SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Your child may be old enough to start kindergarten, but is he or she ready?
It’s an important decision for parents, because kindergarten marks the start of a child’s formal education and their first school experiences can affect the rest of their lives.
Most schools use cutoff dates. A child must be age 5 before entering kindergarten, but age isn’t the only way to measure a child’s readiness. Experts say the child’s ability to think logically, interact well with other children and adults, and readiness to learn are all critical to success in school.
“Curiosity about learning to read and learning to write and learning their math and eagerness [are all factors]. And are students recognizing the print around them, like the big ‘M’ on McDonald’s and knowing that that’s a letter?” says Literary Support Specialist Mary Harwood.
Some parents may choose to hold their child back a year, but research suggests that children who postpone enrollment don’t perform any better than children who enter on time. Parents may also want to consult their child’s doctor or teacher to help determine if their child is ready.
In the meantime, summer is a great time to help children prepare for success. Experts suggest talking to children about kindergarten, reading with them every day, playing word games and encouraging them to socialize with others.