The Truth About What Kids Must Know For Kindergarten

must know for kindergarten

What must a child know for kindergarten? There are government standards for kindergarten readiness, and even more lofty ideals to prepare these tiny people for ambitious careers. I think it is safe to say, all of us want to offer our children every advantage that we can, but what if we have it all wrong? In this post I will give you the truth about what kids must know for kindergarten readiness.

I want to be clear, reading, writing, and math skills are essential kindergarten readiness. I submit that some of those skills may come more efficiently for children if they are taught later and after more foundational skills are mastered first.

Before a child can learn properly, he has to feel safe, to feel attached to a loving caregiver, master his body, cope emotionally, navigate socially, and be as physically and mentally healthy as possible. In this post, I want to share with you some fresh ideas about the truth about what kindergarteners need to know to succeed in life and some of it might surprise you.

Maybe you are here because you have a 4 or 5-year old that you want to prepare for formal learning. Maybe you were hoping for a checklist of the academic skills he or she will need to be a successful kindergartener. You will not find that here.

Even so, I am so happy you found me because I am going to give you the lesser-know, yet even more valuable things your kindergartener must know, so you can help equip your child for a great start in life!

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Please check out my post our a fresh approach to praising children:

instead of good job say this

What kids must know kindergarten: their safety

Personal boundaries
Personal consent
Body positivity
The proper name for body parts
Full name
Grownups’ full names (parent or guardian)
Phone number
Home address
How to behave in an emergency (for example, what to do if there is a fire)
How to call emergency services

What kids must know kindergarten: their bodies

Personal care
Brush and floss teeth properly
Fastening clothing: zippers, buttons, tying shoes
Personal nutrition
Knowing hunger and thirst cues
Sleep hygiene
Pump a swing
Cross monkey bars
Hop on one foot
Ride a bike or balance scooter
Balance beam
Cross-body activities (windmills)
Body/space awareness (spinning)
Varied Sensory Input Opportunities (i.e. Playdough)

What kids must know kindergarten: socially and emotionally

Loving attachment to a caregiver
Coping with separation
Asking for help
Asking for comfort
Making friends
Naming and holding personal boundaries
Saying no with firmness and kindness
Sticking up for a friend

What kids must know to understand their role in relation to the world

Nature appreciation
Name wildlife and birds around the home
Names for flowers, trees, and plants around the home
Caring for animals
Caring for nature by not harming it
Lifeskills and Chores
Clearing table
Putting away toys
Organizing and caring for belongings
Make bed

What kids must know kindergarten: mental health

Emotional regulation
Naming of feelings
Coping with uncomfortable feelings
Reading a responding to social clues
Self-directed play
Cope with feeling bored
Self-soothing repertoire (learn what calms oneself)


This not an exhaustive list of what children need to know, nor is it inclusive of the needs of all children. It should not be taken as advice. This post anecdotal to help us think of new ways of parenting our children to be healthy adults someday and happy children now. I am not a professional educator or licensed in human development or anything similar. I am an educated, curious, hard-working mother who has learned that some of the cultural expectations we have are not serving us well and that challenging ourselves to go beyond that status quo.

Some resources in used to prepare for this post: What if Instead of Behind These Kids are Advanced, Ability to Regulate Emotions study, Soft Skills Disconnect, Stop Worrying About Your Preschoolers Education, Early Childhood Education Does Not Stop, Montessori Soft Skills

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About the author, Jaime

Jaime Ragsdale
Jaime Ragsdale, Founder of Altogether Mostly

Here at Altogether Mostly, you will find grace, compassion, joy, and beauty. I use empathy and a little tough love to bring out the best in people. I live in the Midwest United States with my loving husband and awesome children. For more about me and Altogether Mostly, please visit my about page here.

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