By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

Parents can improve their child's kindergarten performance by creating an atmosphere of learning at home. Children who fit comfortably into their kindergarten have a rewarding and productive year, thus beginning their elementary school years with a positive attitude about academics.

A child's ability to think logically, speak clearly, and interact well with other children and adults as well as his physical development are all critically important to success in school. However, not all children are competent in each of these areas. In fact, your child may be small for his age, and lagging behind other kids socially and physically, but if his language, thinking, and perceptual skills are in place, then he'll probably do well in kindergarten.

While there's no perfect formula that determines when children are truly ready for kindergarten, you can use this checklist to see how well your child is doing in acquiring the skills found on most kindergarten checklists.:

  • Have strong self-management skills
  • Is able to work independently
  • Can cut with scissors and work with glue
  • Listen to stories without interrupting
  • Is able to put on his/her coat, tie shoe laces and Button shirts, pants, coats, and zip up zippers
  • Is able to follow general rules and instructions
  • Separate from parents without getting upset
  • Speak understandably
  • Recognizes authority and understand that actions have both causes and effects
  • Identify some alphabet letters and sort similar objects by shape, size or color.
  • Is able to manage bathroom needs
  • Talk in complete sentences of five to six words
  • Is curious and receptive to learning new things
  • Interacts well with other children on an equal footing

Here are a few tips to help your child have a successful kindergarten year:

  • Read with your child. Children who read at home with their parents perform better in school.
  • Stimulate your child's vocabulary by talking about a variety of topics
  • Encourage your child to study at home by setting a regular homework routine.
  • Keep in touch with the school. Do not wait for the school to get in touch with you.
  • If possible, enroll your child in a pre-school. Research says children who attend preschool or a headstart program prior to kindergarten fare better in the classroom.
  • Encourage your child to be independent and responsible. Let your child do simple chores like folding the towels or choosing school clothes.

Kindergarten is a significant step on the path of education. A little consideration and planning on your part can make this step a rewarding and successful time for your child.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,