This time of the year marks preschool graduation for many, and soon attentions will turn to entering kindergarten in the fall. It’s a big and wonderful next step in your child’s development, but one that often leaves parents wondering, “Is my child ready?”
When you try to put your mind at ease, you start to see the term “kindergarten ready” everywhere. But, unless you’re an education professional, it can be hard to know exactly what it means.
Carol Siqueira, owner and operator of Kiddie Academy® of Glenview, says, “It’s common for parents to have a little anxiety, wondering if their kids are ready for kindergarten. For this coming school year, that may be more of an issue because of what’s being called the ‘kindergarten bubble.’”
The “kindergarten bubble” is yet another byproduct of the pandemic. With lots of students not attending school this past year because of the pandemic and many parents electing to delay the start of kindergarten for their 5 and 6 year olds, many experts are predicting larger-than-usual numbers of children entering kindergarten this coming school year, with greater disparities in ages and skill levels.
Even with the bubble, Carol says not to worry. “If your child attended a program like ours, they should be in great shape. Preschool programs like Kiddie Academy’s are designed to introduce and facilitate activities that develop the skills needed for kindergarten. For example, Kiddie Academy’s Life Essentials® curriculum helps children focus on skills that include writing, math, literacy, building independence, developing fine motor skills, growing social skills, learning to follow directions and character values. And there are also opportunities to get them involved educational programs this summer, like our CampVentures® program.”
Bubble aside, Carol offers parents the following information regarding kindergarten readiness in general:
- It is not necessary that children be able to read before entering kindergarten. While being able to read full sentences is not usually a requirement, phonemic awareness does help develop strong early literacy. That’s why Kiddie Academy teaches children rudimentary skills like recognizing letters and sounds and reading sight words.
- There is not one determining factor on whether your child is ready for kindergarten. Every child will reach his or her developmental milestones at a different pace. Some children will master many skills their kindergarten year. By the time children enter kindergarten and after, they will be well on their way to developing the physical, mental and emotional attributes that will help them throughout an academic career.
- There are key readiness skills that will make the beginning of kindergarten easier for your child and help your kindergartener be successful in school. Some examples include an understanding of common words like “stop,” being able to count to 10, recognition of alphabet letters and sounds, ability to speak in complete sentences and an interest in books and stories.
- It is normal for children to enter this first formal learning experience at varying developmental stages. In fact, according to the United States Department of Education, students will enter kindergarten with a range of different academic skills and learning behaviors. This is due to the fact that young children experience various types of early care and education environments the year before they enter kindergarten and will be coming from a variety of different early childhood experiences.
If, like many incoming kindergarteners, your child prepares for a big transition best by reading about it first, Carol recommends the following books:
The Night Before Kindergarten, by Natasha Wing
Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!, by Nancy Carlson
First Day Jitters, by Julie Danneberg
Kindergarten, Here I Come!, by D. J. Steinberg
You can learn more about what Kiddie Academy of Glenview has to offer to help get your child ready for kindergarten by calling 847-729-6200 or emailing [email protected]