Kindergarten is supposed to be fun and educational, allowing children an opportunity to blossom. It is usually the first time the tykes are away from their parents for any significant amount of time.

And while most kindergartens don't exactly have GPA requirements, for children to succeed there are a few milestones that should be reached before they toddle through the door, says Alise McGregor, founder of Little Newtons (littlenewtons.com), an early education center with locations in Minnesota and Illinois.

"New parents especially can have a hard time understanding that there are actually things their child should know prior to kindergarten," McGregor says. "But if they take time to make sure their child knows some basics, it will make kindergarten a better experience."

McGregor says the typical things a child should know prior to entering kindergarten are:

  • Basic shapes. The child should have learned basic shapes like the square, circle, rectangle and triangle in preschool. If not, parents should teach them. In kindergarten, they will probably be introduced to the hexagon, star, heart and octagon.

  • The letters of the child's name. They should at least be able to recognize the letters of their name. In kindergarten, they will learn their uppercase letters and begin learning lowercase letters. They will also begin to learn how to write freehand without tracing.

  • Numbers 1 to 10. Although some children will be able to count to 100 by the time they reach kindergarten, all should be able to at least count to 10. Numbers will be used starting on the first day of kindergarten, so the children need to at least understand and recognize numbers.

  • Social skills - The child should be able to follow directions, be separated from the caregiver and be able to use the restroom independently. Children who scream and cry when they are separated from caregivers disrupt the rest of the class. Teachers simply do not have the time to supervise individual students who cannot independently use the restroom.

McGregor says that it is important for children to get off on the right foot early in school. By teaching children these skills prior to attending kindergarten, it should make it easier for them to succeed.

About Alise McGregor

Alise McGregor is the founder of Little Newton's (littlenewtons.com), a child care center focused on early childhood education in four locations in Minnesota and one in Illinois. She is the author of an upcoming book, " Creating Brilliance." Also a nurse, she has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology with a cardiac rehabilitation emphasis.


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