginning, middle, and end. The stories they tell don’t have to be long or complicated, but they should be recognizable. The ability to tell a story and construct sentences is a huge speech and language milestone. You can help them develop this skill by encouraging them to talk about their day. You may not always be able to understand them, but the gist will be there. Encourage them to wrap up their story with lines like: “It was so fun!” or “I want to do that again!”

How My Childcare Academy Can Help!

Our preschool program can help prepare your child for kindergarten. At My Childcare Academy, we believe children learn through play and experiences. They’ll be engaged with hands-on activities and explore the aspect of STEAM. For more information, contact us and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have!

Categories: learning
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