Kindergarten Guide to Success

~By Michelle Siegman, MSW, LCSW

The end of August is approaching, and for many parents of prospective kindergarteners, apprehension is rising by the day. They begin to watch their children for the smallest signs of possible failure. Before you race to a tutor to drill your children on their numbers or alphabet, however, you need insight into what skills most schools are looking for.

Here are some of the questions that kindergarten educators and specialists ask themselves about your beautiful little boy or girl to gain a fuller understanding of your child’s development.

  1. Does your child hold his or her pencil or marker properly?
  2. Is he or she able to cut with scissors along drawn lines?
  3. Can he or she recognize the colors of the rainbow?
  4. Is your child able to spell and write his or her own name?
  5. How does your child sit on the floor during story time?
  6. Is he or she a social butterfly, a shy bookworm, or disruptive during free time?
  7. Does your child follow the teacher’s directions or make up his or her own rules to follow?
  8. Can he or she clap to a given beat?
  9. Does your child stutter or stumble over certain words and letters?
  10. When provided with common scenarios, such as when mom cooks something “yucky” or a classmate takes one of his or her possessions, what does the child offer as a solution?

If your child has difficulty with some of the above actions, don’t panic. Rest assured that no school will ever stamp a child as being dull or unintelligent if he or she doesn’t cut in a straight line. Your child still has a very good chance of getting into your favored private or charter school even without passing all of these hurdles.

The answers to these questions are often used to determine class placement and guide future parent-school discussions as well as admission. If specialists notice a red flag, they’ll be more than willing to give you tips on how to resolve challenges your child might be having with certain skills. Kids can overcome the majority of minor lags in the aforementioned areas within a short period of time with the appropriate assistance. It is the unwillingness to listen to educators’ suggestions that may prevent your child from entering a certain school. Demonstrating a positive parent-school partnership is always essential.

When scouting out kindergartens, keep in mind that the best schools provide not only academic stimulation for students but also give them time to make new friends and exercise. A well-rounded, healthy child is one whose parents and school give him or her all possible means for self-expression.

If you have further questions or seek additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send an email.

About Michelle Siegman

Michelle is a Chicago-based Licensed Clinical Therapist with expertise in the areas of building social skills, bullying prevention, and implementing behavioral plans. Her eight years in the school system have provided her with an inside track and unique perspective of the academic environment. You can contact Michelle directly at (312) 259-5844.


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