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June 17, 2024

What Should Kids Know Before Kindergarten?

Early childhood education is essential in setting a foundation for a child’s future academic and social success. Parents and guardians play an important part in fostering the skills children need to thrive in kindergarten.

This article will outline key areas children should develop before entering kindergarten and offer some tips on how you can start to implement and nurture these skills with your child at home.

Social and Emotional Skills

Before entering kindergarten, it will be helpful for your child to know these social and emotional skills.

  • Understanding and expressing emotions

  • Following rules

  • Ability to interact with adults and peers

  • Sharing and taking turns

  • Listening to others

  • Maintaining focus and attention in a group setting

Importance in Kindergarten

Social and emotional skills can lay the groundwork for a positive learning environment. By understanding their emotions and learning how to express them, your child can reduce frustration, improve communication skills, and work with others more easily.

These skills help them build relationships with classmates and manage their emotions effectively.


Tips for Development at Home

You can start developing these skills at home by incorporating them into games and stories.

Role-playing games

Engage in role-playing activities that allow your child to express different emotions and respond to various social scenarios. Play a game of Emotion Charades where family members act out different emotions, and others have to guess what emotions they are.

Storytime discussion

After reading a story together, discuss the characters, their emotions, and their actions. Ask your child how they may feel in a similar situation or how they could help the character in this situation.

Cognitive Skills

Before entering kindergarten, it will be helpful for your child to know these cognitive skills.

  • Recognizing letters and numbers

  • Basic counting and sorting

  • Identifying shapes and colors

  • Understanding basic patterns

  • Following simple instructions

  • Recognizing their name in print


Importance in Kindergarten

Building your child’s cognitive skills can help them find success in kindergarten. Recognizing letters and numbers forms a basis for reading and math skills, while counting and sorting can help them form problem-solving skills. With these foundational skills, your child can better engage with their school curriculum and build confidence in their learning potential.


Tips for Development at Home

You can support your child’s cognitive skills at home with hands-on activities before kindergarten begins.

Counting during daily activities

Create counting games out of your regular activities. Count items while grocery shopping or sort them by color, shape, and size.

Shape and color hunts

Go on a hunt around your house or neighborhood to find and identify different shapes and colors. You can also incorporate counting—if you see a row of three trees while walking in your neighborhood, count them out loud together.

Language Skills

Before entering kindergarten, it will be helpful for your child to know these language skills.

  • Basic vocabulary and sentence formation

  • Listening and understanding instructions

  • Naming common objects and people

  • Asking and answering questions

  • Narrating simple stories or events

  • Recognizing rhyming words

  • Understanding simple prepositions (e.g., in, on, under)

Importance in Kindergarten

Language skills are fundamental for effective communication and learning. Building their vocabulary and ability to form sentences helps children express their thoughts clearly and accurately. Listening and understanding instructions are essential for following classroom directions, participating in group activities, and comprehending lessons.


Tips for Development at Home

Learn how to incorporate teaching literacy skills in storytime and other fun ways for your child to prepare them for kindergarten.

Singing songs and nursery rhymes

Singing sessions with songs and nursery rhymes can help your child build their vocabulary and rhythm in language.

Conversation practice

Start regular conversations with your child, asking open-ended questions and encouraging detailed responses.

Storytelling and rhyming

Read stories together, identify and create rhymes, and have your child make up their own stories. You can also ask follow-up questions to encourage them to add details to their story,

Physical and Motor Skills

Before entering kindergarten, it will be helpful for your child to know these physical and motor skills.

  • Running, jumping, climbing

  • Using pencils and scissors

  • Balancing on one foot

  • Throwing and catching a ball

  • Building with blocks

  • Zipping and unzipping

  • Using utensils properly


Importance in Kindergarten

Physical and motor skills are vital for participating in playground activities and classroom tasks. Motor skills like running and jumping aid physical development and coordination, and fine motor skills like using pencils and scissors are essential for writing and other detailed tasks.


Tips for Development at Home

Your child can move and groove into kindergarten after learning these physical and motor skills at home before the first day of school.

Playground visits

Visit the playground for running, jumping, and climbing. You can also introduce simple sports and games that involve physical movement.

Arts and crafts

Introduce arts and crafts, including drawing, cutting with scissors, blocks and building sets, and craft projects with different materials to support their skills and creativity.

Practice dressing skills

Allow your child to help get dressed by practicing buttoning and zipping. They can also practice their skills by using utensils during meal times.

Self-care and Independence Skills

Before entering kindergarten, it will be helpful for your child to know these self-care and independence skills.

  • Dressing oneself

  • Washing hands after using the bathroom

  • Managing personal belongings

  • Cleaning up after playtime

  • Brushing teeth

  • Using the bathroom by themselves

  • Pouring a drink

  • Opening and closing containers

H3: Importance in Kindergarten

Self-care and independence skills allow children to care for themselves and their belongings, fostering a sense of responsibility and confidence. These skills are crucial for daily routines in kindergarten, such as managing personal items and maintaining hygiene.


H3: Tips for Development at Home

Teaching your child self-care practices and independence skills can help them confidently take on kindergarten.

Practice routines

Help your child begin regular routines by starting small. About a month before the first day of school, practice washing their hands after every bathroom break, dressing themselves in the morning, and brushing their teeth.


Responsibility and chores

Your child can help with daily tasks and household chores like helping put away laundry and cleaning up their toys after playtime to encourage independence and responsibility.

Packing a bag

Teach your child how to pack and organize their own bag for school. You can help build excitement around starting kindergarten by taking them to pick out a backpack, lunch box, and other school supplies.


Preparing Your Child for Success in Kindergarten

Filling your child’s toolbox with the social, cognitive, language, physical, and self-care skills they need can help set them up for a successful start to kindergarten. By starting these lessons at home with activities, games, and stories, parents and guardians can help their kids prepare for the new challenges and opportunities in school.

Get more resources on preparing your child for kindergarten, and encourage your child’s development today to support a bright future tomorrow.