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Making school transitions positive

teacher reading to group of preschool students

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Erna Fishhaut

Revised July 2013 by Kathleen A. Olson, Program Director — Partnering for school success.

Reviewed May 2016 by Lori Hendrickson, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency.

Many parents wonder if their child is ready for kindergarten at age five. School readiness is complex. It is more than chronological age or the ability to recite numbers, letters, and colors. Expectations of children who enter kindergarten can vary from school to school. These are some general guidelines about the skills children should develop by the time they start a kindergarten program.

Questions to Consider

Here are some questions to think about as you decide if your child is ready for school:

When in Doubt

If you’re not sure whether or not your child is ready for kindergarten, here are some actions to take:

Above all, trust your instincts as a parent. You know your child best. Listen to others, then think about your child and what is best for him or her.

How to Prepare

One of the best things you can do to prepare your child for kindergarten is read to him or her. Reading to your child for as little as ten minutes a day helps to do the following:


Colorín Colorado. (2008). Is my child ready to enter kindergarten? Arlington, VA: Colorín Colorado, WETA.

Graue, M. E. (1993). Expectations and ideas coming to school. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8(1), 53-75. doi: 10.1080/0013188870290205

Ohio Department of Education. (2014). Helping your child make successful transitions: Home to school.

Tours, S. B., Dennis, L. R. (2015). Easing first day jitters: Strategies for successful home-to-school transitions. Young Children, 70(4), 84-89.

Related resources

Engaging Families in the Transition to Kindergarten (VIDEO (5:07) — National Center on Parents, Family, and Community Engagement — This video provides concrete strategies to support children and their families as they transition into kindergarten. It highlights the important role that developing strong partnerships between families, programs, and schools play in making this important transition successful.

How Behavior Changes During the Transition to School, Ages 5-6 — Find out what to expect when your child transitions to elementary school.

Early Learning/Kindergarten ReadinessMinnesota Department of Education — Find out about early learning programs in Minnesota and get parent guides for Minnesota Early Learning Standards in six languages.

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