Is My Child Ready For School?


THIS IS THE QUESTION faced by parents nowadays concerning their pre-schoolers. And, as a parent of a three and a half year old kid, I too have qualms and reservations regarding my daughter’s entry to the world of education.

As far as I remember my kindergarten days, it was a relaxed opportunity to learn the basics of education such as reading and mathematic skills required for grade school through play activities. Playing, dancing, singing nursery rhymes, reciting alphabet, counting, eating during recess time, and taking naps were some of our daily activities. But this is not the case nowadays.  Young children are subjected to rigorous academic programs as early as kindergarten and are expected to learn what’s used to be taught in first grade.

Due to this expectation, the parents are left with the burden of whether or not their children are ready for school. They are loaded with apprehensions concerning the ability of their child to succeed. Hence, how do we know if our child is ready for school, given that kids have different levels of growth and development as well as giftedness?

What really is SCHOOL READINESS?

For Mary Ann Rafoth, PhD, NCSP, Erin L. Buchenauer, Katherine Kolb Crissman, & Jennifer L. Halko  of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, it typically means that a child has reached a certain level of emotional, behavioral, and intellectual development needed to learn, work, and function successfully in school.

They have also enumerated characteristics of a child ready for school which may help parents in preparing their children.

  • Able to follow structured daily routines

The child somehow know that there is a time for everything such as eating, bathing, brushing teeth, watching television, etc.

  • Able to dress independently

Some children show signs that they are able to groom themselves or put their clothes without the help of an adult.

  • Able to work independently with supervision

Able to do things on their own but with guidance of the parent.

  • Able to listen and pay attention to what someone else is saying

Toddlers really have short attention span. They will show signs that they are ready when they are able to listen and pay attention to someone who is speaking.

  • Able to get along with, cooperate and play with other children

Children who are ready for school somehow get along well with their playmates/classmates in work and play situations

  • Able to follow simple rules

Children would have the ability to carry out simple instructions

  • Able to work with puzzles, scissors, coloring, paints, etc.

Exhibits hand-eye coordination in performing various activities

  • Able to write their own name or to acquire the skill with instruction

Can identify the letters in their name and able to write it on their own.

  • Able to count or acquire the skill with instruction

Familiar with the numbers (1-10 for the minimum) and able to count

  • Able to recite the alphabet (or quickly learn with instruction)

Acquainted with the alphabets and aware of vowels and consonants

  • Able to identify both shapes and colors

Has the ability to distinguish shapes and colors

  • Able to identify sound units in words and to recognize rhyme

Familiar with the sounds created by each letter in order to form words and be acquainted with rhymes

The above characteristics may serve as a guide for parents in gauging their child’s school readiness and may help to ensure the smooth transition from toddlerhood to preschool.


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