Whether your child is weeks old or moving their way through Kindergarten, you’ve likely heard the term “kindergarten ready” (especially if you’ve been researching daycares!). As teachers, we’ve even heard this term, but I’ve never really understood what it really meant until having my own children. Kindergarten ready does NOT mean being able to read, write and count. In fact, if you’re based in Ontario with us, you’ll know that Kindergarten is largely focused on a play-based learning model.
Children learn through play and natural curiosities, so instead of stressing when your child reaches the end of pre-school and they haven’t mastered all the academic skills you feel is needed for school, take a deep breath, exhale and reflect on all the great things your child CAN independently and what they might still need some support in so they feel ready.
So What IS Kindergarten Readiness?
Instead of focusing on the academics, let’s shift back to the idea that Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education should be about learning life skills, developing social skills and cognitive thinking skills. Okay, okay, plain speak - think things along the lines of:
We might also consider sharing or turn taking - but again, this is a skill we expect students to master and understand at very early stages, when in reality, it is a skill that is developmentally appropriate to have mastered during the early primary grades. In fact, collaboration is a major learning skill that is focused on all throughout elementary school. And in all seriousness, your little babe likely does a better job of sharing in school then sharing their own prized possessions in their own personal spaces.
In the end, what Kindergarten teachers everywhere want you to know, is that it’s okay if they don’t know their ABC’s or 123’s. They will have plenty of time to learn all the academics they will need in their next years and years of education. Right now what they need is to begin to feel confident in who they are as independent little people. So go on, take that deep breath and reflect on all the amazing things your little babe is capable of already, and give yourself a silent pat on the back because you are the big reason they have learned, laughed and loved in these few short moments on earth.