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Oregon Family Magazine

Kindergarten Readiness and Early Learning

02/01/2020 ● By Sandy Kauten
Kindergarten is an exciting time for everyone in the family. It’s a child’s first experience spending most of the day outside of home or childcare, surrounded by children who are about the same age, learning from a teacher who’s not their parent.

The whole process can also be a little scary. But in anticipation of this new school experience, there’s a lot that parents can do to ready their child for the start of kindergarten – and feel ready for the transition themselves.

Students come to kindergarten with a variety of experience and skill levels, and parents can help their children to be prepared by teaching them about social skills and the foundations of future learning. At the kindergarten level, students will be learning a number of things including:

Good school habits like how to sit still, listen quietly, raise hands and respect boundaries.

How to work, play and share in large and small groups. Following simple directions and solve problems. Building reading and writing skills. Basic counting skills and understanding math as a concept through hands-on learning. The world around them, through science and social studies. How to express themselves through oral communication, writing, art, music and physical activities. And more...

Here’s a few ways you can help your student prepare for kindergarten – at home!

Early Literacy & Reading

Play games with letters, sounds and rhymes to work on the syllables and learn names and sounds to eventually read simple words. Reading with your child – in their home language – and discussing the pictures and storylines of a book can help them to understand overall concepts.


Basic skills, concepts and problem-solving Practice counting by ones and tens and use everyday objects to count and sort. Identify shapes in and compare them with and to one another. Help your child learn about numbers and number concepts as well as use addition and subtraction by making comparison of numbers, shapes and objects.


Using the five senses, exploring Explore science at home and outside by talking about plants and animals and what they need to grow. Encourage curiosity and asking questions.

Art, Music and Physical Education

Art, stories, songs and dancing as well as history and culture can help young students understand different parts of the world and find hobbies that they like. Activities like coloring, playing physical games can help children explore creativity and self-expression as well as gain basic knowledge about the world around them.

Tips for Families and Parents of Kindergarten Students

Develop routines that emphasize rest, nutrition and outside playtime and limited electronics.

Teach your child about staying healthy by covering their cough, washing hands and not sharing drinks.

Encourage your child to be increasingly responsible and independent about grooming, getting dressed and cleaning up.

Read at home in your home language; don’t be afraid to pick up chapter books or books that are at a higher reading level than the typical picture book.

Have lots of conversations and provide opportunities for students to ask and answer questions.

Help your child learn to write their name correctly.

Provide opportunities for your child to socialize.

Jenna McCulley is the Community Engagement Officer for Springfield School District, in Springfield, Oregon.