GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) - If your child's preschool years are coming to an end, your thoughts are probably turning toward kindergarten. But, is your child ready socially and academically for the leap to all day school? While you might think that it's most important for children to enter kindergarten knowing their ABCs, numbers, shapes, and colors, there are equally important readiness skills that set the stage for your child's learning.
Enthusiasm toward learning
-Does the child approach learning enthusiastically?
-Are they eager to explore and discover?
-Do they ask questions, take initiative, and persist when tasks are difficult?
Solid oral-language skills
Help develop your child's language skills by taking your child to many new places, giving him words and descriptions for what he is seeing. Children should be able to incorporate a variety of words into their vocabulary.
The ability to listen
Listening skills are important for moving into kindergarten. Students must be able to concentrate on what the teacher is saying, listen carefully for directions, and tune in to the sounds in letters and words. This can be practiced by reading to your child and asking questions afterwards to make sure they are paying attention.
Encouraging self-help skills is an important step to preparing your child for kindergarten. Teachers will expect your child to:
-Get coats on and off and hang them up
-Follow simple two-step instructions such as "take off your boots and put on your sneakers"
-Go to the bathroom and wash their hands
-Blow their nose and cover their mouth when they cough
-Fasten and unfasten simple buttons and snaps
-Eat neatly and pour into a cup
-Open up a juice box and get the straw in
The ability to play well with others
Your child should be able to understand sharing, compromising, turn-taking and problem-solving.
Strong fine-motor skills
Your child's hands must be strong enough to master coloring, cutting, pasting, and holding a pencil correctly.
Basic letter and number recognition
Kindergarten teachers will work with kids on letter sounds and how to write, but your incoming student should be able to recognize most letters by sight. They should also be able to count to 10, identify numbers 1 to 5, and know some shapes and colors.
The State of Michigan has recently changes the age and requirements for enrollment starting with the 2013-2014 calendar year. Click here for a list of frequently asked questions.
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