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8 Skills To Work On to Prepare Children for Kindergarten

Do you have a child that will enter Kindergarten soon? Wondering what skills they should have before they enter the classroom and how you can help them work on those skills in fun, playful ways?

Check out tips from Port Discovery's Education Team below: 

  1. Books & Reading Skills: By Kindergarten, children should begin to understand stories, be able to explain what happened in a story, and have a basic understanding of how a book works. To help them develop these skills, have your child practice holding and turning the pages in a book. Ask them questions about the stories you read. Point out letters and words in stories that you read together.
  2. Language Skills: Identifying letters and some sounds, as well as clearly communicating are important skills for Kindergarteners. You’ll want your little one to be able to speak in complete sentences and understand simple words like top and bottom and small and large. To help your little one develop in this area, involve them in regular conversations, try participating in educational programs that involve singing and story times, and read stories to your child.
  3. Writing Skills: By the time your child enters Kindergarten, they should be able to draw and express ideas with crayons and pencils, copy simple lines/marks, and have a start to writing their name. Scribbling is where writing starts; give your child plenty of opportunities to “write.” Simple but fun things you can do with your little one to improve on these skills include completing fun art and craft projects, asking your child to trace objects, and helping your child write their name on pictures they draw. Write stories, letters, lists, etc. with your child; you write what your child says.
  4. Listening Skills & Following Directions: Kindergarteners are expected to listen to and follow simple instructions from their teachers. Activities you can work on to improve skills in this area include participating in fun and simple games that require your little one to follow a few steps and reading stories that involve characters and asking your child questions about them afterward. 
  5. Physical Skills: Your child will be participating in activities that involve physical skills like coloring, cutting with scissors, and playing on a playground when they enter Kindergarten, so it’s important that they are prepared with the skills they’ll need. Try out art and craft activities with your little one – and let them do the cutting, coloring, and pasting. Make up fun and active games like tag and the freeze game and do simple exercises with hula hoops, hopping and skipping, bean bags, or running.
  6. Social & Emotional Skills: By the time your child enters Kindergarten, it is important that have basic skills that will help them get along with others and complete basic self-care tasks. Ideas to help practice skills in this area include rewarding children for completing simple and fun responsibilities around the house, helping your children understand emotions in others, and helping them learn how to resolve conflicts by stepping into situations and asking them how to resolve them.
  7. Math & Number Skills: By Kindergarten, your child should be able to identify numbers 1 – 10, be able to count to ten and understand the concepts of more and less. Children entering Kindergarten should also be able to represent a number by producing a set of objects with concrete materials, pictures or numerals.  There are plenty of fun and immersive ways to learn. For instance – count the stairs you climb on an outing, play “I spy” to find numbers, or gather leaves in the park and use them to teach concepts of more and less.  
  8. Science & Asking Questions: When entering Kindergarten, children should be making observations and asking questions about the world around them, understanding how things work, and designing and making things with simple materials and tools. Ideas to encourage this sort of thinking in your little one include making observations and asking questions yourself when on an outing, asking your child to describe and compare differences in objects, animals, and plants, and challenging them to try to make bigger block structures.

Have a little one that’s ready for Pre-K or Kindergarten? Mark your calendars for Countdown to Kindergarten presented by Maryland 529, coming up on April 21. Featuring fun activities and resources from partners including Baltimore City Public School System, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Head Start, DRU Judy Center, Baltimore Infants and Toddlers, Maryland Book Bank, Maryland 529, Family Tree, B’more for Healthy Babies and Family League, Baltimore Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and The Y of Central Maryland, this event will help connect you with info that will help in your journey to school readiness!

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