March Madness

This month our town was filled with basketball fanatics for the NCAA Tournament. I won’t even pretend to know how teams earn a spot in certain brackets, conferences and leagues – I’ll leave that to others. I do however know a lot about what it means to get into Kindergarten and March Madness takes on a completely different meaning when moms are dealing with kindergarten round-ups, school applications and pressure from family and friends to get their kids in school or keep them home another year.

Some of the great questions from many of you include, but aren’t limited to:

How do I know my child is ready for kindergarten?

What should I expect from the school?

Half-day or full-day?

The questions seem to be endless, but some of the answers and resources that help aren’t quite as lengthy.  I wish I could answer every question I hear, but I’m afraid they won’t let me write a post that long!

For now, we’ll focus on anyone who has a child that is 4 or 5 years old. Sometimes it feels as though each choice and decision carry the weight of the world and your child’s future with them! Let’s establish something right now – kids are resilient, you only have to do your best and being informed means you WILL make the best choice possible for your family. Thank you for taking time to be informed, to ask questions and be the smartest, best parent you can be!

So let’s all take off our shawl of guilt, hat of worry and boots of stubbornness and dig in to discover how to change our march madness moments into moments that are magnificent!

There are 4 main areas to focus on when you are thinking about how to prepare your child for kindergarten and if your child is ready to attend.

If you have a 4 or 5-year-old the following indicators and milestones will help you during this crucial time of your child’s development.


* Children who turn 5 the summer before or after the kindergarten year start are considered young and even though they might handle kindergarten okay we have to remember they will be the youngest and sometimes smallest in their class for the next twelve years.

* Children who can use the restroom by themselves, put on their own coat and be fairly self-sufficient when it comes to meeting their immediate physical needs.

* Being able to use scissors and hold a pencil are skills that will be reviewed kindergarten. But these fine motor skills indicates a child’s ability to manipulate and control their motor skills and finite tasks.


* Does your child understand what it means to share objects with other people

* Can they follow a conversation between other people while responding to social cues (when to wait, how to interject, when to join in)

* Children who can work well with others show the ability to compromise and be a part of a social group


* Will your child pretend to “read” a book by using clues from the pictures they see? If your child shows an interest in books and reading, their language development is more than likely on par with his peers and this indicates their readiness to begin reading

* Kindergarten requires children to listen to instructions and follow them. Practice at home by giving your child direct, simple instructions and observe if they are able to carry out these tasks with minimal distractions.

* Children should be able to recite the alphabet, recognize colors, basic shapes, numbers and letters. Being able to count to twenty with minimal mistakes is also beneficial concerning beginning math skills.


* Observe your child and determine if they are mature or immature. The difference is seen in children who plays with animal figurines versus a child who only pretends to be an animal (acting and communicating like that animal). Immaturity isn’t a negative trait, but “immature” children might struggle a bit with social interactions and how to process their emotions.
* Being excited to learn new things and willing to try something new, shows that their curiosity is stronger than their fear and they have confidence in unfamiliar situations
* Looking at your child’s experiences the year before they begin kindergarten. If they were in Preschool, compare the hours they spent there and the hours they will spend during their year in kindergarten. If they only experienced partial hours, consider if full day will be too much for them to handle.
If you answered yes to most of these questions or you have seen these behaviors displayed on a consistent basis, your child is ready for kindergarten.  You know your child best and the educators in your area will be happy to help you weigh your options if you still have concerns. Talk with other parents, ask questions and share your stories. Trust yourself and remember that you know what your child needs in order to be successful.
Enjoy this wonderful journey and let us know what you decide or how you are preparing your child (and yourself) for this huge transition into the school years!


Kurt Schwengel

Baby Center


Get Ready For School

1 Response to “March Madness”

  1. 1 Lindsey Bell March 20, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Great tips. Thanks, Kasey:)

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