With back-to-school season right around the corner, some parents of 5-year-olds wonder whether their child is ready to enter kindergarten. The decision is best made based upon a child’s developmental readiness. 

Lewis First, MD, Chief of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UVM’s Larner College of Medicine , offers his kindergarten readiness checklist.

Language Basics

  • Know their name, address and phone number
  • Able to ask a question
  • Able to tell a story
  • Able to express a need
  • Can follow a three-step set of directions

Motor Development 

  • Should be able to stand on one foot for 5 to 7 seconds
  • Able to use scissors to cut a line on a piece of paper
  • Can work zippers and buttons
  • Able to hold a pencil

Cognitive Skills

  • Should know simple comparisons, such as bigger or smaller
  • Can recognize rhyming words like hat and cat
  • Less important to know letters, numbers and colors

Social Skills 

  • Comfortable in a group
  • Plays well with others 
  • Able to stay on task for at least 10 minutes 
  • Able to dress themselves 
  • Able to go to the bathroom unassisted 

If you have concerns about your child’s development, contact your pediatrician. 

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