Kindergarten is the first real step for young children towards the outside world. At Kindergarten, children meet new people, learn new rules and discipline, spend considerable amount of time away from their comfort zone, viz. home. Children learn most things through playing, exploring and just by being with parents. Therefore, no age can be considered as too early for children to make them ready for kindergarten. The process can ideally start about a year ago, while the child is in Preschool. Starting early makes the transition smoother.
The parents should consider a child’s strengths and weaknesses, special talents and social skills before getting them into kindergarten. Their interaction with others, seeking help and assistance when required and information about their personal self etc. are important. Parents should spend a lot of time with their children to learn about their progression. Parents and educationists can also use the kindergarten readiness checklist, developed by several states. Children may not have all the skills specified in the checklist but, that is not a deterrent. The list of skills just gives an idea on what should be taught to children to prepare them for kindergarten.
There are three important aspects covering the child’s physical and emotional skills and personal health, hygiene and safety. Children require physical skills such as running, jumping, climbing, drawing (basic shapes), cutting (using scissors) etc. Crayons, markers, pencils, scissors, paper, puzzles, building blocks etc. are some of the tools that can develop the motor skills of children.
The emotional skills are, their socialization with other children, interacting with elders and teachers and not getting upset in schools with parents not around.
Personal health and hygiene and refers to the oral health, vision, immunization shots and boosters given etc. The ability to fulfill their personal needs such as using the bathroom, brushing teeth, blowing nose with a napkin, putting on their own dress, shoes and socks are important.
As far as safety is concerned, the child should know his own name and that of the parents. They should also know their address, telephone number etc. which should be taught to them before schooling. The other safety aspects include, looking at both sides before crossing the road, following safety rules and being aware of strangers.
As per the Department of Early Learning, kindergarten readiness is not just about children getting ready for schools, but also people around; the schools, parents, families and the community as a whole.