• When kids are getting ready for kindergarten, many families wonder about academic skills. But self-care and social and emotional skills are important for kindergarten readiness, too.  

    At a glance

    • Many kids who are ready for kindergarten can say the alphabet and count to 10.

    • Kindergarten readiness includes motor skills like holding a pencil and using scissors.

    • Self-care like getting dressed and not needing help in the bathroom are important kindergarten skills.


    Language skills

    • Speak in complete sentences and be understood by others most of the time
    • Use words to express needs and wants
    • Understand two-step directions
    • Make comparisons and describe relationships between objects like big/little, under/over, and first/last

    Reading readiness skills

    • Enjoy listening to stories
    • Know how to find the first page of a book and which way to flip the pages
    • Recognize familiar logos and signs, like stop signs
    • Recite the alphabet and identify most of the letters in their name
    • Recognize and try to write their own name
    • Recognize when two words rhyme (like cat and bat)
    • Draw a picture to help express an idea

    Math skills

    • Count from 1 to 10 without skipping numbers
    • Match a number to a group of five or fewer items (“I see three cats”)
    • Recognize and name basic shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle)
    • Understand more than and less than
    • Arrange three objects in the right order (like from smallest to biggest)
    • Name or point to the colors in a box of eight crayons

    Self-care skills

    • Use the bathroom and wash up on their own
    • Get dressed on their own (but may still need help with buttons, zippers, and shoelaces)
    • Know and can say their first and last name and age

    Social and emotional skills

    • Separate from a parent or caregiver without getting overly upset
    • Interact with other kids
    • Pay attention for at least five minutes to a task an adult is leading, like listening to directions for an activity or discussing the day’s weather during circle time

    Fine motor skills

    • Use a pencil or crayon with some control
    • Use scissors
    • Copy basic shapes
    • Make distinct marks that look like letters and write some actual letters, especially the ones in their name
    • Put together a simple puzzle

    Gross motor skills

    • Run
    • Jump with feet together
    • Hop on one foot
    • Climb stairs
    • Bounce a ball and try to catch it.