A quick search of Google and Pinterest will deliver loads of different lists of kindergarten and preschool readiness skills. Many of those lists expect children to have mastered many academic skills before Kindergarten. As a staff, we decided to compile our own list of developmentally appropriate preschool/Kindergarten skills. As you read this list, bear in mind that children develop at their own pace and some children will find these skills challenging due to their personality. We need to always adjust our teaching and play to help everyone feel confident in the classroom.
Can I leave mom or dad at the start of the day?
Making the adjustment to leaving a parent to being cared for by others is tricky for some little ones. It’s our job to help ease that transition and reinforcing that children are safe and secure at preschool.
Can I get ready to play independently (shoes, coat, backpack)?
Can I get ready to leave independently?
This is a skill that develops over time during the preschool years but can be nurtured by teachers and parents. School requires progressively more independence as our kids get older so gently preparing them is actually beneficial for them.
Can I find an activity to do/friends to play with on my own?
Do I play with or near others?
It can be intimidating to enter a new classroom and begin to play with new children but the sooner kids can develop this skill, the more opportunities they have to practice other essential social skills like sharing and turn taking.
Can I stay focused on an activity until it is complete/for at least a few minutes?
The type of stamina required to finish a craft that maybe wasn’t your favourite or wait your turn in a game is what is needed to write a paragraph or read a chapter later on. It’s something we build towards throughout the years.
Can I follow simple directions? Can I follow classroom routines?
School comes with a lot of routines and directions. Preschool starts slowly with very simple and repetitive directions but that becomes the basis for the complex routines of elementary school (library time, music class, gym time). Children thrive with solid and predicable routines and most kids acquire our routines very quickly.
How do I problem solve with my friends?
Learning how to get along in a group environment is probably one of the biggest life skills we can learn. Our little ones need to practice solving problems with words in a kind and respectful manner. We often give kids scripts to say to help them use the right words.
Do I participate at school? Am I engaged at school?
Thankfully, it is quite rare for us to see children who are truly disengaged at preschool. Children are wired to play! And children certainly don’t have to sing every song and love every center but we observe our children for engagement overall at school.
Do I play safely at school?
Again, it’s pretty rare to see children intentionally hurting others or playing unsafely consistently at preschool. However, students who frequently disobey at school are essentially struggling to fit into the group environment. It’s a preschool teacher’s job is help children see the important why behind listening and following rules.
Am I willing to try things at school?
Preschool is often about trying new things and while we wouldn’t force a child to do something they are uncomfortable with, doing something new can help you discover new things you enjoy! We want to encourage kids to participate in all activities to some extent.
So what do you think? Is there anything we missed? How does your child fit into the idea of readiness?