Is your child ready to start Kindergarten?

I remember when my son Christian was getting ready to start kindergarten, we were so busy researching the “perfect” private school that we didn’t realize how behind he was already. Christian was attending Pre-K at a local church and knew his colors, how to count to ten and some other basic information. We actually thought he was advanced since he attended a Pre-K program before hand. Well, the rude awaking didn’t happen until we enrolled him a private kindergarten academy. The admissions director said Christian had to take a test before he was accepted into the program. Seriously, it’s just kindergarten. What I didn’t know was, how important it was for him to have a firm foundation before he started school. Knowing his colors and counting to ten wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Christian was accepted into the program but under probation for the first year. I knew then and there that I would needed to become more educated about his education.

Sixteen years later, I am now a kindergarten teacher and can’t believe how things have changed. I used to think that those beautiful six-year-old minds can’t handle all the information they are expected to know, but was I wrong. Their minds are like a sponge who just absorb all the information we give them. The kids in my classroom love to sing their ABC songs, but it’s no longer knowing your ABC’s but recognizing the sounds each letter make and knowing what each letter looks like. So, for those who are getting ready to start kindergarten, here is my list that will help your child succeed! If only I had this list sixteen years ago!



  1. Make sure they can recognize at least 20 of the 26 upper case letters.
  2. Make sure they can recognize at least 20 of the 26 lower case letters.
  3. Can count to 20.
  4. Can count backwards to 20.
  5. Can write their first name.
  6. Can color. I’m not saying they should be able to stay inside the lines, just take their time.
  7. Use scissors. Remember, when you put your fingers inside scissors your thumb will look like a shark fin, that’s the correct way to hold them. If the shark fin is sideways, you are doing it wrong.
  8. Learn the difference between inside and outside voice.
  9. How to correctly hold a pencil.
  10. How to recognize their name in print.   


These are some of the things my students need to learn BEFORE they graduate to first grade. The hardest part is learning the sounds each letter makes and counting backwards from 20. Don’t worry, if your child hasn’t mastered all these things, that’s what the teacher is there for. But, this will help them get a great head start in kindergarten! Feel free to add anything else to my list! Dot


Christian at age 3      




Christian at age 16


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8 thoughts on “Is your child ready to start Kindergarten?

  1. I’m an elementary teacher too and a mom of two boys. There are so many demands on both teachers and students these days. My school days were jammed packed from minute to minute and the kids were tired. I agree that children brain’s are like sponges and we must keep in mind that they develop at different rates. I used to have to tell parents, “It’s going to be ok! It’s elementary school…not college…and they will do great!” No matter what my school day consisted of I made sure I added in some brain breaks and planned fun activities. It’s a long, hard day for both teachers and students. Thanks for sharing your own experience with your son on this topic!

  2. Wow! My husband and I were just discussing this the other day. We have an almost 3 year old and we are starting to research what he needs to know and learn before starting kindergarten because it will be here before we know it! I’m going to forward your list to my husband so we can discuss it. Thanks!

  3. This is a great article! Unless your child attends preschool, it can be hard to realize what a child should know going into kindergarten. Taking the time to prepare your child will ensure they are successful and comfortable in their new learning environment!

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