What determines whether a child is ready for kindergarten? Ability to use the toilet unaided? An absence of separation anxiety? Surely it comes down to social skills and not academic ability — that's what they're going to kindergarten for, right?
Well, it seems not — at least not in every kindergarten. One Hamilton County, Ohio, mom has caused a stir by posting the list of things her young son was expected to know before starting kindergarten. There are no fewer than 11 of them, and they may come as a shock to some parents.
The most confusing requirement is being able to "identify 30+ letters," with many adults concluding that they (and their 26-letter alphabet) aren't ready for kindergarten either. Fortunately, a kindergarten teacher was on Reddit to explain that if you count lowercase and uppercase, there are actually 52 letters. Phew.
In the U.S., kids generally start kindergarten at age 5 — either they are 5 at the beginning of the year or turn 5 by a specific date during the year; it varies by state and school district. But if we take 5 as the average age of a kindergartener, just how realistic is it to expect them to fulfill every requirement on this list?
For some kids, nothing on the list would pose a problem. But we're comfortable going out on a limb here and saying that for a lot of 5-year-olds, several of the requirements might not be met just yet. And that shouldn't be a concern. Children develop at different paces, and just because one 5-year-old can't yet write their name or cut with scissors, it doesn't mean they're going to be at the bottom of the class throughout their entire school life.
That doesn't mean parents shouldn't spend any time on reading, writing and fine motor skills before sending their kids to kindergarten. Many parents just do this without even thinking too much about it. So as a guide (or a wish list, if you like), there's really nothing wrong with this list. It's more helpful to view it as that instead of a rigid list of requirements, and use it to help ourselves prepare our little ones for going to kindergarten.
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