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Services at a Glance:

Parent-Child Therapy
Individual Play Therapy
Parenting Guidance
School Observation
Teacher Consultation
Preschool Selection
In-Home Support

 

Symptoms I Can Help With:

  • Tantrums
  • Aggression
  • Night Terrors
  • Defiance
  • Difficult Transitions
  • Hyperactivity
  • Anxiety
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Low Frustration Tolerance
  • Poor Social Skills
  • Withdrawn Behavior
  • School Expulsion
  • Parent-Child Relationship Problems
Rebecca L. Soffer, PsyD
#PSY22279

Office Locations:

1035 San Pablo Ave, Suite 5
Albany CA 94706

2940 Camino Diablo
Suite 105
Walnut Creek, CA 94597

510-282-5710

[email protected]
African American Mother with Daughter
African American Boy

What is Kindergarten Readiness?


There is a lot of emphasis these days on children being ready for Kindergarten, paricularly in light of new eligibility laws based on children's birthdays. Academic Readiness refers to children's early literacy, math and language skills. Here are some examples of Academic Readiness Skills:
  • Word and letter recognition
  • An interest in stories
  • Attempting to write letters or their own name
  • Number recognition
  • Counting to ten
  • Speaking clearly and understandibly
  • Using appropriate vocabulary to identify colors, shapes, animals, food, articles of clothing, etc..
But is Academic Readiness equal to Kindergarten Readiness? Or does Kindergarten Readiness refer to something more?

Kindergarten Readiness refers to the underlying ability of Kindergarten aged children to concentrate on a task and learn a new skill. Since learning is inherently social, it is also comprised of a child's ability to engage appropriately with their teachers and peers. The ability to concentrate, learn and have good relationships is reliant on a deeper skill called self-regulation. Self-Regulation is defined as the ability to control reactions to stress, and to recover from uncomfortable sensations and strong emotions. Thus, a child's burgeoning ability to read, write, and learn new vocabulary is inextricably linked to a child's abiilty to regulate his or her emotions. Here is an example: A child who is easily overwhelmed by frustration and throws a tantrum each time a new task in introduced by his teacher will not incorporate new information and grow academically at the same rate as other children. Children who are overwhelmed by strong emotions, such as anxiety, anger, sadness and even joy and excitement, will not be able to learn the skills that they need to thrive in future academic settings. 

Children who are ready to go to Kindergarten are able to do the following, most of the time:
  • Share 
  • Take turns
  • Listen 
  • Choose one response over another when stressed or overwhelmed (ex. walk away from a conflict instead of hitting)
  • Exhibit empathy
  • Follow the teacher's instructions
  • Sit quietly and focus on a task 
  • Express his or her emotions ("I am feeling angry today because my mom yelled at me") instead of acting impulsively 
  • Transition into and out of the classroom with ease
Many of these skills derive naturally from children who feel secure in their relationships with their parents. Children cannot be Kindergarten ready without the emotional health that comes from secure, nurturing relationships. For more on "Parenting for Kindergarten Readiness," see http://psychologyinpreschool.blogspot.com/2010/03/parenting-for-kindergarten-readiness.html