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17 May

Well, it’s that time of the year again. If your child is five years old or will be five before December 3 (in the Ojai Valley, California), it’s time to think about registering for kindergarten. However, now you’re thinking “is my child ready to start kindergarten?”

It’s very important to remember that enrollment into kindergarten is based primarily on age. In most states in the United States that just means that you child must start kindergarten if he/she is going to be five years old before December 2nd. (The date may vary in some states.)

Most primary school programs are designed to take children with a variety of emotional, social and academic needs and work with them according to their individual strengths.

However, we know that children who start kindergarten with a good foundation in the six specific skill areas have a good head start and a better success rate than kids who lack these basic skills.

Here are a few examples of skills that can ease the transition into kindergarten:

• Cognitive skills
Fine motor skills
• Social emotional skills
Language skills
• Listening and sequencing
Gross motor skills

Strengthening these skills can help your child have a successful kindergarten year.

Cognitive skills that can help your child be ready for kindergarten include these usual suspects:

• Recognizing shapes
Being able to count to 10
• Know the alphabet
Identify primary colors

A child ready to start kindergarten should know her telephone number, birthday, age and address. Some emergent literacy skills can also include being able to write her name, identify her name, answer some questions about a story, understanding the words are read from left to right.

In addition, it would be useful if she had had knowledge of various nursery rhymes, was able to recognize written numbers and vocabulary.

Sequencing and listening are also important skills for a child ready to start kindergarten. They include:

• The ability to follow simple directions
Retelling a simple story in sequence
• Repeating a sequence of numbers
Paying attention
• Repeating a sequence of sounds

Additionally, there are also some pre kindergarten language skills connected to relationships like:

• Big and little
More and less
• In and out
Front and back
• Top and bottom
Short and tall
• Up and down
Over and under
• Slow and fast

Even though we associate school with cognitive skills, it’s important that kids ready to start kindergarten also have social emotional skills as well as gross and fine motor skills.

Examples of fine motor skills are:

• Being able to tie shoes
Copy a vertical line
• Copy a circle
Copy a straight line
• Work a simple puzzle (six pieces)
Zip clothing
• Hold and use scissors correctly
Hold crayons with fingers
• Cut on a line, button buttons

Gross motor skills include:

• Hopping
Kicking a rolling ball
• Throwing a ball or bean bag
• Walking a straight line
• Jumping
• Clapping hands

Social emotional skills include:

• Getting along with others
Maintaining self control
• Sharing with others
Verbal self expression
• The ability to take care of toilet needs independently

Your child is well on the road to success in kindergarten if she has mastered these skills. There is no need to worry if she hasn’t become successful in all these skills.

You can still work on these skills right up to the time to start kindergarten. When school starts you’ll be able to team up with the kindergarten teacher to help improve your child’s skills.

The Ojai Valley Neighborhood for Learning has an annual Kindergarten Transition Program that helps children achieve kindergarten readiness. This program is specifically for children who have not had any preschool experience.

This program is available to children who live in the Ojai Valley which includes Ojai, Upper Ojai, Meiners Oak, Mira Monte, Oak View, Live Oak Acres, and Casitas Springs.

In addition, the Ojai Valley Neighborhood for Learning provides preschool scholarships for children in the Ojai Valley.

You can get an application for the Ojai Valley NfL’s Kindergarten Transition Program or the Preschool Scholarship Program by calling our Program Director at (805)640-4300, Extension 1062.

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