How to tell if your child is ready for kindergarten

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX --  These days, many parents are confused about when to enroll their child in kindergarten. Some are signing up their kids as early as age four, others are waiting until they are six.

Sunrise Preschools is a leader in school readiness using the creative curriculum in 25 learning centers Valley-wide. Its president, Dana Vela, is an expert in early childhood education.

We spoke to her on this National Kindergarten Day about determining your child's readiness.

"I think the most important thing that parents can do is make sure that their child is ready to be away from them socially," she says. "So participate with them in playgroups, maybe at church or preschool; a part-time situation where they say goodbye to their child, let their child interact with other children for a little while, and come back to pick up their child."

Vela says there are some clear signs that will help you identify if your child is ready.

Here are tips and milestones for parents to review to help determine a child's readiness, as well as prepare them for the jump to kindergarten.

*Become familiar with the school cut off dates.  Most school districts require a child to be 5 years of age by September 1st. 
*Kindergarten readiness includes interacting well socially with other children their age such as playing nicely, sharing, etc.

*Academically, a child should be able to listen to instructions and know the basics such as the alphabet, counting numbers and have basic fine motor skills (hold a pencil, use scissors, etc.)

*If you're not sure if your child is ready, ask your child's preschool teacher to assess his or her readiness.  Family and friends who know your child  well and even your family pediatrician may also be able to provide insight into whether or not your child is ready for kindergarten.

*Visit a kindergarten class at the school where you plan to enroll your child to get a sense of the day to day activities.  Can you envision your child interacting and joining in with the tasks?

Sunrise Preschools