What is Kindergarten readiness? Being prepared for kindergarten means your child has certain developmental skills but not necessarily just academically. In my opinion as a pediatric occupational therapist, kindergarten readiness means your child can adapt to a new environment, have foundational social-emotional skills, and demonstrate developmentally appropriate fine motor and gross motor skills. Kindergarten is a huge milestone for kids and it’s important to know what is expected and the best ways to support them prior to this next chapter. At the end of this blog post I have a link to a kindergarten readiness checklist that provides you with the skills expected of your child in each of the domains I feel are the most important.
Sensory Health and Play
We all know that kids learn best through play and as a pediatric occupational therapist I have a sensory lens I look through when I am seeing a child play. Not only should a child have plenty of opportunities for play but also be playing in a multi-sensory environment. This means each of their sensory systems should be used everyday. Their play should be self-chosen, process-oriented and enjoyable. If we are thinking about their sensory system and how to create sensory health their play should also involve 2 or more sensory systems. Our sensory systems include tactile, auditory, taste, smell, sight, and movement (proprioceptive and vestibular systems).
Social-emotional skills include adapting to a new environment, creating and maintaining relationships, and managing your emotions. Social emotional skills are vital for kindergarten success because without the ability to communicate our feelings, listen to instructions, play with peers, and adapt to new situations and places we are not in a regulated state for learning. Our sensory processing abilities play a key role in our emotional well-being. Knowing how to support your child from a sensory and emotional perspective is a key indicator for school success.
Fine motor and gross motor skills are vital for academic learning. Gross motor skills such as balance, coordination, body awareness, and postural stability are the foundation for building fine motor skills. Without good postural stability it will be challenging for children to participate in activities such as coloring, fastening a zipper, getting dressed, tying their shoes, playing with beads or other small manipulatives. Fine motor skills are key for everyday tasks and coloring/handwriting. Knowing what is expected of your child as it pertains to gross motor and fine motor skills allows you to prepare them to the best of their ability for school success.
Creating opportunities for your child to do things more on their own prepares them for a day of school where they are no longer with you. Allowing them to do tasks on their own builds the confidence they need to succeed in school. If kids are able to contribute to household tasks it gives them a sense of purpose and meaning which in turn builds their confidence to try new things.
Using the Checklist
I created this checklist as a way for parents to assess their child’s current skills and know what areas need a greater focus. It is okay if your child has not mastered every skill but use it as a guide for better understanding of the areas that need improvement.
How Our Kindergarten Readiness Course Can Help
The Confident Kindergartener is a brand new one-of-a-kind course that teaches you a holistic approach to preparing your child for kindergarten. This program is created by a Doctor of Occupational Therapy who specializes in pediatric home-based therapy. The course teaches you a foundational framework, developmental skills and progression, simple and quick activities to target skills, and the confidence you and your child need to welcome this next chapter of school. The course includes 5 modules that discuss sensory and play based learning, social-emotional development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and building independence. This course comes with supplemental resources such as activity guides, handouts, developmental progressions, and more. You will also receive weekly live support from me, Calli the creator of the course and owner of Confident Kids Therapy, LLC.
How do I know if this course is right for my child?
If you are unsure if your child has the foundational skills for kindergarten and you are uncertain about the best ways to support them before school. If your child has several unmarked boxes on the kindergarten checklist they are probably a good fit for the course
What makes this course different from other information?
This course is created by a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in fine motor development, social-emotional skills, and sensory processing. I have experience working with children of various skill levels and use creative, strength-based, and multi-sensory approach to learning that I have seen as successful for kids learning new skills.
What ages would benefit from this course?
Parents with children between the ages of 2 and 6 are ideal for taking this course.
Could my kid who is in 1st or 2nd grade benefit from this course?
Yes. I think this information could apply to older children who are showing signs of needing extra support at home.
Kindergarten is an important year for kids because it is their first experience with all-day school and being away from their primary caregiver for an extended period of time each day. Having a positive start to school sets them up for future success as they grow and develop. As parents we all want the best for our kids and for them to be lifelong learners and create a positive relationship with school and their peers. If you are interested in my course you can join the waitlist here. This course is only offered 2 times in a calendar year.