When children are eligible to enter kindergarten, they often are given an assessment to determine their readiness. This assessment is typically given one-on-one or done through observation or survey questions for parents. In preparing for this assessment, it's helpful for parents to assess their child's skill level in different areas and work with their child on skills they seem to lack.
Socialization is a big part of kindergarten. Children will learn to work with others towards a common purpose, take direction from authority figures and solve problems with peers on their own. An assessment for kindergarten will typically include how children interact with peers and adults. Children should be able to play simple games by taking turns with peers. They should take directions from adults. Their assertiveness may also be assessed, such as if they easily step into leadership roles with peers. Help prepare them by playing simple games together, giving them opportunities to choose activities and insisting they follow your instructions.
A kindergarten assessment will typically assess maturity. Children should be able to sit and focus on an activity for at least 10 minutes. Children should be able to manage self-care needs such as using the bathroom alone, including fixing their clothes. They should be able to separate from parents and join into activities with other adults and children. Other skills that may be assessed are zipping jackets and tying shoes. Practice these self-help skills without always doing them for the child.
In preparing for a cognitive assessment, encourage children to follow two- or three-step instructions. For example, ask the child to put a book back on the shelf and bring you a piece of paper. Practice sorting things around the house such as laundry or crayons. Have the child explain why things belong in each group. You can also practice counting, emphasizing counting each item one time. Emphasize position words such as below/above and next to/under in everyday activities.
Children will be assessed on their knowledge of basic literacy skills such as letter names and sounds. You can begin practicing these to prepare them. Children should practice writing their names with proper capitalization. Be sure to spend time reading stories to them and asking questions about what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story. A child's ability to communicate will be assessed. Encourage children to speak in complete sentences, ask questions and describe the events of their day.
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