Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How Do You Know When Your Child Is ready For School?

Many parents find themselves asking the question, “Is my child really ready for school?” Some kids have birth days that are just at the cut off date to register for school. At times, many of these children barely qualify if you decide to send them. As I considered whether or not my kids were ready or not I thought about the skills, both academic and social, that they needed to have before starting school. I asked myself questions like those provided by the MetLife Consumer Education Center. You can ask yourself the same questions to determine if your child is ready for school.

Does your child know the basic shapes and colors? Although these skills are reviewed in kindergarten it is better if your child knows them before starting. 

Can your child write their name and cut with scissors? These are fine motor-skills
that are needed by children starting school.

Can your child count to ten? This is a pre-kindergarten skill most children should

Does your child know some of their letters and numbers? It isn’t necessary for your child to know all of their letters and numbers but knowing a few is important, especially the letters in their name.

Does your child exhibit confidence? Your child needs to be able to separate from you easily and not be afraid.

Is your child curious? School is a new learning experience and the child who asks questions about their environment will be more successful.

Does your child have age-appropriate verbal skills? Your child should be able to communicate with adults and other children. If you aren’t sure talk to your child’s doctor about where they should be.

Does your child demonstrate social skills? Social skills are very important in a group setting. Your child needs to be able to share and take turns. He or she should be comfortable in a group setting and know how to express their feelings appropriately.

Does your child have a lengthening attention span? School activities require that a child be able to focus on one thing for a time.

Does your child possess play skills? Kindergarten is about learning and playing. Your child needs to know how to play with different materials.

Does your child exhibit age-appropriate physical development? For example, children should be able to feed themselves, use the toilet (including buttoning and unbuttoning pants), and go up and down stairs.

Sometimes it’s not the child who isn’t ready for kindergarten but the parent who is not ready to let them go. If your child is ready don’t let them know how you feel. You don’t want to give your child a reason to fear starting school. To help ease your fears meet with the teacher and principal before school starts. Ask the teacher about things like classroom discipline and learning activities. Most of all realize that for your child starting kindergarten is the best thing for them, a chance to prove that they can do things on their own.

I sent my son to kindergarten and he turned five the next day. It was the best decision for us. He happily walked through the school doors without even looking back. Socially he didn’t have any problems, although he was a little behind in kindergarten he is now starting third grade top of his class and reading at a third to fourth grade level. If I had held him back he would be really bored in school now.

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