School readiness factors

Determining if your child is ready for school involves more than just academic and social-emotional abilities.

Kindergarten Round-Up’s are fast approaching and many parents may not be aware of what to expect. Most parents are wondering about their children’s academic performance such as being able to count and recite the alphabet. Children who are, or will be, five years old by December 31 are technically old enough to start school. Age is not the only determining factor to gage school readiness however. A child’s social-emotional development is now part of the formula to decide if a child is ready.

Some of these social-emotional developmental factors that schools use to determine if your child is ready for kindergarten are:

  • Ability to follow directions
  • Ability to focus attention
  • Ability to take turns
  • Ability to control oneself
  • Ability to solve problems using words rather than through aggression
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to work in a group
  • Age appropriate social-skills and ability to make friends
  • Communication skills with other children and adults

The best way parents can prepare their children socially and emotionally for Kindergarten is to offer their toddlers opportunities to play with other children the same age. Children learn important social-emotional skills when they have to solve problems that arise in play with others their same age.

Parents interested in knowing more about school readiness are encouraged to contact the school of their choice to ask questions and, more importantly, get involved with the school parent-teacher organization. For more information, visit the school readiness checklist from Penn State University Extension Better Kidcare.Visit the Michigan Department of Education parent resources site for more school readiness information and other helpful education-related topics for families.

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