What Your Child Should Know Before Kindergarten
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Kindergarten has changed drastically in the past few years and has become more focused on learning and less focused on playing. Starting school can be very stressful for both parent and child, but helping your child prepare for kindergarten will help both of you feel more confident in his or her abilities when the time comes. There are a few basic things you can teach your child that will give them the knowledge they need to be successful and develop a high self-esteem.
Using letters and words is such a vital part of communication in all forms, so the more your child knows the better she will do. Your child should know that books contain words which tell us stories or information. She should know the alphabet and be able to recognize the letters, as well as write her name. Beyond that, a good vocabulary and the ability to write the letters will give your child a boost above the rest and make learning to read and write easier. Your child should also be able to demonstrate some communication skills including following simple directions (such as, "Put your shoes on the mat."), understanding simple questions and responding accordingly, and communicating her feelings.
Main math concepts that are taught in Kindergarten are basic shapes, numbers and counting, and basic operations like addition and subtraction. Your child will be most prepared if she is able to identify four basic shapes and count from 1-10 as well as identify the numbers on paper.
 The World Around Us
This is a common theme in Kindergarten, and it includes weather, days of the week, colors, holidays, and more. Some specific things that your child should know in this category include:
 Personal information
Including first and last name, age, sex, names and relations of family members including mom, dad, sisters, brothers, and grandparents, her body parts, and names of her clothing articles.
 Basic knowledge
Including the names of common things around the house, eight basic colors, the names of common animals, the names of buildings in town such as store and hospital, basic safety rules, and how to hold a crayon or pencil and write as well as hold safety scissors and cut paper.
 Self-Help skills
Including putting on and taking off her coat and shoes, doing buttons and zippers on the front of her clothes, feeding herself, going to the bathroom alone (as well as flushing and washing her hands), and opening and closing doors.
If your child is familiar with her surroundings—which is a learning process that happens every day when you answer her questions and help her explore and discover—she will have a better opportunity to increase that knowledge in school.
 Social Skills
Anytime your child is in an environment in which she needs to exist with others, her social skills will come into play and will make or break the situation. Here are some basic social skills your child should be familiar with before starting Kindergarten:
This list may look intimidating, but most of these skills are things that your child learns by experience. Children are naturally curious about the world around them; your job is to nurture that curiosity and do your best to answer their questions and give them freedom to explore their surroundings. Start teaching your child early and make learning fun so they have a positive attitude about education and the greatest opportunity for success.