Preparing For Kindergarten


Children need a variety of skills to prepare for kindergarten, from social-emotional skills like cooperation and self-control to early academics, such as counting or knowing some letters. Kids can develop these skills before enrolling in kindergarten through everyday activities.

Kindergarteners learn to identify the first twenty-one letters of the alphabet (both uppercase and lowercase) and to read high-frequency words, like “and.” They also explore two-dimensional shapes and basic skip counting.

Social and Emotional Development

The social and emotional development of children is an important factor in kindergarten readiness. Children need to be able to interact cooperatively with others and manage their emotions in a classroom environment. Research shows that these skills are linked to students’ academic success in the first grade.

During the participant observation, teachers created environments and engaged in relationships that supported kindergarten children’s social and emotional development. This allowed for a greater likelihood of guided participation, where children learn to express themselves in productive ways.

Educators believe that social and emotional maturity is more predictive of children’s success in school than their age or cognitive abilities. Parents should evaluate their child’s social-emotional readiness before enrolling them in a program. Even everyday experiences, such as trips to the grocery store, can be major learning opportunities for kindergarten-age children. For example, they learn about money, colors and sizes. In the Netherlands, kindergarten (kleuterschool) is a noncompulsory form of education for four to six year olds, and is followed by primary school (lagere school). The term kindergarten is derived from Friedrich Froebel’s Kindergarten, which was based on the principles of play.

Language and Literacy Development

In kindergarten, children learn about letters and numbers, develop their ability to recognize both upper and lower case letters, start reading and writing and expand their vocabulary. They also practice their fine and gross motor skills and learn to think and solve problems.

Froebel’s kindergarten was filled with toys and occupations, based on the belief that children should play to cultivate their physical, intellectual and social growth. These activities help them to recognize and understand patterns in nature and the world around them.

Although there is a rich literature on the language and literacy development of monolingual children, very few studies have examined this area in young dual language learners (DLLs), who represent one of the fastest growing populations in the educational system. The limited research available suggests that young DLLs perform below monolinguals in emergent literacy and may lose their early reading abilities in their L1 when they begin school in their L2. This needs to be explored further.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development is important to school readiness because it involves the understanding of the world around children and their ability to learn. It also supports language and reading skills.

The pace of cognitive development varies from child to child. Parents should be aware of the rate of their child’s cognitive development and encourage it when possible.

In kindergarten, children begin to recognize letters and numbers. They will start to understand basic math concepts, like more and less and number relationships (e.g., five is more than four).

Children also begin to sequence objects and events – for example, arranging picture cards to tell a story. They begin to understand that different people have different characteristics and are able to show empathy towards others. Children also develop the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time during play.

Physical Development

Throughout their early years children establish patterns of activity which may affect them for the rest of their lives. Physical development encompasses both gross (large muscle movement) and fine motor skills (use of fingers, hands and eyes). It is also referred to as body growth and a child’s ability to develop their coordination and balance.

Kindergarten offers a valuable opportunity for children to cultivate their large and small motor skills, while building on their social and cognitive development. It serves as a bridge from the less structured environment of preschool and the more formal classroom setting of primary school.

Kindergarten teachers help kids become accustomed to following a schedule, adhering to classroom rules and comprehending fundamental learning concepts. Kids learn the alphabet and its corresponding sounds and gain an understanding of basic math principles. They will also become familiar with 30 high-frequency words, known as sight words. This will set them up for success as they move on to elementary school.

Preparing For Kindergarten
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