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The 25 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten

Amber Brandt  |  June 22, 2023
If you’re preparing your child to begin kindergarten in the fall, you probably feel overwhelmed. The expectations are different than they were when we were kids, and there are a lot of emotions in the mix for both you and your child. You may not even be sure exactly what the current expectations are – you just know that you want to do right by your child and set them up for success.

The key is starting strong. 

According to The Children’s Reading Foundation, “Every year, 40% of children walk into Kindergarten behind. These students struggle to catch up, and sadly, most of them never do.” While that sounds bleak, the good news is your engagement and support make all the difference… and tackling this basic checklist will help.

“Kindergarten readiness” is a term educators use to describe the skills a child should have to help them smoothly transition into their school career. And while 25 things may seem like a lot, your child probably does most of these already through simple development – and what’s left can be worked on over the summer months. The following list includes things like:

  • Basic life skills and hygiene
  • Social and emotional skills
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Language and listening skills
  • Literacy and math skills
Checklist for Kindergarten Readiness
Your child should:

Be able to recognize:
  • When two words rhyme
  • Their first name and attempt to write it
  • The parts of the body
  • That letters form words
  • Basic shapes like circle, square, triangle, star, etc.
  • Basic colors (primary and secondary) and be able to identify them
  • The difference between more than and less than
  • When a group has up to 4 objects without having to count them
  • The meaning of common signs (stop signs, logos of places you frequent, etc.)
Be able to recite:
  • The alphabet and know how to identify at least half the letters
  • Numbers 1-10 in the correct order without skipping any
  • Their first name, last name, and age
  • The days of the week
  • What happened in a story after hearing it read aloud
Be able to:
  • Use the bathroom and wash hands independently
  • Get themselves dressed in the morning (it's okay if they still need help with tough zippers and shoelaces)
  • Separate from a caregiver without getting overly upset
  • Interact with other kids
  • Pay attention to a task or adult for at least give minutes, and follow multi-step directions
  • Use scissors correctly and be able to trace dotted lines
  • Run, jump with both feet, walk up stairs, and hop on one foot
  • Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly
  • React appropriately when someone is sad, and express emotions
  • Take turns with other children
  • Communicate basic needs and be able to ask for help

Do you have any questions or concerns about your child’s kindergarten readiness? Our staff is here to support you, but you can also check out these free interactive worksheets, or shop a variety of helpful products from Scholastic:

Comprehensive list of kindergarten readiness products
Best books for kindergarten readers
Sight words
Color and shape flashcards
Math practice skills workbook

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