It is very interesting to note that in Arizona it is not mandatory to attend kindergarten. However, there are state standards that are required to be taught in kindergarten. Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards are very rigorous. There are many things that can be done to help preschoolers prepare for kindergarten.
Practice counting aloud with a preschooler is very beneficial. Being able to count a group of objects with a 1-1 correspondence is another useful skill. If the preschooler is able to count to ten on his/her own he/she will be well prepared. However, the higher he/she can count before entering kindergarten the better prepared he/she will be.
Another beneficial skill preschoolers should know before entering kindergarten the ability to identify colors and shapes. Another skill is to identify and create simple patterns (ABABAB or ABBABBABBA or ABCABCABC). The ability to hold a book correctly and know which direction to turn the pages and knowing how to correctly track the words on the pages is helpful (not necessarily reading but knowing that when reading the words go from left to right starting at the top and moving down).
Before entering kindergarten it is helpful for the preschooler to know all or most of the 26 letters of the alphabet in upper and lower case forms. Knowing some or most of the basic sounds each letter makes also helps the preschooler be better prepared.
Helping preschoolers write numbers (0-10)and letters correctly (no reversals/backward letters) is another helpful skill for him/her to know before attending kindergarten. Another writing skill that would help preschoolers be successful in kindergarten is the ability to write their first (and last) name using only lower case letters, except using an upper case letter in the beginning.
Exposing a preschooler to social situations is helpful. This can be done by simply playing with other children. This gives children opportunities to practice sharing and taking turns. Attending a preschool can also help the child gain social experiences as wells as some of the academic skills needed to be prepared for kindergarten.
The rigorous skills demanded of kindergarteners is very high. Working with preschoolers to prepare them for kindergarten is a lot of work. However, the more effort a parent puts into helping teach his/her child, the more rewarding an educational experience the child will have once he/she begins school.
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