Is my child ready for kindergarten?

Is my child ready for kindergarten?  This is a question that is often asked along with the question how can I prepare my child for kindergarten?  Personally, I love all the enthusiasm around preparing for kindergarten!  When a child is ready for kindergarten, they are ready to take on the world of learning.  One thing I want to emphasize again, do not rush to starting kindergarten. I am a big fan of redshirting (holding back your child before beginning kindergarten).  As I explain in this article, a child may be ready academically to begin kindergarten, but are they ready for the social and emotional aspects of kindergarten?  It is okay to let your children play and grow more before beginning kindergarten!

Is my child ready for kindergarten. Kindergarten Readiness checklist included.

Is my child ready for kindergarten?  Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

  • Is eager to learn/asks questions
  • Follows established routines and rules
  • Plays well with others/shares/takes turns
  • Ask for help when needed
  • Likes to pretend play
  • Listens and follows directions.
  • Can hear a story and retell it back to you or can retell experiences back to you.
  • Can sit and listen to books with out too much squirming
  • Can hold a pencil and write letters or draw pictures
  • Knows the alphabet:  upper and lower case letters
  • Knows colors
  • Knows shapes
  • Knows big vs. little
  • Can sort into colors, shapes, sizes or put them in a pattern or order
  • Can count to 20
  • Can run, skip, jump, throw a ball
  • Can use scissors and cut on a line
  • Can write his name
  • Can use the bathroom by himself/with little assistance
  • Is ready to read.  
    •  Able to repeat a sentence.
    • Knows letter names and sounds of upper case and lower case letters
    • Recognizes the numbers 1-10
    • Knows his name.
    • Knows his address and telephone number
    • Knows opposites
    • Knows colors
    • Knows Rhyming
    • Able to trace over lines
    • Able to use a scissors and cut.
    • Able to retell a story.
    • Able to write his name.
    • Holds a book correctly.
    • Follows Text from left to right.

When it comes down to it, only you know in your heart and gut whether your child is ready to start kindergarten.  For me, I always err on the side of caution.  I want to make sure my child is confident and ready to learn because I can always challenge him if he begins to feel bored.  It think too infrequently the social/emotional side is overlooked.  When a child begins to struggle, they lose confidence and when they lose confidence they don’t like what they are learning and they do not want to learn anymore. A child needs to be emotionally ready to handle anything that may happen.  This may happen in kindergarten or years down the road.   One way you can test if your child is kindergarten ready is to start them on our learn to read free program.  If your child learns easily and eagerly, this is certainly a good start to get them prepared for their year ahead!  Do you have any thoughts on sending a child too soon or too late to kindergarten?

If you liked this post, you will also like:
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Kindergarten Teaching Ideas

Reading Resources Bundle
Teach and reinforce letters and sight words with this AMAZING bundle!
25 Days to Reading Success: Read at a first-grade level in 25 days
Read at a first-grade level in just 25 days!
Handwriting Patch Curriculum
Teach a child handwriting AND drawing using our handwriting curriculum.

Madreen Karle is a master first grade reading teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. She taught reading in a special needs and English as a Second Language classroom. After retiring she wrote a reading program to help others learn how to teach reading. She is a trusted educator and author of 5 books to help teach children to read and write. In addition to her books, she is a mentor for 3 websites that give reading teacher tips (Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound ReadingMrs. Karle’s Reading Patch, and Mrs. Karle’s Handwriting Patch). Through her teaching she learned that confidence was the key to learning to read. A child who is not confident at reading does not like to read and struggles to read. Mrs. Karle created “sunshine moments” to help teach children how to grow their confidence and learn to read.
Meeghan Karle Mousaw (Madreen’s daughter) has her Master’s in Special Education. She has 8 years experience teaching children to read online. In addition, she developed a curriculum to teach children handwriting called The Handwriting Patch. With the Handwriting Patch learning is fun because children learn to draw and learn handwriting at the same time. In 2019 The Handwriting Patch curriculum became an amazon best seller the first year it was released, helping thousands of kids learn handwriting with a unique, fun method. She is mom to 6 kids, each with differently learning abilities and struggles.
The Reading Patch was established by the creators of Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading. Together they have been featured on the NBC media outlets and Parents Magazine online. Over the last 8 years in their online platform, Madreen and Meeghan have worked tirelessly with teachers, homeschoolers and parents looking to help children learn to read to become a trusted authority in teaching children to read and advocating early literacy skills. They often partner with other educational experts to deliver the most current information to the Reading Patch community.


  1. Stickers Kate says:

    I am interested to know how you came up with this list. I’m a K teacher in Australia and my ideas about school readiness are quite different. Personally, I think that if you’re expecting a child to know their address, telephone number, letter names and sounds, etc. they should be able to toilet independently, not “by himself/ with little assistance”.
    My job is to teach the children how to read, not how to wipe their butts.
    Is your list based on a departmental recommendation? I would be grateful for any feedback.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I came up with the list based on what I know children are asked in preschool before going into kindergarten and also what fine and gross motor things they generally do/don’t need assistance on. I know for instance, it is not expected that they tie their shoes..(although it would be great if they could!). We usually ask that they wear velcro shoes so even if they can tie it, it just makes it much easier when they are changing into boots to go outside in winter. In terms of potty training, it is just extra needed help with a zipper or button/snap or maybe some help tucking in their shirt. (My own children go to private school where they need to tuck their shirts and this can be hard for them). More help with the “fine motor” of getting dressed after going to the bathroom. Hope this helps. 🙂

  2. Which country are you from? Because for me this list is crazy. I taught kg for 6 years. I am a primary teacher now teaching grades 1 and 2. To enter into kindergarten children should be able to communicate their needs and wants, be able to independently go to the toilet, to eat independently. Everything else will be learnt in kg and grade 1. This list should say is my child ready for grade 2. Any preschool expecting all this from children is pushing the fun out of learning and these children will hate School.

    1. We are in the United States. I just went through and read the list again and I would not change it. I have a preschooler now and he has been prepared to do all of these things. He definitely has fun at school and enjoys/loves learning…but, to me this seems like a good list of what is expected. Do you have one for your country? It would be neat to compare.

  3. i teach K in a Title 1 public school in central California. My students don’t usually come in knowing letters, sounds, numbers, counting, or how to hold a pencil. They can’t sit still and listen! But I know many other schools in higher income areas where your list is accurate! It just depends on the parents abilities to get their children ready for K. Many don’t speak English. Many haven’t graduated from high school. My job gets harder each year!

    1. Yes, such a good point! I know my mom (Mrs. Karle) taught the same population that you teach – and most of her students came unable to speak English, etc. I think it is definitely all relative. The important thing is that they come ready to learn! It is our goal to hopefully reach the populations you teach (either through our site, or through the teachers), to hopefully be able to help lower income areas and help those kids graduate from high school and beyond… Please let us know if we can help you in any way!

  4. Alice Carroll says:

    You made a good point that inquisitiveness is a good sign that my child is ready to go to school since it’s all about learning after all. I hope I can find a kindergarten close enough from home. I’m currently trying to save on fuel costs on my car so the less I drive to and from her school, the better.

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