Countdown to Kindergarten

Helpful tips for a successful transition to kindergarten

Kindergarten Readiness checklist

Many parents ask what their child needs to know before kindergarten. It is really a combination of skills, behaviors, and attitudes that determine each child’s readiness to start school. The following list includes some of the traits that are important for a successful transition to kindergarten.

  • Respects people and materials: ready to follow rules, attempts to solve simple problems independently, and is willing to cooperate.

  • Independently takes care of personal needs: dresses self, uses bathroom independently, cleans up after self, uses tissues, and asks for help when necessary.

  • Recognizes own name in print: identifies name on mailbox or desk.

  • Uses scissors, glue, markers, pencils, and crayons appropriately: holds scissors comfortably, writes name legibly, and draws recognizable shapes and figures.

  • Follows simple directions: listens and remembers what he or she is asked to do independently.

  • Takes turns: shares toys and materials, is able to wait to share thoughts, or receive individual help or attention.
  • Respects personal space: keeps hands and legs to self when sitting in a group. Understands when and how to appropriately make physical contact with others.

  • Uses books on a regular basis: enjoys stories, listens without being distracted, wants to read or be read to, and is familiar with some nursery rhymes, rhyming songs and books.

  • Recognizes some letters and numbers: recent research shows successful kindergartners can identify at least 8 alphabet letters when they enter school.

  • Demonstrates self control: able to contain emotions, try new things, interact with children and adults.

  • Is excited to start school and is eager to learn: ready for independent experiences, and wants to be part of a group.
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What else can i do?

Talk often with your child to build listening and talking skills.

  • Talk with your child often, as you eat together, shop for groceries, walk to school, wait in line. As your child gets ready for school, ask about the stories she is reading and what projects she has in science or art time. Ask about friends and classmates, and encourage using names, and describe the games they like to play together.

  • Have your child use his imagination to make up and tell you stories. Ask questions that will encourage him to expand the stories.


“Why didn’t the dog just run away?”

“Where did the boy live?”

“What kind of eyes did the monster have?”

  • Have a conversation about recent family photographs. Ask your child to describe each picture; who is in it, what is happening, and where the picture was taken.

  • Listen to your child's questions patiently and answer them just as patiently. If you don’t know the answer to a question, work together to find one.

  • Talk about books that you’ve read together. Ask your child about favorite parts and characters and answer questions about events in the story.

  • Pay attention to how much time your child spends in front of a screen. Set limits on the use of electronics such as tv, smartphone, tablets, computers, etc. Create a “Screen Free” time each day and use that time to talk together.

  • Tell stories about your childhood. Make a story out of something that happened, such as a special birthday, a visit to a zoo, or city.

Show your child how books and print work.

  • As you read with your child, have him point out such things as front and back covers and the title. Have your child show you where you should start reading on a page.

  • Help your child make connections between print and pictures as you read. Have him find details in the pictures, then help him find and point to the worlds that name those details.

Focus your child's attention on the sounds of spoken language.

  • Sing or say nursery rhymes and songs

  • Play word games


“How many words can you say that rhyme with fox? With bill?”

  • Read a story or poem and ask your child to listen for words that begin with the same sound. Have her say the words. Then have her say another word that begins with that sound.

  • As you read, stop and say a simple word. Have your child say the sound in the word, write the letters for the sounds, and then read it back to you.


“The dog is big. B-I-G. Can you say the sounds in big? Now can you write the letters for the sounds? Good, now read the word to me.”

Help your child identify and name the letters of the alphabet.

  • Point out letters and have your child name them.

  • Make an alphabet book with your child. Have him draw pictures or cut pictures from magazines. Paste each picture into the book. With your child, write the first letter of the word that stands for the object or person in the picture (for example M for milk and B for bird, and so on.)

Establish a bedtime routine

One of the most important pieces to having a good school day is getting enough sleep the night before. And one of the best ways to help your child get a good night’s sleep is to have a consistent bedtime routine. Having the same routine every night will help your child learn to relax, fall asleep more easily, and stay asleep.

So how do you set up a bedtime routine? Here are a few tips:

Decide on a consistent bedtime. If bedtime is the same every night, your child will get used to expecting bedtime. It will be easier to follow the routine. And their body will be prepared so they are likely to be able to relax faster and more easily. Also, if you have a consistent time for bed, your child will be less likely to try to convince you to allow “just a few more minutes” to stay up. Lots of parents relax bedtime routines during the summer. If you have done that this summer, now is a good time to start back on your regular bedtime schedule so that your children can get used to it before school starts.

Develop a consistent routine. This can be whatever works for your family. Some families have a bath time before bed, then brush their teeth, put on pajamas, and have a story. Some families have longer or shorter routines. What you do will depend on what works for you and your child. The most important thing is to keep the routine consistent. It might also help to write down the steps for your child (or draw pictures for younger children) and hang them up somewhere that he can see them, like the bathroom mirror. This will help both you and your child to stick to the routine and can help your child to develop independence in following the routine himself.

Make the bedtime routine relaxing. You want your child to be able to wind down so that she can fall asleep easily. So make the last couple of things in the routine relaxing. This may mean reading a story and getting a goodnight hug and kiss. Or maybe reading a book is too exciting for your child. So deep breathing before bedtime might be a better idea. It depends on you and your child. Studies suggest that you should avoid having your child watch tv or videos right before he goes to bed, though, because the screens can actually interfere with good sleep.

With a consistent bedtime routine, children will be more likely to get a good night’s sleep, will wake up in better moods, and will be better able to learn. It also means that they will be better prepared for their morning routines!

We love kindergarten!

Kindergarten is Awesome!

Indiana Immunization Requirements

Indiana law requires children entering school to have three (3) Hepatitis B, five (5) DTaP, four (4) Polio, two (2) MMR, and two (2) Hepatitis A vaccinations. In addition, all students entering Kindergarten must have two (2) varicella (chickenpox) vaccinations or a history of the disease documented by a health care provider. The school nurse will copy and check immunization records as part of the kindergarten preregistration. All immunizations must be complete by the first day of school.


Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have, we will be happy to help in any way we can. Email or call 812-254-5536 ext. 1018.

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Washington Community Schools

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