Lisa asks: What did your kids know (and not know) before kindergarten?

Lisa’s getting a bit anxious about Addy going to JK, and doesn’t want her kid to be behind.

By Lisa van de Geyn
Lisa asks: What did your kids know (and not know) before kindergarten?

In seven weeks my kid will start kindergarten. Math’s not my thing, but I know that’s only 49 days. I’d be full of it if I didn’t admit that I’m seriously starting to panic. I’m also seriously starting to think that I’m a crappy parent.

Here’s why.

I was reading a couple of the “Welcome to Kindergarten” presentations that schools presented to parents in my region, and under the “I’m ready for kindergarten” category are skills like:

“I can go to the bathroom and flush the toilet by myself.”
“I can dress myself.”
“I can sit and eat my lunch by myself.”
“I can use scissors to cut paper.”
“I can print my name.”
“I can print all the letters of the alphabet.”
“I know the sound each letter makes.”
“I can count to 10.”
“I can print numbers 1 to 10.”
“I know my colours.”
“I know my shapes.”

So. Yeah. Let’s start at the top:

  • Addy has peed a couple of times now on the potty (yay!!!!) but she’s definitely not going to the bathroom on her own. Let’s not discuss poop. We can’t even get pee to be a regular thing. Crap. (Pun intended.)
  • I guess she can dress herself, but she generally doesn’t… because we’re always in a hurry and she’s still in diapers. I wish she could change her own diaper. If she could, she’d be fully potty trained by now.
  • She can eat on her own, obviously, but doesn’t like getting her hands dirty. Will she freak out if some of her ketchup or mayo spills out of her sandwich? Most likely.
  • She can kind of hold scissors. Guess I better get out the scissors.
  • “I can print my name.” BLANK STARE
  • “I can print all the letters of the alphabet.” BLANK STARE (Does my kid even know all the letters of the alphabet? She recites the alphabet song, but that doesn’t mean she can look at a letter and say, “Oh, of course I know that’s a ‘Y,’ Mommy.”)
  • She can definitely count to 10… and much higher on her own. Finally I’ve done something right. She can even add. She’s way more advanced in math than I was at her age. She also sometimes says “eleventeen,” but nobody’s perfect.
  • She’s known her colours and shapes since she was, like, one. The kid knows the difference between fuchsia and magenta. She knows that a stop sign is an octagon. I’m not worried about this one.

Addy’s smart. She’s sassy, funny, super intelligent, perceptive, etc. Her mother, on the other hand, has apparently been lazy. Or too busy working. Or not patient enough. (Or all of the above.)

How do kids Addy’s age know how to write their name? And every letter of the alphabet? Here I was just worried about the whole bathroom situation, and now I’m completely anxiety-ridden about all the things that my kid doesn’t know that she’s supposed to have under her belt in a mere 49 days. It appears that we have some serious work to do before September rolls around.

I’m not suggesting every single three-turning-four-year-old masters these things before starting JK. I certainly didn’t when I was four turning five. I guess this is where the kids who have been in daycare and preschool have the upper hand — some of these kids have been learning these skills for years. I guess I should’ve been working on these things too. I’m hoping it’s not too late to start — I’d hate to have to pull her out; she’s so excited about going to JK.

So tell me: Did your JK-to-be know all of these skills before starting school? If not, what happened?

This article was originally published on Jul 17, 2012

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