What are the pre-requisites for kindergarten? — The Bump
Pre-School

What are the pre-requisites for kindergarten?

I know every district is different, but what are the general pre-requisites to entering kindergarten where you live?

My mom swears that we had to tie our shoes before kindergarten--but then added that velcro wasn't really around then.  I've never heard of that for the kids nowadays.  Another friend of mine who teaches pre-k says in her district the kids must know the 20 sight words.  I'm not even sure what they are!  Eeek.

Re: What are the pre-requisites for kindergarten?

  • The only prereq in my board is that the child must be old enough to attend.
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  • imageridesbuttons:
    The only prereq in my board is that the child must be old enough to attend.

    Ditto 

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  • Yeah I don't think there can be pre-reqs. Education is compulsory at age 5 and federal law mandates that every child is provided a free and appropriate education.  What does "know 20 sight words" mean, anyway?  Receptively, expressively? In English? That just doesn't sound right, legal or even manageable.  Who pays for those assessments?  If they forget one are they kicked out?

      We live in one of the wealthier districts in our states and yet there is an extremely high rate of non-english speaking students, low income students who may not have the opportunity to attend pre-k.  I could be wrong but common sense and a deep understanding of the bureaucracy of school systems and unions, I'm going to say that there are no requirements aside from age and immunization. 

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  • I taught kindergarten for 5 years so I can tell you what I want my kids to know before they enter it.  This would be more of a minimum that kids had and did well with.

    -Identify all capital letters and most of the lowercase letters.

    -Know the sounds of about 1/2 the letters

    -Know several print concepts- you can probably google this, but in our county it's things like "Where is the title?  Where is the front of the book?  Do we read right to left or L to R?"  "Where do you go at the end of the line?  (to the next line on the left)  Find a ? and !

    Know how to name and recognize rhyming words (other phonemic awareness skills are also good- you can google)

    Be able to count to 20.  Identify numbers up to 10 (when seen in writing)

    Know colors and basic shapes

    When it comes to personal skills, I think it  should be a requirement for kids to tie their shoes. I always thought it was a little ridiculous that there were so many kids whose parents hadn't bothered to teach them. It seemed like pure laziness.  I can understand them occasionally needing help, but most were completely clueless. Also I think your kid should be able to undress, use the potty, wipe, and wash hands without help. Another pet peeve- having to wipe the butt of a 6 year old. Yuck.

    I disagree with the 20 sight words. I think that's optional. It would be nice if they knew a few, but I think your kid can go in knowing zero and do just fine. Oh, sight words are words that are frequently found in books. Some that come to mind are "the, and, a, to, me, I, at," etc.

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  • imageNewFamily09:

    I taught kindergarten for 5 years so I can tell you what I want my kids to know before they enter it.  This would be more of a minimum that kids had and did well with.

    -Identify all capital letters and most of the lowercase letters.

    -Know the sounds of about 1/2 the letters

    -Know several print concepts- you can probably google this, but in our county it's things like "Where is the title?  Where is the front of the book?  Do we read right to left or L to R?"  "Where do you go at the end of the line?  (to the next line on the left)  Find a ? and !

    Know how to name and recognize rhyming words (other phonemic awareness skills are also good- you can google)

    Be able to count to 20.  Identify numbers up to 10 (when seen in writing)

    Know colors and basic shapes

    When it comes to personal skills, I think it  should be a requirement for kids to tie their shoes. I always thought it was a little ridiculous that there were so many kids whose parents hadn't bothered to teach them. It seemed like pure laziness.  I can understand them occasionally needing help, but most were completely clueless. Also I think your kid should be able to undress, use the potty, wipe, and wash hands without help. Another pet peeve- having to wipe the butt of a 6 year old. Yuck.

    I disagree with the 20 sight words. I think that's optional. It would be nice if they knew a few, but I think your kid can go in knowing zero and do just fine. Oh, sight words are words that are frequently found in books. Some that come to mind are "the, and, a, to, me, I, at," etc.

    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make these sound like requirements.  They are just suggestions if you want your kid to have an easy year.   In our state at least, nothing is required except that the kid have immunizations and be the right age. There aren't any academic requirements.

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  • imagebrightning:

    imageridesbuttons:
    The only prereq in my board is that the child must be old enough to attend.

    Ditto 

    This.  My school/district does a play based screening, but that's about it.

    We ask about colors, numbers, letters, cutting, shapes, etc and have them try to write their name.  We do some gross motor stuff--jump on 1 leg, catch a ball.  We look to see how they transition from mom/dad, how they sit and listen to a story, how they transition (or don't) from activity to activity, listen to directions, etc.  This is all done in maybe 1-1.5 hours. 

     

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  • My SIL was going crazy freaking out that her daughter was going to fall behind (which is annoying in itself because the kid is wicked smart) anyway, she keeps saying, "kids HAVE to know ___ before K" And "the requirements for K changed!"

    NO THEY HAVEN'T. The curriculum may have... so if you want your kid to not fall behind/have a good head start maybe there are a few things to work on. But your child WILL get into K. I PROMISE!

  • I have a clear recollection of my kindy screening that took place in the early 70s.  My dad took me.  He sat on a wooden chair in a room that had a tile floor.  There were windows behind him.

    A lady asked me all kinds of questions.  Mostly easy questions.  But I didn't know what a 'hedge' was.

    After we left, my dad drove to a house that had a hedge around it.

    It's frankly one of my earliest, detailed memories.

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  • I was told that at the end of preK my son was expected to recognize four letters. So I am guessing the K class has a similar expectation for kids coming in. Sad huh?

     

    I taught first grade for years and teaching early ed my thoughts are that kids should know most if not all letters when they enter K, a few sounds are great. They should be able to recognize and write their first name and recognize their last name. They should have able to count to 20 and manipulate numbers 1-10 (find 4, add 1, put 2 and 2 together). 

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  • imageNewFamily09:


    When it comes to personal skills, I think it  should be a requirement for kids to tie their shoes. I always thought it was a little ridiculous that there were so many kids whose parents hadn't bothered to teach them. It seemed like pure laziness.  I can understand them occasionally needing help, but most were completely clueless. Also I think your kid should be able to undress, use the potty, wipe, and wash hands without help. Another pet peeve- having to wipe the butt of a 6 year old. Yuck.


    My second grader can tie her shoes but often makes a mess of it.  She still requires help half the time.  Its not that I haven't tried...in fact, we do shoe tying university around her with my PreK & her.    


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  • imageridesbuttons:
    The only prereq in my board is that the child must be old enough to attend.

    This.  I work in a school with a high ESL there is a large gap between the lowest and highest performers.  Also, our school is inclusion and classes often include an array of special needs.   


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  • imagefredalina:
    Just kind of a funny story. My coworker has three girls and her youngest is quite a handful. Sadly she reminds me a lot of my daughter... Anyway, when she was almost ready for K she had a normal routine prekindergarten screening. She got... a zero. Not one question. She refused to answer, or answered wrong on purpose. She has a genius IQ, by the way. She just doesn't play ball. She still got to go to kindergarten that year. I'm sure her teacher was thrilled lol.

     Haha! This reminds me of DS, who has "failed" every developmental screen at his well visits because he either refused to answer or answered wrong on purpose (or answered, "poo-poo").  They didn't really fail him, they just ended up asking me if he knew the stuff.  I guess he just doesn't like to be told to do something.  His teachers at school JUST realized that he could write because whenever they asked him to try, he said he couldn't.

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  • in our district, the recommendation is self-care oriented.  put on own coat, hat, mittens, use restroom independently (wipe, flush, refasten clothing), be able to be away from parent for the day, wash hands, use tissues appropriately, be a polite listener when someone else is talking, show respect for others (adults and children), put away toys/learning materials when finished. 

    To me these are all responsibility of the parent anyhow. Basically, they want incoming k kids to be able to function so that they can teach them sight words, phonics, etc. FWIW, we are in a high performing district. All parents of toddlers that I know are working on these skills on a daily basis.

     

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  • imageshopgirl78:
    imageNewFamily09:


    When it comes to personal skills, I think it  should be a requirement for kids to tie their shoes. I always thought it was a little ridiculous that there were so many kids whose parents hadn't bothered to teach them. It seemed like pure laziness.  I can understand them occasionally needing help, but most were completely clueless. Also I think your kid should be able to undress, use the potty, wipe, and wash hands without help. Another pet peeve- having to wipe the butt of a 6 year old. Yuck.


    My second grader can tie her shoes but often makes a mess of it.  She still requires help half the time.  Its not that I haven't tried...in fact, we do shoe tying university around her with my PreK & her.    

    Now that I understand. I appreciated when kids at least knew how to do it, but needed help because they didn't have the dexterity yet. But most kids I got said no one had ever even shown them. I eventually developed the "Shoe Tying Awards." I gave kids an award when they could demonstrate that they could tie their shoes.

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  • Every school district is different but I think in general, the only requirement is that they are the correct age requirement.  Anything else that they know or are able to do is just going to be a benefit to them.  Kindergarten can be pretty rigorous with all of the testing and standards that have to be met as they get older so the more they are exposed to ahead of time and can do is just a bonus for them.
  • imageJen&Len:

    imagefredalina:
    Just kind of a funny story. My coworker has three girls and her youngest is quite a handful. Sadly she reminds me a lot of my daughter... Anyway, when she was almost ready for K she had a normal routine prekindergarten screening. She got... a zero. Not one question. She refused to answer, or answered wrong on purpose. She has a genius IQ, by the way. She just doesn't play ball. She still got to go to kindergarten that year. I'm sure her teacher was thrilled lol.

     Haha! This reminds me of DS, who has "failed" every developmental screen at his well visits because he either refused to answer or answered wrong on purpose (or answered, "poo-poo").  They didn't really fail him, they just ended up asking me if he knew the stuff.  I guess he just doesn't like to be told to do something.  His teachers at school JUST realized that he could write because whenever they asked him to try, he said he couldn't.

    See, and in our case it's behavior like that which is causing them to want to put him in "developmental" kindergarten --so basically more attention and focuson ciricullum. It stinks! I want him to be with the rest of his daycare buddies and continue with his friendships--now he'll be torn away. He is so super smart in terms of knowing his colors, numbers, alphabet, etc but he's still a bit behind in speech and sometimes has a hard time sitting still--so this is what the poor kid gets. =( So stressful for me because he may need to be bussed to another district causing me to either have to leave my job or jump through major hoops to keep it and change my hours somehow.
  • There is no real you must know these things before you start.  For sure kids do not need to know sight words or how to read.  Kids do need to be able to dress themselves (after potty, to go outside and play, put on snow stuff, etc), go potty by themself, be able to do the basics for lunch and more social type things.  Being able to sit still and listen and follow directions.  The 1st 6 or so weeks of school they spend figuring out where the kids are - who knows their letters, who can sound out words or read, who can count to what number, who knows all the colors and shapes, etc.  All the basics.  After the 1st 6 weeks, the kids in our school are sort of grouped based on where they fall so the kids that need more help with say reading are put in one group and the kids that are already reading are put into another.  They do the same with math. 

    Personally, working with your child on the basics is all that needs to be done - your child does not need to read or know sight words - if they do, great but most will not.  Kids start learning to read in kindy but some might not really take to reading until 1st grade.  Kids learn at different paces and while one kid might excel at reading, another might excel at math.

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  • All I keep hearing being stressed from J's teacher is that you need to call a diamond a rhombus NOT A DIAMOND.  I'm sorry, it's a diamond, who cares if it can also be called a rhombus.  It's a stupid thing to worry about but I've heard it at least 6 times this school year already.  (preK). 

    In our district they have a kindergarten round up where you go sign up for classes and then they schedule you for entrance stuff.  I think the only time they use the entrance things would be if your kid just made the cut off but could stand to wait developmentally one more year to start school.  But as others have said, as a parent I'm sure you could push and say, no, they have the age requirements I say let them in. 

    J missed kindergarten age cut off by 1 month, she could have totally went.  Now she'll be like a foot taller then every kid in there next year. 

  • Totally depends on the school/district. We just went to a "Get Ready for Kindergaten" class this week for the school our LO will go to. They do a screening of every child to either recommend or not that they are ready for Kindergarten. Our screening will be part academic and part emotional readiness. I think the "academic' standards are pretty low and they expect a high variation from child to child as a starting point.  Our school teacher seemed to emphasize more of the emotional/social readiness and even then they expect a large variation.  I would just call or visit your school and ask.  I appreciated that our school had the class and was very upfront about the process.  And like the pp's have said I think the main purpose of the screening is to help identify kids who might have some speical needs and to distribute the kids amongst the different K classes appropriately.

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