Getting ready for kindergarten is a process that begins early in life. From the moment a child is born they are learning, growing, and absorbing the world around them. And all of the skills they gain along the way are helping prepare them for kindergarten.
Still, as that 5 year old birthday approaches a lot of parents wonder if their child is really “ready”, or what they can do to help them have a smooth start in school. This website includes ideas, resources, and research specifically about what being prepared for kindergarten generally means, and how parents can help their child be prepared for the fun, joys, and challenges of kindergarten.
Ready for Kindergarten
The Alaska Developmental Profile is a statewide assessment conducted in the fall for kindergarteners that helps us understand if Alaska children are coming to school ready to succeed. It measures 13 different goals that experts generally agree are important. The goals are based on the 5 different areas of early learning. To learn more about each of the goals and early learning areas, click the links below.
- Physical Well-Being, Health, and Motor Development
- Social and Emotional Development.
- Approaches to Learning.
- Cognition and General Knowledge.
- Communication, Language, and Literacy.
But remember, don’t fret if your child doesn’t meet them all. The truth is only one-third of Alaska kindergarteners come to school with all the skills they need to succeed. And while we’re working to change that, the reality is that our school districts and teachers are ready and willing to meet every child where they’re at to help them succeed. They key is to just get started!
Here are some fundamentals to help your child work towards:
- Know her first and last name and her parent’s first and last names.
- Recognize letters (both lowercase and uppercase) and numbers (up to 10).
- Communicate wants and needs (like hunger, pain, happiness) through words.
- Know basic colors and shapes.
- Use the bathroom and wash her hands all by herself.
- Solve problems without hitting, biting, or yelling.
- Follow instructions from teachers and parents.
- Be comfortable being apart from her parents during the school day.
- Sit quietly for short periods of time.
- Be curious and interested in activities like story and art time.
Source: The Urban Child Institute
Activities to Support Kindergarten Readiness
Best Beginnings has produced a number of activity guides for parents and caregivers, filled with suggestions of fun things you can do at home for free to support a child’s development. Check out the guide for your age and be sure to read the On to Kindergarten guide!
On to Kindergarten Camp
Check out our summer camp offering for up and coming kindergarteners (available in select communities in 2023 & 2024)!
Designed for children who are about to start kindergarten with little to no preschool experience, our camp staff will work with your child to determine what skills they’ve mastered and build on emerging skills to help them transition to a kindergarten classroom setting.
- Kindergarten Readiness by Scholastic – articles and book recommendations to help your child prepare for school.
Registering for Kindergarten
To be eligible to attend kindergarten in Alaska a child but be 5 years old by September 1st. Each school district in Alaska has its own timeline and process for registering your child for school. To find your school district and their website, click here.
Some districts offer school tours starting in the spring prior to the year your child will start kindergarten as well as programs or events for preschoolers, so start looking early! This is especially true if you’re looking for resources regarding alternative programs or will need before and after school child care.
Tips for a Smooth Transition
- Transitioning to Kindergarten – some things you can do to prepare both you and your child for kindergarten.
- Ready or Not Kindergarten, Here We Come! – tips for parents and families
- 10 Ways to Get Ready for Kindergarten – from the Anchorage School District