Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

Use this skills list to assess how ready your child is for kindergarten.

teacher reader to kindergarteners
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Though all children develop at different rates, there are some common skills that can help you identify how ready for kindergarten your child is. Don't be overly concerned if your child isn't able to do everything on the list. There's plenty of time for your child to practice and master these skills.

Self-care

  • Uses the bathroom without help
  • Can dress herself in the morning
  • Can snap, button and/or zip
  • Knows how to wash his hands

    Language and Communication

    Communication is big part of kindergarten. Making their needs known, interacting with friends and teachers and asking and answering questions are all skills that a pre-K student should have attained.

    • Knows and is able to say her first and last name
    • Speaks in a way that is fairly understandable by unfamiliar adults
    • Uses complete sentences of five to six words
    • Expresses frustration or anger with words
    • Can follow 2- to 3-step directions
    • Understands positional words (i.e., below, behind, on top of, next to)
    • Understands questions and responds to them

    Social/Emotional

    Social interaction is at the heart of kindergarten. Getting along with others, sharing, being socially appropriate and independent is a huge part of being a part of a learning community.

    • Generally separates from caregiver easily or without undue distress
    • Explores new things and is willing to take some risks
    • Is beginning to play and share with other children without the need for constant supervision
    • Is able to take turns
    • Focuses on an adult-directed activity for five minutes or longer
    • Recognizes other people have feelings
    • Responds appropriately to other people's feelings

    Fine Motor

    Small muscle coordination, or fine motor skills, helps to make children more independent in their classroom work and activities.

    • Traces lines and basic shapes (circle, square, etc.)
    • Is able to copy basic shapes, including a circle, straight line and a square
    • Holds a writing utensil with a non-fisted grip
    • Can use scissors for an intentional task, though may not have mastered the task. (i.e. cutting on a line)

    Gross Motor

    Strong gross motor control is important in helping students have the stamina to learn. It give them the ability and balance they need to sit through a lesson and enables them to interact physically (play!) with peers.

    • Is able to run and skip
    • Can do a two-footed jump and a one-legged hop
    • Alternates feet when climbing stairs
    • Can walk backwards
    • Is able to bounce a kickball
    • Attempts a two-handed catch of large ball

    Math Readiness

    Math concepts are important when your child begins to work with numbers, make quantitative comparisons and learn about fact families.

    • Counts from 1 to 10 without skipping numbers
    • Is able to identify basic shapes, either verbally or by pointing to them
    • Is able to or is beginning to count using one-to-one correspondence
    • Can sort items by common attributes
    • Can identify the colors in an 8-count crayon box either verbally or by pointing to the correct color

    Pre Reading/Literacy

    Pre-reading skills are a precursor to knowing how to sequence a story, tell a story, understand that letters and words work together to make stories, and eventually begin to read sight words.

    • Recites or sings the alphabet
    • Visually identifies some of the letters
    • Can match some letters to sounds or sounds to letters
    • Likes listening to stories
    • Recognizes own name when it's written or typed
    • Can tell if two words rhyme, may or may not be able to give a third word that rhymes with them
    • Tries to write her own name
    • Can draw a picture to illustrate an idea
    • Recognizes some environmental print (i.e., the logo of favorite restaurant, food, or other signs)
    • Knows how to hold a book correctly (i.e. right side up, where the front cover is)