Count Down to Kindergarten: Is My Child Ready?

Enrolling a child in kindergarten is difficult enough without worrying and stressing about his or her readiness. Five year olds vary widely in their developmental skills. When evaluating your child’s readiness for kindergarten there are four areas of developmental functioning that should be considered:

  • Receptive and Expressive Language Skills – this is the ability to understand and use language to communicate.
  • Social and Emotional Development – this is the ability to get along with others and accepting authority.
  • Cognitive Skills – this is the ability to use mental process of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning.
  • Fine and Gross Motor Development – this is the ability to control the hands and fingers for writing, coloring, and cutting as well as stabilizing the body when running, jumping, and playing.

Because children around the same age develop and master skills at varying rates, the most important thing to know is what your child can do. The following developmental skills are a few indicators of a child’s readiness for kindergarten. Think about these questions listed below as they apply to your child to help you evaluate and determine how well your child is developing the skills necessary to be successful in kindergarten.

Receptive and Expressive Language – Can your child…

  • Say his/her name?
  • Speak in sentences of five words or longer?
  • Tell stories at length, both made up and true, from beginning to end?
  • Use the future tense in conversations?
  • Understand simple directions in sequence and follow conversation?
  • Listen attentively or focus attention on a task for at least 10 minutes?

Social and Emotional Development – Can your child…

  • Pretend, sing age-appropriate songs, dance, and play well with others?
  • Tell the difference between reality and make believe?
  • Participate in new experiences without fear?
  • Agree to rules for games and comply with expectations for behavior?

Cognitive Development – Can your child…

  • Understand the concept of time (tomorrow, yesterday, next week, last summer, etc.)?
  • Recognize his/her name on paper?
  • Identify at least six body parts?
  • Name at least four colors correctly?
  • Sort objects by size, shape, or color?
  • Count ten or more objects?

Fine and Gross Motor Development – Can your child…

  • Look at and copy a simple shape onto paper (circle, square, triangle) with a pencil or marker?
  • Hop (on one foot then the other) and skip?
  • Print some letters of the alphabet, such as the ones in his/her name?
  • Swing and climb without struggling or needing assistance?
  • Use a fork and spoon appropriately?
  • Put on clothing alone and toilet independently?

If you feel like your child is not showing progress in these areas, we can help. In August we will be offering a one week Kindergarten Readiness Camp. We also offer individually focused kindergarten skills development sessions. If you would like to find out more about our Kindergarten Readiness Camp or other services that we offer, please contact our office at (503) 352-0240.

Yours in Health,

New Horizons Wellness Services
13333 SW 68th Pkwy,
Tigard, OR 97223


New Horizons Wellness Services provides a true multidisciplinary approach to mental & physical health treatments for children, adults and families.