Skills to Get Ready for Kindergarten

ASK THE EXPERTS by Dorothy Heitjan and Kristen DeVooght

Q: How can we as parents help our preschooler make a successful transition into kindergarten? 

A: It is vital in the preschool years to provide your child with the experiences that will build the foundation for later success in school. In order to help your child build this foundation, parents should provide:

A variety of hands on experiences. Dig in the dirt, cook, build, paint, and sculpt with your child. These types of activities foster curiosity, eye-hand coordination, spatial relationships, and vocabulary development.

Time to read. Make reading part of your daily life. This is important because it helps to build your child's vocabulary and ability to recognize words.

Singing and rhyming playtime. Sing with your child. Read nursery rhymes. Play rhyming games. Rhyming builds important phonemic awareness skills essential for reading.

Unstructured time to move and use the body. Play on the playground, jump, swing, and run. Using the body not only promotes the essential skill of body awareness which is needed for understanding right vs. left, but also understanding of prepositional concepts.

Toys that encourage imagination or thinking such as plain blocks, old clothes for dressing up. This is important for development of social language and imagination.

Socialization. Attend preschool, library story hour, or church where your child will learn and practice common social courtesies, such as turn taking, listening, and responding to a question.

Teach and practice the skills needed for a smooth transition:

  • Recite and recognize upper and lower case alphabet letters.
  • Count to 20 orally.
  • Count number of objects to 10.
  • Identify numerals to 12.
  • Write name.
  • Hold pencil correctly in 2 finger pinch grip.
  • Use upper and lower case letters.
  • Write letter from top down or from the c position. 

Limited screen time with the TV, computer, and hand held devices. Less time looking at a screen means more time engaging in real life interactions which teach a multitude of skills!

A good home routine with healthy meals and snacks. Establish a set bedtime. School is all about routines. Important for kindergarten and beyond! Kindergarten bridges preschool to elementary school. Your child moves from working one-on-one with parents and preschool staff to working together with peers in small and large groups with one teacher.

Expectations for kindergarten students have changed drastically in the last ten years. What used to be "first grade" skills are now taught in Kindergarten.

Incorporate the above tips into your daily routine. 

Save The Date

"Tips for Getting Ready for Kindergarten"

presented by The Family Center Wed. November 4, 2015, 7pm Christ Church of Grosse Pointe, 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd., Grosse Pointe Farms. Childcare and complimentary meal provided. Register in advance for these services.


Grosse Pointe Public School System presenters: Dorothy Heitjan, Early Childhood Program Teacher and Speech-Language Pathologist and Kristen DeVooght Speech-Language Pathologist. Register online at or contact The Family Center at 313.432.3832 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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