A Place of Our Own
About the Series Feedback Glossary Search Go Español
Home Topics Activities Resources Episode Guide Active Learning
Preparing for Kindergarten

Dear Debi,
Itís almost time for my daughter to start kindergarten, but I donít know how to determine if sheís ready. Iíve heard that she has to be emotionally, socially and physically ready, but what does all of this mean?
Eliana Camero
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
  • Provide social experiences
  • Read to your child every day & point out numbers & letters
  • Provide paper & writing materials
  • Encourage dramatic & outside play
Expert Advice
Susan Baxter
Susan Baxter
Early Childhood Education Instructor
The only real requirement for starting kindergarten is a doctorís visit, which will entail a physical examination as well as additional immunizations. However, a child should be prepared emotionally, socially, and physically to start kindergarten.

One of the most important things is for children to play. Play will help your child learn to problem-solve, develop confidence, take turns, share, cooperate with others, and negotiate Ė all of which are important socially and emotionally. Children also develop important communication and language skills through play.

Preparing your child physically not only includes a doctorís visit, it also includes making sure that your child is getting plenty of outdoor play time. Jungle gyms, sand boxes, etc. will all help your child develop his fine and gross motor skills.

Reading to your child is also extremely important. Reading helps them build their vocabulary, learn about print and develop listening and literacy skills. You should also encourage your child to be curious and to ask questions. This curiosity will help them learn about their world.

Television and video games should be kept to a minimum, especially at this age. Kids are going to benefit so much more from playing and interacting socially with other children their age. Itís crucial for kids to be socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten. Being socially and emotionally ready is whatís going to allow your child to learn to his or her fullest potential.
Child Care Provider Comments
Jane Fung
Jane Fung
Mother of 5-year-old
Preschool provides a wonderful way to transition a young child to more formal school. My son attends Headstart, a free and public preschool. If you are not able to enroll your child in a preschool, I would suggest that you provide opportunities to interact and play with other children.
Suyapa Espinoza
Suyapa Espinoza
Cares for her niece and nephew
Iíve been helping my niece and nephew get ready for kindergarten by reading to them. Weíll talk about the basic colors when we use crayons. We do the ABCís Ėmost of the time we sing the ABC song. They help with the grocery shopping when we are in the store. We use teachable moments when we do grocery shopping. We talk about the different foods and where food comes from.
Bridgette Smith
Bridgette Smith
Mother of two, expecting her third child
Start preparing your child at home academically. Hopefully, that will carry over to the physical part- being able to do the work, participate in the group and complete tasks. As a parent, you need to know your childís behavior and mannerisms. Some children adjust with no problem. Socially and emotionally, some children may have issues on the first day, the first week, the first month, etc. You try to find tools that will help build their self-esteem so that they arenít afraid around the other kids and the teachers. Itís important for the parents to talk to their kids to see if there is a problem.

Neighborhood Collage Featured Activity:
Neighborhood Collage
Preparing for Kindergarten Featured Video:
Preparing for Kindergarten
Topic: Child Care Management
View Index
Learn More
View All Topics
Message Boards
Related Episodes
When a Child Leaves Your Care & Week in Review
Choosing a Preschool
Getting Out & About
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
© 2007 Community Television of Southern California. All rights reserved.