If a child starts Kindergarten ready to learn, he is more likely to read at grade level by 3rd grade. As the parent of a five year old, I am personally interested in what it means to be Kindergarten ready. When my son enters Kindergarten in August, what should he be able to do? After talking with the school where he has enrolled, I found some general feedback about some basic school readiness skills:
- The students separates from parents without being upset.
- The student can sustain attention to a task, including sitting and listening to a teacher.
- The student has basic social skills including sharing, taking turns, realizing the adult is in charge, and problem solving without physical aggression.
- The student can use a quiet voice when appropriate, understanding that actions have both positive and negative consequences.
- The student can recognize and say his name, and may be able to write it.
- The student is developing fine motor skills to use scissors, hold a pencil correctly, color, and ideally can write his name.
- The student recognizes the difference between numbers and letters.
- The student can count from 1-10.
- The student recognizes shapes and colors.
This is one example of what one school recommends for Kindergarten Readiness. But the city of Kansas City, MO includes schools located in 15 different school districts. In general, there has not been a consensus on how to assess Kindergarten Readiness. However, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recently adopted an instrument for early childhood readiness in Missouri . This instrument is called the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP). This instrument provides useful information to parents, child care providers, teachers and administrators about the learning and development of each student. The DRDP uses a variety of methods to assess the child such as observations, interviews, and a review of the child’s work.
For most parents, the DRDP may be more than you need to work on your child’s kindergarten readiness skills. But this summer is a good time to cultivate some practical social skills so that the child starts kindergarten ready to learn. Personally, I plan to work on my son’s ability to blow his nose. Other than that, I think he’s ready.