How To Help Your Child Prepare For Kindergarten

Are you looking for ways to help your child prepare for kindergarten in Los Angeles? Kindergarten is a significant milestone in every child’s life, as it marks the beginning of their academic journey. As a parent in Los Angeles, you may wonder how to best equip your child for this exciting phase. The transition to kindergarten can be a big change for parents and children. From the daily routine, to the social interactions, to the academic skills, your child will have many “firsts” to learn and adjust to. Some parents worry about their child’s academic readiness, while others are concerned that their child may not be quite ready for kindergarten in a social-emotional sense. Some children are excited to start kindergarten, and others may be apprehensive as they don’t quite know what to expect. Not to worry, we are here to help! At Tutoring4Less, we understand the importance of a strong foundation and the positive impact it can have on a child’s educational future. These helpful tips from our tutoring company in Los Angeles can help prepare both you and your child for kindergarten. 

When Can My Child Start Kindergarten?

In California, districts must admit children to kindergarten at the beginning of the school year (or whenever they move into a district) if they will be five years of age on or before September 1. Children who are age-eligible for kindergarten may attend any pre-kindergarten summer program maintained by the school district. 

Private schools in California are not required to comply with the California statutes defining kindergarten. However, the California Association of Private Schools Organizations (CAPSO) indicates that many private schools do voluntarily the same kindergarten age cutoff as public schools. Public school officials may not automatically enroll those students, who attended a private school kindergarten, to first grade. It is always best to ask your school and/or school district if your child’s birthday is in the fall. 

When Is The First Day of Kindergarten in Los Angeles?

The first day of Kindergarten in Los Angeles may vary from year to year and between different schools or school districts. For the 2023-2024 school year, LAUSD, the largest school district serving Los Angeles students, starts on August 15, 2023. Depending on your child’s school, there may be “meet and greet” opportunities before August 15th, when your child can see the school campus and meet some of the other incoming kindergarteners or TK students. You can contact the school directly to inquire about the first day of Kindergarten for the current academic year, and any opportunities to visit the school before the first day.

What is Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?

Transitional kindergarten (TK) is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. In California, each elementary or unified school district must offer TK classes for all children eligible to attend. A child who completes one year in a TK program, may continue in a kindergarten program for one additional year. A child is eligible for TK if they have their fifth birthday between September 2 and December 2 (inclusive) and each school year thereafter.

Transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten (K) may be your child’s first-ever experience in a school setting – or it may be a time of transition, moving up from preschool to elementary school. Regardless, it’s an exciting and memorable milestone.

What Is My Child Expected To Know Before Starting Kindergarten in Los Angeles?

If you search online for “kindergarten readiness checklist California” you’ll likely find a long document describing the standards for entering kindergarten in your area. Below are sample skills that an incoming kindergarten student is expected to have:

  • Recognize and name basic shapes: square, circle, triangle, and rectangle.
  • Recognize and name numbers 1-10, even when they are out of order.
  • Recognize the letters of the alphabet, both uppercase and lowercase (even out of order)
  • Sort items by size, color, or shape
  • Count 10 objects, pointing to each one as she counts
  • Identify some letters of the alphabet
  • Know if two words rhyme
  • Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly
  • Be able to use scissors and glue
  • Hold a book and turn pages
  • Write their first name using upper- and lowercase letters, if possible
  • Learn sounds corresponding to vowels and consonants
  • Be independent in the bathroom
  • Get themselves dressed

In addition to this checklist, you may want to contact your child’s future school and ask for a specific list of expectations, to prepare your child for a smooth transition in the fall. 

Simple Steps To Help Your Child Prepare for Kindergarten: Foster The Love of Learning

Getting your child ready for TK/kindergarten is important – and chances are you have already been doing it all along! Talking, reading, and singing with your child are three simple, free ways to prepare your child for school. If you want to take specific steps to prepare your child for kindergarten this summer, here are some simple suggestions:

  1. Plan a visit to the new school and talk with your child about the things they will do at school.
  1. Read to your child every day.
  1. Explore and introduce basic concepts, such as letters, numbers, shapes and colors. For example, you might count the number of plates needed for dinner, or talk about different colors while sorting laundry.
  1. Provide plenty of play opportunities with other children. This will help your child learn to get along with others, to share toys and take turns.
  1. Play games that teach your child how to wait or take turns, such as “London Bridge” or “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
  1. Encourage your child to clean their own room and help with simple chores around the house. 
  1. Encourage independence and self-care: show your child how to get dressed, wash hands, put away their backpack or lunchbox, and perform similar daily tasks. 
  1. Give your child time to play. All children need free time to simply play. Giving your child time to play is very valuable, as playing provides children with many developmental benefits
  1. If possible, provide experiences away from you. Enroll your child in preschool or another activity, such as soccer, swimming lessons or storytime at your local library. 
  1. Make sure your child is in good health: physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually. Schedule regular wellness visits and immunizations, provide a variety of nutritious foods and be sure your child is getting enough sleep and exercise.
  1. Make a plan for before- and after-school. Make sure you and your child know the routine for before- and after-school care if that applies. Discuss where he/she will go, how he/she will get between school and child care, how he/she will get home, etc. Have a back-up plan for what to do in case you are late.

Help Your Child Develop Fine Motor Skills Before Kindergarten or TK

Fine motor skills play a crucial role in a child’s development and independence. As they master these skills, they become more capable of performing various tasks on their own. Here are some essential points to consider about fine motor skills:

  • Importance of Fine Motor Skills: Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers. These skills are vital for everyday activities like dressing, eating, and writing. Studies show that early motor difficulties in preschool children had significant effects on their academic achievement up until the sixth grade
  • Building Independence: As children practice and develop their fine motor skills, they gain the ability to do more things for themselves, fostering a sense of independence and self-reliance.
  • Preparing for Advanced Skills: Strong fine motor skills serve as a foundation for more complex tasks such as writing with a pencil, using a computer mouse, or playing a musical instrument.
  • Muscle Strength and Coordination: Engaging in activities that require fine motor skills helps increase muscle strength and hand-eye coordination, allowing children to perform tasks with precision and control.
  • Diverse Activities: There are numerous activities that can help improve fine motor skills, including coloring, drawing, using scissors, threading beads, and playing with playdough or clay.
  • Problem-Solving Abilities: Fine motor activities like puzzles and building blocks also enhance problem-solving abilities while honing fine motor skills simultaneously.
  • Encouraging Creativity: Artistic activities like finger painting and using small utensils during mealtimes not only improve fine motor skills but also encourage creativity and self-expression.
  • Developing Handwriting Skills: Practicing handwriting and writing letters are essential for refining fine motor skills required for writing effectively.

Here are some effective ways to support and enhance your future kindergartener’s fine motor skils:

  • Engage in Playdough and Clay Play: Provide your child with playdough and clay to manipulate and shape. Rolling, squeezing, and molding these materials can strengthen hand muscles and improve dexterity.
  • Encourage Coloring and Drawing: Offer coloring books, blank sheets of paper, and crayons to your child. Coloring and drawing help refine hand-eye coordination and fine motor control.
  • Practice Cutting with Safety Scissors: Introduce child-safe scissors and let your child practice cutting simple shapes and lines. Cutting gives young children independent movements of each finger. This activity hones hand-eye coordination and builds hand strength.
  • Play with Building Blocks: Building with blocks requires precise hand movements and finger control. Encourage your child to stack, arrange, and build structures to enhance their fine motor skills.
  • Use Puzzles and Manipulatives: Puzzles and other small manipulative toys are excellent for fine motor development. Assembling puzzles and handling small objects improve problem-solving abilities and fine motor control.
  • Try Threading and Stringing Activities: Provide large beads or objects with holes and a string for your child to thread. Stringing beads involves careful hand movements and helps develop focus and patience.
  • Involve in Finger Painting: Finger painting is a fun way to boost fine motor skills and creativity. Allow your child to explore colors and shapes using their fingers.

Tutoring4Less Prepares Students for Kindergarten in Los Angeles

The transition to kindergarten is an important milestone, and at Tutoring4Less we see dozens of students make this transition every fall. If you would like assistance with helping your child prepare for kindergarten academically, as well as to practice independence, organizational skills and social interaction, our Los Angeles tutoring program may be right for you. Although many parents associate the word “tutoring” with subject-specific help after school, our program provides strong foundational skills for students of all ages, as well as those entering kindergarten in the fall. Contact us for a free assessment and to discuss whether your rising kindergarten student would benefit from our services.