Is your Child Ready for Kindergarten? Interview with Stacey Kannenberg

by Carla on December 4, 2009

One important duty of childcare centers and preschools is to prepare children to enter preschool. Is your child preschool ready?

In this interview with Stacey Kannenberg, co-author of the award winning, California and Texas Approved books Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!, discusses signs of kindergarten readiness.

OwnADaycare: What is kindergarten readiness?  Is there a best age to start kindergarten?

Kannenberg: I believe age 5 is the best time to start Kindergarten.  It might not always work that way due to late birthdays. But I also believe parents and preschool or daycare teachers can start getting children ready for Kindergarten as early as age 2.  Children at a young age can start to learn their colors, shapes, numbers and the alphabet.

OwnADaycare: What are some signs of kindergarten readiness that parents and educators should look for with respect to concept, physical, number, language, reading, and writing development?


  • Concept development – children will be tested on basic shapes, colors, the numbers 1-10 and the alphabet mixed up
  • Physical development – children should be able to use the bathroom, independently as well as able have good motor skills
  • Social and emotional development – Share, take turns, answer questions with more than a yes or no response
  • Number concept – be able to recognize numbers out of sequence, count objects to 10, start to count toward 100
  • Language – Children should be able to talk in complete sentences and hold a conversation with an adult and answer in more than just a yes or no response.
  • Writing and reading – Children should be able to focus along while someone is reading them a picture book as well as writing their first name.OwnADaycare: Are preschool readiness programs necessary or advisable?

Kannenberg: Yes!  As part of its $100 million, 10-year investment in school readiness, PNC Financial Services Group commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a national survey to measure the opinions of teachers, parents, U.S. Congress and more regarding this issue. Some interesting top-line points include:
A child’s readiness to start school as a Kindergartner is paramount for success – not only in school, but in life.

  • 56 percent say U.S. youngsters are not very/not at all prepared with basic skills, like counting and spelling their name, when they enter kindergarten.
  • The primary weakness here is that only 2 percent of parents say their own child was not very/not at all prepared with the basics.
  • Both  parents and teachers associate some clear benefits of having a child who is  ready to learn entering kindergarten versus one who is not as well prepared to  learn, including:
    • More likely to  attend college
    • More likely to have  greater self-confidence as adults
    • More likely to earn  higher income
    • Have lower rates in  social problems, such as teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency

Today, 38 states are talking about all day 4 year old Kindergarten programs.  We have a crisis in education and will continue to have one until parents, preschool teachers, Kindergarten teachers and kids are all on the same page.  How can we empower parents to be involved in education if we are not sharing with them the information that their children will be tested on until after they are already tested.  It’s like building a foundation without providing the blueprint.

OwnADaycare: In your opinion, can a child who has never attended preschool be as successful in kindergarten as a child who has attended preschool?

Kannenberg: Absolutely!! The parent is the first and foremost teacher and if that child has been preparing for school at home and has good social and motor skills, Kindergarten will a successful first year of school.

OwnADaycare: Any additional comments or tips?

Kannenberg: Yes, here are those 7 Things Kindergartener’s Need to Know and will be tested on within the first month of Kindergarten with the results shared with parents at their first parent/teacher conference:

  1. The upper case alphabet out of sequence or mixed up.  Kids will be asked to name the letters listed, such as: B, D, X, K, J, M, O, etc.
  1. The numbers to 10, out of sequence or mixed up.  Kids will be asked to name the letters, listed, such as:  2, 5, 9, 8, 1, 3, 4, etc.
  2. Kids will be asked to identify basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple
  3. Kids will be asked to identify basic shapes: circle, diamond, rectangle, triangle, oval and square
  4. Kids will be asked to identify basic coins: penny, nickel and dime
  5. Kids will be asked to count objects to 10
  6. Kids will be asked how far they can count to 100.

As the year progresses, kindergarteners will need to know both upper and lower case letters and numbers to 30, out of sequence.  More colors and shapes will be added including hexagon and octagon and more coins such as quarter and dollar.  Children need to know their name, address and phone number and be able to get dressed for outside play and use the bathroom independently, to make that first year a success!

About Carla

Carla Snuggs has written 88 post in this blog.

Carla is a freelance writer from Southern California. She has a B.A. in early childhood education and a Master of Library and Information Science degree specializing in public librarianship and youth services.

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