Grandparent Discoveries Blog

What is “Kindergarten Ready”?

Cheryl Beaudoin

As we approach the end of summer many families are beginning to think about back to school. Parents of incoming Kindergarteners may wonder how they can have their child ready for this exciting and possibly scary milestone year—and we grandparents may wonder how we can help.

Some people think that incoming Kindergarten students should know their ABCs, how to count to high numbers, and be writing. I disagree.

When I was teaching I found that children who had basic self-help skills, confidence, were comfortable playing with peers, and understood how to share were best positioned for success in Kindergarten.

Basic self-help skills can help them in the classroom in part because they build confidence, and also because it can take awhile for the few adults in the room to help each child who needs it—your grand can have more time for snack or lunch, or to get outside for recess, if they can do some of these things on their own:

  • open their snacks and lunch
  • pack and unpack their backpacks
  • take care of their bathroom needs
  • put on their outer layers, including boots and snow pants
  • follow directions

These are all skills that we grandparents can help work on when with our grands. Playing board games together teaches taking turns. Helping with chores, opening their own snacks, following directions in a recipe, putting on their own coats and shoes all build self-reliance and confidence. (Sometimes it feels easier to give them lots of assistance! But try to let them attempt things themselves—jump in to help if they do get frustrated, but try again the next time to let them take the lead.)

Kindergarten is a place where children learn through playing together. Children who are comfortable playing with their peers and are able to share and take turns will have an easier time adjusting. We grandparents can consider hosting playdates with friends or cousins to help work on those skills.

When children are confident in these basic skills, they will be more open and available to learning. We want our grands to be comfortable in Kindergarten and these are ways we can help them shine in the classroom!

The photo included in this blog post is from my classroom a few Augusts ago as I was preparing for my new students. It was always so exciting to welcome all the incoming Kindergartners—it is such a magical and special year!

What have your grandchildren been excited about when entering Kindergarten? What are some activities you do with your grandchildren that could strengthen their self-help skills? What skills do you think are important as our grandchildren go off to Kindergarten? I'd love to hear from you—please comment below or email me at gpdiscoveries@gmail.com.

Cheryl Beaudoin

Hi, I’m Cheryl: grandmother, retired Kindergarten teacher, longtime friend (and current Board member) of the Discovery Museum—and now, blogger!  As a grandparent, I try to apply what I learned as a teacher about children and their development to strengthen my relationships with my grandchildren and bring them joy. My hope for this blog is to engage with other grandparents in the Museum community to collect and share stories and ideas about the joys—and challenges—of grandparenting, and how we can connect and deepen our relationships with our grandchildren. Please join me in this wonderful journey we are on—I look forward to hearing from you! Use the comment box at the bottom of any blog post or email me at gpdiscoveries@gmail.com.

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