Starting school is a major milestone for young students, and helping them get ready is an important job. This list looks long, but your preschool-age child may have already mastered many of these kindergarten skills.

If you are planning on sending your child at the end of the summer, or even next year, go through the list and see what your child already knows and what he may need to work on. This list may not a complete one for your child's future school; be sure to also get your state or district's list of Kindergarten Readiness Indicators.

  1. Able to complete age appropriate self-help (personal care) tasks independently (dressing, using restroom, washing hands).
  2. Separates from parent.
  3. Plays and works in groups with other children.
  4. Recognizes and identifies at least 10 alphabet letters.
  5. Demonstrates understanding that alphabet letters have sounds.
  6. Recognizes words and sounds that rhyme.
  7. Follows verbal directions.
  8. Recognizes numerals.
  9. Recognizes name in print.
  10. Joins in hand plays and songs requiring actions and rhyme.
  11. Demonstrates understanding of positional vocabulary (up/down, top/bottom, in front of/behind).
  12. Identifies age.
  13. Copies or independently draws: circle, square, x mark, + symbol.
  14. Counts number of objects (up to 5).
  15. Counts to 10.
  16. Speaks in complete sentences.
  17. Recognizes and continues patterns.
  18. Identifies at least three shapes, and points to shapes when named.
  19. Runs, jumps, catches, and bounces balls.
  20. Holds books correctly (right side up).
  21. Retells simple story in own words.
  22. Identifies at least 5 colors.
  23. Recognizes familiar signs and logos.
  24. Sort objects by characteristic (color, size, type).
  25. Completes simple puzzles.
  26. Puts numerals 1-5 in correct order.

From the Trenches

The social skills and maturity level of young children starting school is a big consideration. Teachers weigh in on important factors you may not find on any checklist.

Qualities chosen by kindergarten teachers as important for incoming students:

"The top three qualities public school kindergarten teachers consider essential for school readiness are that a child be physically healthy, rested and well-nourished; be able to communicate needs, wants, and thoughts verbally; and be enthusiastic and curious in approaching new activities."

From Scholastic: Ready for Kindergarten? Five Teachers tell you what preschoolers really need for next year not only gives skills teachers would love to see students have when they come through the door, but they also tell you how to work on these skills in the normal course of the day.

Some skills listed above included information and indicators from these resources: