Kindergarten Readiness: Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

In many states, a child's kindergarten readiness must be assessed by a teacher before he can be admitted to school. Although kindergarten is not mandatory in all states, if your child has never been in preschool, it provides an excellent introduction to the school environment.

Once you've read this article, you'll have a good idea about what teachers look for in a kindergarten screening. While the screening tests are comprehensive, parents may opt to hold back their child for reasons known only to the family. For instance, if your child seems to lack coping skills, you may want to hold him back and work with him. Parents hold boys back more often than girls.

The Early Kindergarten Inventory is a tool that determines kindergarten readiness.

Although there are differences among counties and states, many schools use a measure called the Early Kindergarten InventoryTM to determine a child's readiness for school. The test is designed to measure various skills in children from 4 1/2 to 6 years of age.

Keeping in mind that your school may or may not use this particular test, I will describe the four sections it contains. Although it may be challenging for certain children, most kids seem to think it's pretty fun. The following will give you some idea of what teachers are looking for:

The first section of the kindergarten screening looks at visual-motor/adapative skills. In this test, the teacher gives the child some blocks and keeps a set of her own. The teacher builds a structure and asks the child to build one like hers. Next the teacher draws a simple symbol on paper and asks the child to copy it. The child is asked to draw a person. The child's memory is tested using picture cards.

The second section of the kindergarten readiness screening tool looks at language and cognition. The child is asked to count some blocks out loud. Next the child is given an object and is asked to describe it in terms of name, shape, color and use. The child's verbal reasoning is tested through a series of sentences in which he likens one thing to another by filling in the blank. Although this is not a question on the kindergarten readiness screen, an example is: A dog barks, a cat ______. Next the child is asked to repeat aseries of digits that have been read to him (in my son's test, there were three digits at the most).

The third section of the kindergarten readiness test measures gross motor skills. The teacher determines if the child can balance, hop and skip.

In the fourth section of the kindergarten readiness test the teacher makes notes about the child's language skills and indicates if there are any speech concerns.

The points are totalled and if the child receives enough points for his age group, he is admitted. If he does not, he is rescreened, most likely, at another date.

When administered by a kind, engaging teacher, the kindergarten readiness screening test is a positive and fun experience. In addition, it allows the child to interact with the teacher before kindergarten starts.

While I don't recommend you quiz your child or pressure him in any way to pass the kindergarten screening test, this article will give you a good idea of what teachers are looking at in terms of child development and how they determine your child's kindergarten readiness.

All Worldwide Rights Reserved. This article may not be copied in full or in part without the express written consent of the author. Laura Ramirez is the author and publisher of Family Matters Online Parenting Magazine and Parenting Child Development.

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