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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 7, 2005

Is your 5-year-old kindergarten-ready?

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Education Writer


The Good Beginnings Alliance has created a brochure to help parents make the transition to kindergarten easier. It is available at elementary schools and at goodbeginnings.org. Among the suggestions are a list of books you can read with your child to help prepare him or her for the transition:
  • "Do You Want to be My Friend?" by Eric Carle
  • "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Wood
  • "Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner" by A. Schwartz
  • "Owen" by Kevin Henkes
  • "Will I Have a Friend?" by Miriam Cohen
  • "Starting School" by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
  • "Vera's First Day of School" by Vera Rosenberry
  • "Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten" by Joseph Slate
  • "Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!" by Nancy Carlson
  • "Sheila Rae the Brave" by Kevin Henkes
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    As the first day of school draws near, parents of 5-year-olds may find themselves wondering if their child is ready for kindergarten.

    They may even wonder what "ready for kindergarten" actually means.

    The definition varies from classroom to classroom. Some teachers expect children to know their full names and addresses, some letters, numbers, shapes and colors.

    Others just hope their students will be able to separate from their parents without tears.

    Melodie Vega, an early education management consultant, said while teachers may have different expectations, they do share four common goals. Children, she said, should be able to follow routines, make friends, participate in a group and enjoy school.

    "Prepared children easily separate from their parents, are able to sit in a group for a certain period of time, they are able to follow instructions and able to follow through with routines," she said.

    Still don't know if your child is ready? The National Parent Teacher Association has prepared the following questions to help parents predict whether their children will be successful in kindergarten:

  • Does your child demonstrate a certain amount of independence by taking responsibility for personal tasks such as putting on and taking off his or her coat, and putting things away after using them?

  • Is your child able to exercise some control over his or her behavior?

  • Is your child comfortable being away from you for a good portion of the day?

  • Is your child generally cooperative and able to interact positively in a group, which includes sharing, taking turns and following directions?

  • Does your child demonstrate curiosity about his or her world and how things work?

  • Is your child eager to exhibit his or her word and number knowledge, as well as eager to learn new things?

  • Does he or she like to play with blocks and paints, work puzzles, play make-believe, and generally manipulate his or her play world?