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Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Jamie is a former kindergarten/pre-k teacher and is currently a preschool teacher.


Let's get right down to brass tacks. I want to talk about a lot of different aspects of Kindergarten readiness, but I'm first going to start with what you can do to get your child ready.

After I go into that, I'll talk about what they will actually learn when they are there, and what we—as parents—are going to do with ourselves while our children are away at school all day. I also want to go into what we've already done to enroll and register our daughter in Kindergarten.

Here's my daughter and me walking over to the administrative building to enroll in kindergarten.

Here's my daughter and me walking over to the administrative building to enroll in kindergarten.

Full-Day or Half-Day?

There are several great things you can do to get ready for Kindergarten. Do you know if your child's school offers half-day or full-day Kindergarten? If given a choice, do you know which option you will go for? My daughter's school is full-day only, and even though I kind of wish it was part-day since I'm lucky enough to be at home right now, we don't have an option. SO:

Prepare for Full-Day Kindergarten

It will definitely be an adjustment for your child to be away from you, and in a classroom for about 6 hours a day doing a lot of work throughout their time there. Talk to your child about this so he or she will know what to expect.

Play "School"

Kids learn very well through play. You can use role-playing to get your child used to what school will be like, and you can use this to give your child tools to speak up for what they may need while they're there.

Getting Your Child Socially Ready for Kindergarten

My number one concern about preschool is the social aspect. My daughter is very very shy, and I just really want her to have friends, and talk to other kids while she's there. Here's what I've been working on to help her with that.

Is Your Child in Preschool?

This is something you can look into to ease your child into formal schooling. Preschool is definitely a half step towards Kindergarten. Here, they get used to socializing with their peers as well as being away from mom and dad.

Our child is not in preschool, and that's not an option for us right now. Though she was in a daycare center from ages 1-3, she's not now. Instead, we have been putting her in gymnastics class, and we're planning on putting her in a preschool program at the rec center over the summer.

You can also inquire at your library! I recently discovered a Toddler Class and a Preschool Playtime class. During these hour periods, my kids get to play and socialize with other children, and that is awesome.

I did this great "word walk" activity with my daughter.

I did this great "word walk" activity with my daughter.

Getting Your Child Academically Ready for Kindergarten

My daughter, Cupcakes, and I have been working on academics for years. As parents, we start teaching our children when we start speaking and reading to them. I read to my kids whenever I can, and try to whenever they ask.

We've Been Working On:

  • math concepts
  • science lessons
  • letters & phonics
  • beginning reading

I'm currently teaching her to write the lowercase letters and to write her name in the conventional First-letter-capital-other-letters-lowercase way. That's how they'll want her to write her name in Kindergarten. She's even able to sound out small words and has started memorizing a few sight words. We put a Word Wall on the back of our door so she can see them and practice on a daily basis.

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It's a fair point to say that busy work is pointless, but I find true value in workbooks, as long as they're not overdone. In Kindergarten, our five-year-olds will be doing worksheets and practicing concepts in workbooks. Therefore, if we practice this with our children at home, it will achieve two things:

  1. They will get used to this type of work.
  2. They will get good practice with the concepts they're learning.

With concepts like letter sounds, shapes, numbers, etc, the name of the game is PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. So, practice at home! One way to do this is to utilize workbooks. You can find them at Target sometimes for $1 and I've seen good ones at the dollar stores as well.


Have you heard of the website StarFall? It's used by parents and educators alike, and it's excellent. It's a fun and interactive way for our children to learn and practice reading and math concepts. Much of the site is free, but I know there are a few perks to having a premium account. Whichever you'd like to do, I recommend trying it out. My daughter loves it.


Does your little one have one of those LeapPad Explorers? My daughter has had one since she was three years old and has never lost interest in it. Over the years, she's been gifted different educational games that she can play on it, and not only does she love them, but they truly have helped her learn. She has a My Little Pony alphabet/reading game, and a Little Mermaid mathematics game. In addition to those purchased games, the LeapPad comes with several educational and creative games that are awesome. My daughter also discovered a little phonics video on there too that she likes to watch.

What Can You Expect from Kindergarten?

Teaching Standards vary state-to-state. Different districts or schools focus on different topics. Different teachers have different ways of teaching. This hub is not a black-and-white "here is what your child WILL learn this year" article, but I can share my experience. Here are some things I can tell you about what I taught my students when I taught Kindergarten:


The first semester was focused on letters and their sounds. They practiced writing the letters as they learned what sounds each make.

Then, during the second semester, they started to learn how to break down words and put the sounds together to read. We learned new sight words each week to help.


During the first semester, we worked on concepts such as: patterns, numbers, shapes (including 3D shapes), counting, measurement (blocks, bigger/smaller, more/less, etc)

Towards the middle of the second semester, we started learning addition and subtraction, as well as estimation.

Science & Social Studies

The stand-out concepts here were Our Families, Where We Live, The 5 Senses, What We Experience in Nature, Transportation, Weather, Sorting and Classification,

Our Kindergarten Experience So Far

Like I said in my picture above, Cupcakes and I just went to get her enrolled. Enrollment was pretty easy. We just had to go to the district building and fill out some paperwork. They asked the basics, and which languages are spoken at home. We proved our residency with pieces of mail. They gave Cupcakes a coloring book with information for her, and a packet of information for me.

My packet included a letter, a school calendar, a school supply list, and the various forms we will need to get filled out by Registration Day: physical exam, dental exam, and vision exam.

Finally, they gave me her Student ID Number, and told me it would be a good idea for both Cupcakes and me to memorize it! It's a 6-digit number, and I'm sure that will be very different district-to-district, state-to-state. I'm pretty surprised about this, but Cupcakes is already doing a great job memorizing it! I've got it down and I've written it in a few places in my planner.

Registration Day

is different and will happen shortly before school starts in the summer. On this day, I'm told we will get to tour the school and meet the teacher. We'll also have to pay a $210 registration fee, so I'll start saving for that now! I have a feeling Registration Day will be much more exciting (and emotional?) than Enrollment Day.

Oh Boy...

Parents, also, need to get used to being without their Kindergarten child for most of the day.

Parents, also, need to get used to being without their Kindergarten child for most of the day.

What Will We Parents Do While Our Kids are at School?

I honestly don't know what to expect here. I guess I'll spend my days chasing this crazy guy, and missing my daughter. I'll look forward to picking her up each day and hearing all about what she did. I'm hoping to be able to get her to tell me just ONE thing about her day. Too often, kids get home from school, and when asked "What did you do today?", respond, "I don't know" or "nothing." Join me in encouraging our kids to give us just ONE real answer. They can do it!

Do you have little ones who just entered the school system? Please tell me about it in the comments below!

© 2016 Jamie Jensen

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