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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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Preparing for Kindergarten

March 2004


It is the time of the year that the parents of young children begin to ponder, and worry, if their child is ready, or not, for kindergarten. I have had people ask me how to tell if their child is ready. To find out, I asked my colleague, Dr. Scott Boliver, who does kindergarten readiness testing, what to be aware of.


Dr. Boliver pointed a number of important considerations. First, children that are less than 5 typically encounter more problems, than those who are older when they begin school. And, remember, boys are developmentally behind girls. At age 5, boys are approximately 6 months behind girls.


The most important consideration for readiness for kindergarten is your child’s brain development. Even if you have a small child who may be lagging behind physically, if his or her language and thinking skills are there, he or she will probably do fine. But children need to be evaluated on several levels including the ability to think logically, speak clearly and have good social development.


If you want a professional to assess your child for kindergarten readiness, be sure that they assess in several levels, including motor skills, intellectual skills, verbal skills, cognitive strategies and social development. This can also be a good opportunity to do an early screening for any learning disabilities. The earlier that any difficulties are recognized, the better that they can be treated. Important information about a child’s style of learning can be gathered during these assessments that can be shared with the teacher who can then incorporate that into their method of teaching that child.


But the most important thing to remember is that if a child is ready for kindergarten, they will enjoy it and not be stressed out. This will set them up for enjoying the rest of their education and being much more successful and happy in school. And isn’t that what we are all hoping for our children!


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