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Kindergarten 101 for Parents

Welcome to Kindergarten!


Skills to Practice

Have your child practice these skills throughout the summer to prepare for school.

Life Skills

          Blue restroom sign


  • Shut and lock stall door
  • Flush toilet
  • Wipe independently
  • Undo and redo clothing
  • Wash and dry hands

          Gold clock with spoon and knife symbolizing time for lunch


  • Open drinks and wrappers
  • Throw away trash
  • Know the difference between disposable and reusable items

          Blue button


  • Zip, button, snap, tie
  • Put on and take off jacket
  • Tie shoes

          Gold family in a house

Family Information

  • Know first and last name
  • Know parent/caregiver’s first and last names
  • Know parent/caregiver’s phone number

          Blue school desk icon

Classroom Behavior

  • How to sit in a chair
  • Keep hands to self
  • Sit quietly and listen to a short story
  • Pack and upack backpack
  • Willingess to do non-preferred tasks

          Gold pencil

Fine Motor Skills

  • Hold a pencil
  • Use crayons
  • Hold and use scissors
  • Trace a dotted line
  • Draw basic shapes

Academic Skills

          Blue stack of two books

Literacy and Phonemic Awareness

  • Letter names and sounds
  • Understand we read from left to right
  • Understand that letters form words
  • Recognize letters in his/her name
  • Retell what happened in a story
  • Rhyming

          Gold plus and minus sign


  • Count to 20
  • Identify numbers
  • Identify basic shapes
  • Sort by color, size and shape

          Person speaking icon

Speaking and Listening

  • Follow multi-step directions (i.e.: push in chair and line up at the door)
  • Speak in sentences
  • Ask questions when curious
  • Participate in a conversation

Social/Emotional Skills

         Gold conversation bubble with a heart in the middle


  • Respectfully answer adults
  • Responds to name
  • Know how to ask for help when confused

          Blue smiley face


  • Separate from parent/caregiver without strong emotions
  • Win or lose without major emotions
  • Show and understand basic emotions (reacts appropriately when a peer is sad, etc.)

          Gold hand with a heart above it


  • Be kind to peers
  • Share and take turns
  • Wait turn to speak

Kindergarten FAQs

  • Be prepared!  Don’t take it personally that they are not their normal, pleasant selves. Stay calm and assure them that you know they’re getting used to so many new things and that can make our brains and bodies tired. Remind them it’s okay to feel this way!  Don’t plan too much for after school/weekends for a bit. Give them a lot of down time to rest and relax.

  • Try to avoid general questions like, "How was your day?" but instead ask questions specific to what you know about their day. Use communication from the teacher to ask about specific activities or content they're learning. Ask about friends, social time, interactions with adults...focus on things other than just the academics.

    Ask questions like:

    • “What was the most interesting thing you heard today?”
    • “Who did you sit by at lunch? Is that person your friend or someone new?”
    • “I remember that you were going to the library today. did you find a book? Why did you choose that one?
  • There are instances where important information needs to be shared with the teacher prior to a conference.  This would be any critical health information (allergies, medical needs), recent major family changes that would impact the child’s mood/ability to focus (divorce, death, move), special academic or behavioral needs.  Again, email is the best way to communicate this information at the start of the year.

  • School should be a partnership between the teacher and families!  Stay involved in what’s going on in the classroom by talking to your child daily, making sure to read all correspondence from the teachers/school, ask for clarification on things that feel confusing.  Look at work that comes home and talk to your child about what they were learning on the assignment.  If possible, offer to volunteer in the classroom or building.  Get to know the other parents in class as well as the other staff in the building.  Reach out to the specials teachers and introduce yourself, share something your child loves about their class, offer to volunteer your time, or simply encourage them!

  • This is a great question and one that might look a bit different for each teacher.  At the start of the school year it’s best to email the teacher with important information about your child.  That way they can read and save it to refer back to.  Try to avoid sharing this information in person at back tos school events or drop off/pick up as teachers are often distracted by multiple responsibilities and can’t fully attend to the important information.  As the year progresses, your child’s teacher will likely let you know the best way to communicate with them!

  • Notify the teacher and office staff via email or a written note about what the change will be. Make sure to also communicate the change to your child, but don’t rely on the child to tell the teacher. Teachers need to know from the parent/caregiver about the change.

  • There are multiple places you can get the information you need!  The district website contains information that is relevant to all kindergarten families in the district.  Each school has a website with information specific to their building and your child’s teacher also has a website.  Each school manages distributing news and information a bit differently but in general you can expect emails and paper flyers from the school about upcoming activities or information.  Many classrooms or schools have social media pages to highlight activities from the classroom as well!  Your child’s teacher can give you more information if that pertains to your child’s class.

  • 2-3 weeks before school begins, start preparing.

    Things to consider:

    • Establish a consistent bedtime routine
    • Establish a calm, and organized morning routine that doesn't cause your child to feel rushed
    • Laying out clothes the night before
    • What to eat for breakfast
    • Where backpack/coat are kept
  • The district has put together a “Skills to Practice” document for all kindergarten families with many ideas about how to best prepare your child. 

    • Decide what routines will work best for your family and practice, practice, practice (see #1).
    • Check out the district/school website to get an idea of what information is there for you.
    • Understand that your child will be experiencing many firsts; prepare to help them process new emotions and situations
  • School is hard work and keeps them busy all day long, so their little bodies are worn out as they’re adjusting to this new phase of life.  

    Common behaviors are:

    • tiredness (falling asleep in the car, napping, early bed)
    • crankiness (short temper, cries easily)
    • increased emotion (easily upset or frustrated)

    • excitement about school

    • talking a lot to share everything about their day

    • an increased curiousity about what's going on around them

     Be patient with your child and yourself!  It will take a few weeks for everyone to adjust to kindergarten!

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Kindergarten 101: Preparing you and your child for the fall

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