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Is Your Child Ready for School?

02/09/2016 Published by: Amy Soupene

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Categories: Your Child's Ages & Stages

If you have a child who will be starting pre-K or Kindergarten in the fall, now is the time to start preparing.  Many districts will be offering their version of a Pre-K or Kindergarten Round-Up.  These events are quite helpful in preparing your child, and you, for what’s ahead.

How can you know if your child is ready?  And what can you do now to prepare for that first day?  I’d like to answer 3 questions that will help you in this process.


1. Is My Child Ready to Start?

 “How To Tell if Your Child is Ready for Kindergarten”, available in the SchoolQuest Resource Library, contains many ideas as well as links to other resources

To quickly summarize we’ll begin with the fact that no one knows your child as well as you.  On a gut level, do you feel your child is ready for the classroom? 

The following are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How does your child interact with other children?  Does he show an interest in making friends or is he overly anxious about separating from you?
  • Can your child choose an activity and stick with it for short periods of time?
  • Does your child enjoy books?  Can he sit and listen to a story without interrupting?
  • Can your child manage his bathroom needs, button his own coat, and zip his own zippers?
  • How will your child fit into the program at the school he will attend?  Some schools focus more on academics and expect children to come to school ready to learn.  Developmental Kindergartens are more willing to take the time to work with children on different levels of readiness.

There is no one right answer.  Your child will do an amazing amount of growing and maturing over the course of the year.  It is up to you to decide, is my child ready to start?


2.  Does my Child Have to Start?

Not all states require pre-K or Kindergarten attendance.  And many states have differing age requirements to attend.  If your child has a birthday close to the cut-off date you may have the option to wait a year to allow for growth and maturation.  The best answers to your questions about age requirements and mandatory attendance will come from your school district. 

There are also many resources on SchoolQuest that you may find helpful. The article “Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade 1 Registration Requirements”  offers many tips and links to help you prepare and decide.  The "State Education Resources – Early Childhood Education" will direct you to your state’s requirements. 


3.  What Does My Child Need to Start?

The article “Getting Your Ducklings in a Row” is filled with all kinds of information to help you successfully and efficiently prepare for the start of school.  School districts often require each student to be current in their immunizations before registration.  How can you find out what’s required in your state?  Please read “Immunizations” in the SchoolQuest Library. 

 Items That Are Commonly Needed for Registration:

  • Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Photo ID of the parent or guardian
  • Records of any special needs your child may have; such as test results, a recent IEP, or past modifications
  • Proof of residency
  • Evidence of a recent physical exam of your child.  The district may require the doctor to fill out a specific form.
  • Possible screenings: visual, auditory, dental, or lead.  Again, the district may have specific forms for these.
  • And of course, your child’s immunizations.


To wrap up all this information, please start by visiting your school district’s website to find necessary information.  The three district-specific areas to check are: age requirements for attendance, documents needed for registration, and if any dates are scheduled for a pre-K or Kindergarten Round-Up.

Next, please visit SchoolQuest and its many resources.  The Resource Library offers many articles for this age group in the section “Elementary School: PreK to 5th Grade”.   The “State Education Resources” will identify specific areas of interest to you that are available in your state. And if you happen to have a move coming up, you can “Find & Compare Schools” in what will be your new home. 

Thank you so much for reading!  Please feel free to comment or ask questions below.

Best wishes,


***Help us get the word out about SchoolQuest™ by liking us on Facebook!   Please visit our Homeroom on-line community and join the discussion. We’d love to hear what your thoughts are about this important topic!  SchoolQuest™ is an initiative of the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®).   Follow us on the MCEC® Twitter feed . . . for the sake of the child!  

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