Preschool and Kindergarten Guidelines



General Guidelines for Preschool

Four Year Olds learn through play and hands-on activities. Few are ready for formal reading instruction. Let your child’s interest set the pace for the instruction that you give him. Four Year Olds can: (a portion of this list comes from Active Learning for Fours by Debbie Cryer

Motor/Physical Skills:

  • get dressed without much help
  • draw a person with three parts
  • jump backward
  • try to imitate someone who draws a square
  • walk downstairs alternating feet
  • play alone for 20-30 minutes
  • fasten buttons quite well
  • eat well with fork, cut easy foods with a knife
  • usually stay dry through the night
  • jump over things
  • hop on one foot at least five times
  • cut a big circle (4-1/2+)
  • brush teeth quite well (4-1/2+)
  • draw a person with 6 parts (4-1/2+)
  • lace shoes (4-1/2+)
  • do a somersault (4-1/2+)
  • draw some things we recognize (4-1/2+)
  • cut and paste simple shapes (4-1/2+)
  • print own name but not clearly (4-1/2+)
  • print a few capital letters (4-1/2+)

Pre-reading Skills:

  • recognize print in the environment
  • distinguish separate words
  • recognize rhyming words
  • know some letter names and shapes, including the letters in the child's name;
  • begin to demonstrate reading-like behaviors, such as pretending to read and write;
  • begin to demonstrate understanding of picture books and simple stories; and
  • retell stories, make predictions, and connect stories to background experiences in a teacher-guided group format.
  • know in front of, under, behind, or on top of
  • recognize own name in print
  • tell you what some words mean (4-1/2+)
  • tell the opposite of some words (4-1/2+)
  • give understandable home address (4-1/2+)
  • say whether two words rhyme (4-1/2+)
  • recognize a few printed words (4-1/2+)


General Guidelines for Kindergarten: Five Year Olds can: (a portion of this list is taken from Active Learning for Fives by Debbie Cryer

Motor Skills:

  • handle toileting by self, usually dry through the night
  • prefer to use either left or right hand
  • cut well with scissors. (A resource I highly recommend for scissors skill is Tracing and Cutting.
  • dress and undress well alone
  • draw person with head, body, legs, arms, and other parts
  • print name, but not too clearly
  • write some, but not all, letters of the alphabet
  • draw most easy shapes

Pre-reading Skills:

  • answer the telephone and call correct person to the phone
  • know colors and color names well
  • understand place words (on top of, over, under)
  • use time words (morning, night) to tell when things happen
  • listen well to a story read to a large group of children
  • make up rhyming words
  • use long sentences, tying thoughts together
  • tell a story from a picture book very well
  • tell left shoes from right shoes
  • make only a few mistakes in speaking
  • confuse some similar words, such as ask and tell
  • play easy table games with a friend and often follow rules. (Two of my granddaughter's favorites are Candy Land and Cranium Cadoo. Check out Amazon's low price!)
  • begin to tell one letter from another
  • name most uppercase but not most lowercase letters
  • read a few words
  • know how to read his/her own name
  • recognize upper and lower case letters
  • hear the beginning sounds of words, like “d” in dog
  • read some high-frequency words (Dolch list, pdf document. This takes a while to load!).
  • read the first few levels of decodeable readers for kindergarten;
  • retell in simple terms stories that have been read to him/her as well as make simple evaluations and interpretations of their content
  • connect, with your help, what is read to him/her with real experiences VI. Assessment

General Guidelines for Math Learning

At the end of Preschool, your child should generally:

  • be able to count to ten
  • begin to understand size, shape, and position, Math Skillbuilders for Young Learners.
  • know how to sort things in different ways, usually by color (colored cereal, m&ms, string beads, use frogs.)
  • know the name of a penny, nickel, and dime

At the end of Kindergarten, your child should generally:

  • understand more and fewer
  • understand size (biggest, tallest, smallest, etc)
  • understand patterns of numbers (missing numbers 1-10, counting by 5’s, 10’s)
  • understand positions (top, bottom, left, right, center)
  • say numbers from 1 to 20
  • know shapes and do shape puzzles well
  • write some numbers and tell their names
  • count things quite well
  • begin to understand money and how it is used
  • know when something is cut in halfs, thirds, or quarters
  • say some numbers above 20
  • do very easy adding using 1, 2, 3, 4 (1+1, 2+3)
  • begin to understand clocks and time
  • begin to know what a ruler and thermometer are used for

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