Write their name? Tie their own shoes? What are YOUR Top Tips for Getting Ready for Kindergarten?

The Question: I have to do a little presentation on top 10 readiness skills for new incoming K’s. 
Can you give me your top one? 
The Answers:
We are currently redoing our presentation because many of these skills used to be END of year goals, but with increased expectations/common core – now they are entering expectations. I do not agree with it, but honestly feel powerless against it.
My previous #1 was to love learning and I could teach them the rest.
My new #1? 2 years of preschool so that they don’t start out behind (this can also be translated to ‘please let your 4 year old have an extra year of preschool rather than sending them straight to kindergarten’).
Writing their name, holding a pencil correctly. It is something they will, quite literally, use every single day. For some reason, so many pre-K or daycares still insist on teaching children to write their name in all capital letters. I always encourage parents of incoming K students to have them practice writing their name with an upper case letter for the first initial only.
Ability to listen and follow directions.
Wow. This is a hard question. Social readiness? Academic readiness? And this can change so much in just a couple of weeks. Every child wants to learn. Can’t wait to hear other people’s responses.
Understand the concept of a story. Particularly, to be able to sit and listen to a 10min story. I get one every year that want to get up during story time and just go do something else (housekeeping, blocks, etc)
Follow directions and be away from mom for that amount of time.
Use the bathroom independently. Put on and fasten coat by herself. Share. Be able to wait for a turn.
Listening and I agree, being able to separate from mom
Follow directions, share, wait your turn. I can teach you how to write your name, etc, but you have to be able to listen!!
Separate from your caregiver
Phonemic awareness
Chores or expectations at home will help transition to “jobs” and schoolwork.
Bathroom independently!
1. Bathroom independently 2. Write name/hold a pencil
Tie their shoes independently
An interest in learning
They need to know their legal first and last name.
Book experience. Helps in so many areas.
I agree about the self help skills and being able to attend. Once they can sit and pay attention the rest can be taught. Some phonemic awareness doesn’t hurt thought.
I agree with all the above. But for me knowledge of letters and sounds. Counting ability to at least 35. Many of my parents stated they wish they knew what k was like before they started. I am fixing to send home a survey to my parents to see what they say now about what would have been nice to know. You could always do that to get some feedback from them.
Self help, some experience with books, letters, letter sounds, numbers, counting, coloring/ drawing…any little bit helps!
Blow their own nose, colors, shapes, name, bathroom, identify most letters, know some sounds, count to 20, numbers to 10, can rhyme, follow directions, take turns, share, print concept skills.
The ability to stay focused on something for at least five minutes.
Tie their shoes
The ability to speak clearly and fluently
Every student comes in with different experiences. I do know when they were up too late or didn’t eat any breakfast.
Be able to open snack packages by themselves. Hold pencil correctly. Recognize and print own name. Be able to turn the pages of a book without tearing the pages. Name colors and shapes. A beginning understanding of letters and numbers.
Respect for adults, students and property.
Writing their name.
I teach Head Start and I tell my parents that they should know colors, shapes, letters, numbers 1-20, zip their own coat, rhyme words and MY goal is that they write their name. I loved reading all of your responses!!
I dislike when this question is asked. Kindergarten readiness should focus on specific skills a child can or cannot do. Right away we are looking at them in a certain way. If a child loves learning, they are ready fir Kindergarten, and it’s the teacher’s job to do the rest. Sure, it would be nice if every child walked into Kindergarten able to do this, that, and everything else, but isn’t that the point of teaching? To teach students what they don’t yet know and to make them love learning to foster good experiences when they are in school? Just a thought.
Count to 10, write name, bathroom, put on own pants, use scissors, know some letters, colors, respect for adults, open cover of book and turn pages
I agree with Laura–and some of the skills mentioned above are actually goals for the end of K, not the beginning. Also holding a pencil and writing are fine motor skills, which often develop later for some children, even ones who have great phonemic awareness.
Feed themselves, ask for help, put on shoes
Be able to sit and listen to a short story.
Being able to print their name is my top choice. Knowing colors and shapes is also a big help.
Print and recognize their name
We were asked this recently too. Top was recognize and print name with one capital. Retraining them to write their name with one cap is difficult if they are used to all caps.
Taking care of restroom needs and fastening own pants.
Because social skills have been taken out of our TEKS and so much academics added, things like being able to take turns, sit with others during a story, empathy, some common sense things like use words to solve problems, walk in a line, etc.would be good.
I don’t think any of these skills should be done with mastery. I have several 4 year olds every year and some of these things aren’t developmentally appropriate. I do think it is all about exposing your child to school things before they start school. Let them color, trace their name, cut and glue, talk about shapes, colors, numbers, letters, ect. in everyday talk and read to them. I think we overwhelm parents when we send a list of things home telling them that their child needs to know those things before they start school.
Be able to separate easily from parent, follow a 2 step direction, interact with other children, write name, hold pencil, know colors, count and recognize numbers from 1 to 10 and at least recognize letters in their name. The rest they learn in kindergarten
Let them use scissors, crayons, glue, etc to develop fine motor skills!! So hard to do so much of our curriculum without. That and being able to follow directions.
She is the editor-in-chief of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. She’s the author of several books—her next will be on shelves February 2014.
Alphabet, counting, shapes, sight words(10-ish), blow your nose, open your own lunch items, manners, responsibility, taking your turn, sharing, ten or more Nursery Rhymes, colors, respect for the teacher/adults.
I know that this probably doesn’t fit in with, but my top skill for incoming kindergartners is the ability to talk about stories, and to “read” information from illustrations. I see so many kids who can read a lot of words, but don’t pay any attention to the story.
Self regulation!!!!
Coping and self regulation when things don’t go the way you want. I tell parents it’s helpful to role play potential peer conflicts when they play with their kids prior to starting school. For example, when you start a game of Candy Land, insist that you get to be the piece that is their favorite color and brainstorm possible solutions. If your child cheats, call them out on it…because you KNOW their peers will. Don’t always “let” them win. They need to experience losing and parents are in a perfect position to teach these skills to their kids in a safe relationship before they enter school.
Writing their name and to tie shoelaces.
Be able to write their first name and sit during a story.
Gotta know the consonant sounds/letters, as well as the vowels and numerals, geometric shapes!
Follow two step directions!
Being able to wipe.
Recognize and be able to write their name, attend for 10-15 minutes, count to ten, know a few letters, tend to their own bathroom needs. Be able to use scissors and hold pencil /crayon correctly.

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