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Articles : Parenting and Bonding
Kindergarten Readiness: Back to Articles
by Lauren Feder, M.D.

My daughter is currently applying for kindergarten at several private schools. What are the teachers looking for during the interviews?

Applying for kindergarten can be very stressful for both children and their parents. According to St. Brendan School principle Sister Marta Ann Cota, "The interview process allows teachers to evaluate whether the child is ready for kindergarten." When I went for my son Quentin's kindergarten interview, Sister Marta Ann provided us with guidelines for kindergarten readiness.

Is Your Child Ready for School?
from the Gesell Institute

It is advisable to consider the child's behavior age, rather than the birthday when determining school readiness. The following are some signs of developmental readiness that may be observed in children before entering kindergarten:

  • Being comfortable away from parents for several hours.
  • Having the ability to express ideas and feelings to adults other than parents.
  • Taking care of toileting needs independently.
  • Hanging up sweaters, jackets, hats without help.
  • Naming most of the parts of the body.
  • Being able to retell familiar stories, nursery rhymes, or songs.
  • Listening to and following directions.
  • Finding ways to resolve conflicts with peers independently.
  • Being able to work independently without constant adult supervision.
  • Joining with a group of other children in listening to a short story.
  • Stating name and age to the teacher.
  • Making simple decisions given a few choices of play activities.
  • Taking care of personal belongings.
  • Using a pencil or crayon with a relaxed and controlled grasp.
  • Repeating a series of four numbers without practice.
  • Identifying the primary colors.
  • Draw simple recognizable drawings.
Readiness is largely a matter of growth, and it is not recommended that you try to speed up the process. Often, the issue involved is TIME, not ability. Many schools offer pre-k options, allowing for a year to grow. If not two years in kindergarten can often be highly beneficial.

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