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Is my child ready for kindergarten?

This is a common question parents ask during the later preschool years. There are a few indicators to help you make the decision if your child is ready for Kindergarten or if another year would be beneficial.


  • can recite their ABC’s
  • knows all uppercase letters and at least half of their lowercase letters
  • can identify and “read” 5-10 sight words
  • can count to 50
  • recognizes rhyming words
  • can write their first name


  • engages and shares with other peers of the same age
  • can follow two step directions
  • can pay attention for ten minutes at a time
  • can solve basic problems for themselves
  • will actively participate in group time
  • eager and willing to learn


  • able to take care of their own basic needs
  • can identify needs and wants
  • fine motor skills (can hold a pencil, trace, button, zip, etc…)

When it came time to make that decision for my own children, I asked for input from my child’s preschool teacher, and then I prayed over the decision asking for wisdom. While they are gauges for you to use, you ultimately know your child best.

If you have a strong feeling one way or the other, go with your gut. I always tell parents you typically won’t regret holding your child back for a year but could if you send them too early. The most important thing for your child to feel when they leave kindergarten is a love for school. Yes, they will have rough days, but kindergarten is the foundation.

While these are all a starting point for your decision making, an extra year to hone in on some of these skills helps children feel more confident when they are entering a classroom five days a week. Transitional Kindergarten is a year between pre-k and Kindergarten for students to get an idea of what kindergarten will be like!

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About the Authors: Jennifer Helton is the church administrator of ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, TN. Elizabeth Hall is the Transitional Kindergarten teacher at ClearView’s Children Center.