Does Kindergarten Readiness Really Matter?

Does my child have self-care skills and the independence needed for kindergarten?

Kindergarten teachers list skills such as toileting independence (going by themselves, washing hands) and feeding independence as essential for their students success. Can your child open and close their lunch containers, open a packet of string cheese, peel the lid off of an applesauce cup, pack and unpack their lunch box?  In snowy Minnesota winters, can they independently get their snowpants, boots, coats, hats, and mittens on? Do they store them back in their tote when they come back inside? Are they aware of when they need to blow their nose and do they take care of that need themselves? If they cough or sneeze, do they do it into their elbow to help inhibit the spread of germs?  Can they tie their shoes, zip and unzip their coats, handle a pencil, pen and scissor?  

These are basic things, but some surveys indicate that 69-77% of teachers of early elementary students found their students struggled with these tasks!

Our Montessori classrooms filled with tools and materials that not only do children love to use, but also aid in the development of independence, self-care and fine-motor skills! Our dressing frames include zippers, buttons, ties and buckles; our practical life activities develop shoulder, arm, hand and finger muscles all while encouraging independence. It is the little things that our teachers provide for the child: opening and closing activities, food preparation activities, and more! Our Montessori philosophy is to help a child “help himself” rather than doing things for the child. (You’ve seen it with your own children – how proud they are when they can do something for themselves!)

preschool children at desk

Does my child have the social and emotional skills for kindergarten?

In June 2024, the Education Week State of Teaching survey of pre-k-third-grade teachers, said that, compared to five years ago, 85-94% of early elementary teachers say their students have difficulty listening and following and instructions, and sharing and cooperating with their peers.

Learning is a social process, so a child’s social and emotional skills are vital to their academic success – in fact, studies show test scores are positively impacted by healthy social-emotional development!

In our classrooms, social-emotional development is supported first of through positive, nurturing relationships between our teachers and the children.  The Montessori philosophy is based on a profound respect for the child and their individuality in personality, interest and development. The concept of helping a child “help himself” applies to social interactions in the classroom, where we role play social interactions (known as “grace and courtesy” in the Montessori world), give lessons on conflict-resolution (or peaceful interactions), and gently guide children who are finding it difficult to work out a situation themselves.

preschool children with globe

Does my child have the academic and language skills needed for kindergarten?

While kindergarten is intended to be a transition year before elementary school, children are benefited when they enter kindergarten with some basic skills, including:


  • Be able to recognize and count 1-10
  • Begin writing and copying numbers
  • Recognize colors
  • Recognize patterns
  • Understand more than/less than
  • Recognize basic shapes
  • Recognize units of time such as day, night, week, yesterday, today, tomorrow
  • Comparison: taller/shorter, bigger/smaller, heavier/lighter, etc.
learning to count at preschool


  • Recognize and write their own name
  • Use clear sentences and express needs and wants
  • Able to listen to stories and navigate books correctly
  • Ask and answer questions
  • Recognize rhyming words
  • Recognize some of the lower- and upper-case alphabet, beginning to understand phonetic sounds
  • Able to say full name and birthday
  • Able to say parent/caregiver’s name and phone number
  • Recite days of the week and months of the year
learning to spell at preschool


  • Talk about weather
  • Use words such as night, day, sun, moon, stars, cold, hot to describe their environment
  • Notice and describe seasonal changes
  • Understand living and non-living (living things need food, water and air)
  • Describe how things are alike or different
  • Recognize parts of the body


In our classrooms, children explore all these and much, much more!

Does my child have the attention skills needed for kindergarten?

Benefits of Early Childhood Programming


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