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Is My Child Ready for School?

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What does a kindergarten program expect?

Although the list below is helpful in assessing your child’s skills, it’s not a checklist for success or failure. By knowing our children’s strengths and mastered skills and the opinions of their teachers and pediatricians, we are better equipped to decide when our children should begin school. The list below includes minimum expectations of a typical school:


  • Separates easily from parent
  • Interacts well with other children
  • Takes turns
  • Shares
  • Speaks clearly in complete sentences
  • Says full name
  • Tells age
  • Toilet trained
  • Puts on and removes outerwear with little or no help
  • Manipulates snaps, buttons, and zippers on clothing
  • Follows sequenced directions with two or three steps
  • Listens carefully and obeys the teacher
  • Listens to a story in a group for 10–15 minutes
  • Focuses on an activity independently for 10–15 minutes
  • Works cooperatively in a small group
  • Functions effectively in a large group
  • Recognizes and names primary colors
  • Uses crayons and markers
  • Writes first name
  • Uses scissors
  • Counts most numerals up to 10
  • Recognizes many letters of the alphabet



The best advice is to take a tour of the schools that your child may attend or go to a kindergarten open house. In addition, talk to parents who have children attending the school. For additional resources about school readiness, please visit Bright Horizons’ Ready for School Web site.

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