Kindergarten Readiness Pamphlet


Sycamore Canyon School


Mrs. Rosanne Schwartz


[email protected]

Kindergarten Readiness Skills

Entering Kindergarten is an exciting event to look forward to by both child and parent! During this year your child will set their outlook on school and their foundation for literacy. It is a wondrous year of growth, both academically and socially. Because the expectations of Kindergarten have changed over the years, many parents wonder if their child is ready for the rigors of the upcoming school year and want to know what they can do to assist their child as they begin this journey. Included here are some readiness skills you may want to work on with your child over the summer. Don't be concerned if he/she does not have them all down before the first day of kindergarten, as he/she will continue to work on them throughout the school year. Try a few activities listed for the skills your child might need to work on a bit more before the start of the school year, but remember to keep it fun. Your child will take their cue from you: if you're not having enjoying it, neither will they. Remember the goal is to help your child feel confident, ready, and enthusiastic about Kindergarten!

School and Social Skills

  • Build stamina by setting a time goal for an activity. Many children are willing to watch TV or play video games for an extended time but are not willing to participate in more focused, directed tasks. Start with an activity that your child enjoys and then transition into those that may be more challenging. Children love stop watches and timers so using one may encourage your child to stick with a task for the allotted time. Start short and increase the time.

  • Help your child listen to and follow directions. Give your child simple, explicit one or two step directions as part of their daily responsibilities. (Put on your jacket and get your shoes.) If this is difficult for your child, have them repeat the directions for you before they begin. Playing two or three step Simon Says is a fun way to increase this ability. (Touch the refrigerator, jump two times, and sit on the couch.)

  • Provide opportunities for your child to play with other children in a variety of social settings so they can practice cooperation and sharing while building friendships.

  • Teach your child to verbalize their thoughts when angry or frustrated. This will help them to get assistance when needed and solve their problems with peers in an appropriate manner rather than by crying or hitting.


  • Help your child build a love for reading by making it a special time for you and your child to share. Let him/her choose a book to read. Snuggle close or let them sit on your lap.

  • Make your child part of the experience by letting them turn the pages, find a letter on the page, fill in the last word in a rhyming stanza. (I will not eat them in a house, I will not eat them with a ...), or join in on a repeating phrase in the text (Run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man!)

  • Build an awareness of how books work by showing your child the cover, pointing to the title, and running your
    finger under words as you read (only do this on books with one or two lines of print on a page). Talk about the

  • Ask your child to make predictions about what they think will happen next, answer simple questions about the events or characters, expand their thinking by asking "why" questions, and voice their opinion about the story.

  • Look for environmental print that your child can "read" like Target, Oreos, McDonalds.

Letters and Sounds

  • Start teaching your child the names of the letters as this is a crucial skill needed for reading and writing. While they do not need to know every letter before school starts, those children who only know a few can become more easily frustrated at the beginning of the year when we are working on both letter name and corresponding sound. Children who recognize around two thirds of their letters feel more confident and seem to master the letter-sound relationship more easily.

  • Work with both capital and lowercase letters. Capital letters are more distinct and children often have an easier time discriminating between them. When we read and write, we are mostly using

  • lowercase letters and recognizing them will assist your child in these foundational skills.

  • Help your children begin to establish the connection between letters and sounds. Again, they do not need to know all of the letter sounds prior to entering school, but they should be aware that each letter makes its own sound and be able to voice as many as they know. Often associating an image of the letter and/or a picture will help your child more easily recall the appropriate sounds. We use the Alpha Friends program at Sycamore where each letter has an associated character, sound, and motion. Your child will be learning them at school but you may want to practice using these same techniques to help your child avoid confusion. These resources can be found on Mrs. Schwartz's website ( ) if you would like to print them out.

  • If your child is just beginning to learn the letter names or sounds, don't start with all 26 as it can be overwhelming. Start with 8 or 9 and gradually add a few more as letters are mastered.

  • Try to make letter/sound practice fun by incorporating games instead of just practicing flashcards.

  • Put letter magnets or cards into a bag and have your child reach in to select one. If they know the name/sound they get to keep it. If they don't, tell them the correct answer and return it to the bag so they can have another chance at success.

  • Spread the letters around the room and go on a letter/sound hunt. Go find the letter "b", look for the letter that makes the /b/ sound, bring me the letter that goes with "bear".

  • Play Memory or Go Fish using matching letter cards (A, A), capital/lowercase (A, a) or letter/picture (a, apple).

  • Find an item around the house that starts with a particular sound.

  • Put magnet letters in ABC order on the refrigerator.

  • Let your child use a highlighter to locate particular letters in a magazine or computer printout.

  • Tell your child a letter/sound and they write it or hold up the corresponding letter card/magnet.

Writing and Fine Motor

  • Your child's name is very important! Teach them to recognize it and write it by starting with a capital letter followed by lowercase letters.

  • Encourage your child to hold their pencil correctly using the tripod hold. Once your child becomes comfortable writing while using an incorrect grip, it is very challenging to get them to change.

  • Practice writing letters but don't always use paper and pencil. Children enjoy the tactile experience of writing in a pie plate or tray filled with salt. Dry erase markers glide over a whiteboard more easily than pencil on paper. Use water and a paintbrush to write the letters on the sidewalk. Employ lots of different mediums like chalk, colored pencils, markers, watercolors, etc. to mix it up and avoid feeling like the "same old thing".

  • Don't worry about the letters sitting on lined paper correctly until your child is comfortable forming them. If your child has to make every letter perfectly they will likely be reluctant to practice.

  • Strengthen your child's hand muscles and fine motor skills with non-traditional practice such as using play dough, stringing beads, or picking up items with tweezers.

  • Give your child plenty of opportunities to color and draw. You may want to print pictures from the computer on a topic of interest (such as Star Wars) if your child needs encouragement to color. Children sometimes don't want to draw because they don't know how. Model drawing objects with your child by breaking it into steps and having them duplicate them. You can draw on the same paper as your child or have your own. (First I am going to make a circle, next add some round petals, then a straight line for the stem, and I have a flower).Don't worry if you aren't a great artist because children are very supportive!

  • Let your child practice using scissors. Hold them with the thumb on top in the little circle and the other fingers on the bottom, point them out from your tummy, open and shut them like an alligator chomping the paper, when needed turn the paper not the scissors. If this is a new skill for your child start with cutting straight and wavy lines that you draw across a paper as well as simple shapes. Cut out pictures from old magazines.

Numbers and Counting

  • Practice counting orally when you have extra time like when walking down the sidewalk or completing tasks like filling a water jug.

  • Help your child build one to one correspondence between numbers and objects by actually moving objects as they count them. Put out the change in your pocket/purse and have your child sort them by size or color. Count how many are in each pile by moving them along the table or putting them in a small bowl. Count how many in all as they put them in a piggybank. Let your child help prepare their snack by counting out the appropriate amount into a bag (you can have 15 goldfish crackers).

  • Practice writing and identifying numbers using the same techniques described in the letter section.

  • Find numbers in your environment: TV channels, speed limit signs, house numbers, etc.

  • You are your child's first and most important teacher and I am confident that you are already preparing your child for both life and school. We will accept your child and teach them at whatever level they are beginning at when they enter Kindergarten. Every child grows and learns at an individual rate. They may have already mastered some of these skills and are developing others.
  • These activities are simply suggestions that may help your child feel better prepared. The more confident they are about their skills, the less apprehensive they will feel about staring school. Kindergarten is an exciting adventure and I am sure you will be amazed at all your child will learn and do throughout they year!

Is your child ready to enter

Kindergarten Next year?

Children mature and develop at different paces. Age alone is not the only consideration when determining if your child is ready for Kindergarten. The Gessell Institute researchers have found that many children who are labeled as "learning disabled" are actually capable students who are rushed into school too early. The Bank Street College of education professionals, in their book, Raising a Confident Child, suggest that once you have determined that your child is intellectually and physically ready for Kindergarten, you can consider the following developmental skills to assess his/her social-emotional maturity:

Consider enrolling your child in school if:

Social skills

  • Your child shares well with peers

  • Your child tries to make friends

  • Your child is able to accept others' ideas in play at least part of the time Your child shares well with peers

  • Your child can wait his/her turn

  • Your child can sit and attentively listen to stories

  • Your child is willing to try new things

Help your child listen to and follow directions. Give your child simple, explicit one or two step directions as

Consider enrolling your child in school if:

Independent skills

  • Your child can toilet him/herself

  • Your child can put on and remove clothing without adult help

  • Your child can stay with one activity for at least 15 minutes (other than TV or computer)

  • Your child enjoys working by him/herself as well as with others

Consider enrolling your child in school if:

Relating to adults

  • Your child is at ease with adults

  • Your child is able to leave you without excessive clinging

  • Your child listens to adults and follows directions

Your child may be too young if:

  • Your child is among the youngest in the class

  • Your child is not able to get along with peers

  • Your child speaks less often, less clearly, and seems to have a smaller vocabulary than peers

  • Your child does not demonstrate many of the independent skills listed above

If you do not believe that your child is ready, consider these options:

  • Enroll your child in an alternate program for this year and have him/her begin Kindergarten the following year

  • The Santee School District offers Transitional Kindergarten and Early Admittance to Kindergarten programs for children whose birthdays do not allow them to enroll in Kindergarten this year. If you strongly believe that you child is not ready to start traditional Kindergarten, you can contact the district to see if there is room for your child to be placed in one of these programs. They may have you enroll your child in Kindergarten initially and be placed on a waitlist to see if there is available space. These programs are mainly intended for children who miss the cut off date for K enrollment but they will fill any available spots with other students as space allows.

  • Preschool programs are available throughout the city. Our district offers Yale Preschool on our campus. These programs generally involve a fee.