Kindergarten Readiness & School Skills Checklist

School Readiness Skills Needed to Get Ready for Kindergarten

Early childhood programs, children’s books, and a school readiness assessment to help kindergarten-age children get ready for school.

It’s kindergarten readiness time in daycares and preschools. Early childhood programs and preschool centers play an important role in helping kindergarten age children get ready for school. Schools hold kindergarten registrations and plan school readiness assessments, so how can preschool programs help prepare children to start school?

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist and Research

There has been much research on what skills children need to get ready for kindergarten. The Kindergarten Entry Skills (McEntire, 2007) surveyed kindergarten teachers and identified skills they look for in incoming kindergarten students. These can generally be broken into broad areas that include social, motor and knowledge skills.

According to the Kindergarten Entry Skills survey, social skills include:

  • Functioning within a cooperative learning environment
  • Working independently and cooperatively within large and small groups
  • Attending to and finishes tasks
  • Listening to a story in a group
  • Following two- or three-step oral directions
  • Taking turns and shares
  • Caring for personal needs
  • Caring for personal belongings
  • Following rules, respect the property of others and routines, and works within time constraints

Motor skills include gross motor skills; fine motor skills requiring eye-hand coordination, such as the use of a pencil, crayons, or scissors; and the ability to print one’s own name.

Knowledge skills include such things as knowing the names and sounds of letters; the names and quantities of numbers; and the ability to sort and group objects by name, by color, by shape and by size. Also considered important is recognition of the child’s name in writing and knowing his or her address and telephone number.

Most schools expect students to have similar kindergarten readiness skills.

Assessing School Readiness

Schools schedule kindergarten screenings and assessments when students are enrolled. Typically, parents receive notification of kindergarten registration and are given an appointment for a kindergarten screening at that time.

Kindergarten screenings may be done by school staff including kindergarten teachers, physical education teachers, special education teachers, and health officials. These are done one-on-one, and also typically involve a separate parent interview along with the screening activities for the child.

Children’s Books About Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Preschool and daycare teachers may want to use some of these stories with their students to help them make the transition to kindergarten, along with lessons that will build their skills.

  • Ready for Kindergarten by Sharon Wilkins [Zondervan (April 1, 2000]
  • Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten! by Stacey Kannenberg [Cedar Valley Publishing, 2006]
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff [Puffin, 2001]

Preschool teachers may also find these books to be helpful:

  • Get Ready For Kindergarten!: 270 Interactive Activities and 2,158 Illustrations That Make Learning Fun! by Jane Carole [Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2005]
  • What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Get Ready for Kindergarten [Delta, 2008)]

Preschool programs and daycare centers can be instrumental in helping children get ready for kindergarten. Knowing what readiness skills are needed and preparing children for kindergarten screenings and assessments can help smooth the transition from preschool to school.


School Readiness and Transition to Kindergarten, National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center .

McEntire, Nancy, “Kindergarten Entry Skills,” The Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting, 2007.

Readiness for Kindergarten: Parent and Teacher Beliefs, National Center for Educational Statistics, 1995.


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