Guest Blog Post from Elissa Sungar of If Not You,

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

You might be thinking, “Of course he is ready – more than ready. Our child has been in the best ranked preschool for 3 years that costs sometimes, we feel, more than an Ivy League education.” OR you are thinking, ” Ready for kindergarten? What a totally crazy question, my kid is 4 years old and what could they possibly need to know before a year of crayons, shoe tying and songs?”

Kindergarten readiness refers to the skills educators feel a child should know when entering the first formal year of school labeled kindergarten. These basic skills are important so that they have the foundation to learn and develop new strengths and knowledge in upcoming school years. Children should have the opportunity to begin their schooling on grade level and not be at a disadvantage playing educational catch up from the get go. Think of kindergarten readiness as building the foundation that leads to future lifelong success as early childhood research is disclosing.

Research shows that only HALF of the 4 million children entering kindergarten each year are actually ready to attend. Those children who are behind have a very small chance of ever catching up to their peers. Before their 6th birthday, these children are already set up to fail. BUT if a child starts kindergarten at grade level or higher, the chances are the child will stay at grade level or higher through high school.

The If Not You, Who? website is dedicated to preparing children for school by providing fun and educational activities that focus on developing the key skills necessary for kindergarten readiness. As a free site, your investment is “parental time” to optimize your child’s learning potential. Using technology and research,  excuses for parents saying they didn’t know how to prepare a child for kindergarten can be addressed. Below is a simple checklist of recommended skills for preschoolers when they start school. Currently there is no national kindergarten readiness checklist and each state should have their own list of requirements on a website..

 Below is a modified list compiled by the team at INYW? by looking at multiple state’s requirements.

 Language, Literacy & Reading

  1. Say/sing ABC’s and can point to correct letters
  2. Speaks clearly and fluently in 4-6 word conversational sentences, can express feelings and understands 4,000 to 5,000 words
  3. Recognizes and can pronounce their first and last name in print
  4. Able to dictate a short story or narrative of the day’s events with some details for someone to write
  5. Understands the concept of a book- 1st page, last page, reading left to right and hold the book right side up while turning the page and looks at pictures to help with the meaning

Letters/Letter Awareness & Phonics

  1. Can recognize upper case and lower case letters- approximately 12-52 letters
  2. Identify by name and sound the letters in their first name
  3. Can tell the sounds of the letters in the alphabet and recognizes the beginning sound of a word
  4. Prints first and last name
  5. Recognizes the difference between similarly shaped letters b/d; /p/q; c/o etc..


  1. Count in order from 1 to 20
  2. Can recognize, copy or make numerals 1-12
  3. Can name and recognize 12 shapes- circle, square, rectangle, triangle, diamond, oval, pentagon, octagon, star, heart, line and curve
  4. Can match 4 of the above 12 shapes to things- Example: square to cracker, rectangle to shoe box
  5. Understands greater than, less than, equal to, first, second, third

 Social/Personal Skills

  1. Plays well with 2 or more children and understands sharing, cooperating and waiting for turns and has a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm
  2. Respects authority and can follow simple rules and instructions and shows self control
  3. Can take care of themselves: bathroom needs, dresses self, cleans up after self
  4. Has 5-minute attention span to finished short tasks and show persistence at task at hand. Example: sweep kitchen, finish puzzle, tie shoe
  5. Use words to express feelings and thoughts and expresses empathy, emotions and kindness to others.


  1. Understands day and night
  2. Distinguishes morning, afternoon and evening
  3. Knows body parts and can explains how body works. Example: nose to smell, feet to walk etc..
  4. Understands 5 senses
  5. Can identify different environments: inside, outside, seasons, forests etc..

Motor Skills

  1. Able to complete a 10-20 piece puzzle
  2. Can trace around objects and basic shapes and glue pictures to paper
  3. Able to run, jump, hop, march, stand on one foot (10 seconds), skip, swing, climb and ride a bike
  4. Comfortable controlling utensils, pencils, scissors and other small objects
  5. Able to catch, throw and bounce a ball


1. Pretends, creates and makes up stories, songs and pictures and is able to sing familiar songs, finger plays and nursery rhymes

  1. Is well rested, healthy and well nourished
  2. Can sit for a 20 minute story time and answer basic questions about the story
  3. Can easily separate from parents for 2-3 hours
  4. Solves problems with words not actions

Be sure to visit If Not You, Who. org for activities and other information to make sure that your child is ready, set and excited to  begin! Thanks for stopping by Word of Mom Radio!

Meet Elissa and Debi of If Not You
Mother/Daughter Debi Dutton and Elissa Sungar bring us a powerful company making sure our children are ready for  school.  Only half of the 4 million children entering kindergarten each year are actually ready to attend. Life long consequences often follow those children unprepared. If Not You, Who?  is a free website that includes over 300 easy to implement activities, which only take about 10 minutes each and use common household items.  The activities are focused on developing the 5 crucial learning areas kids should be familiar with when they enter kindergarten. Available in over 30 languages, almost any adult can now quickly learn how to positively impact a child’s future!

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About Dori DeCarlo

Word of Mom Radio ~ the place MOMpreneurs and Business Women meet, share, empower and inspire each other. Join your host, Dori DeCarlo at on Tuesday"s and Thursday"s ~ sharing the wisdom of women.

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