Ready for Kindergarten: Academic milestones

4 ways to tell if your child is academically ready for the next step.

Learning Stages

By Clement Chau, Ph.D.

LeapFrog Learning Expert

As the children and media expert on the Learning Team, Clement primarily works on toys and digital products related to social studies, creativity, life skills and early childhood development. Before joining LeapFrog, he was an early education consultant, a media literacy researcher at the MIT Comparative Media Studies department, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston, and a researcher and lecturer at the Tufts University Developmental Technologies Research Group. Clement received his PhD from Tufts University's Eliot Pearson Department of Child Development and completed his dissertation on evaluating children's mobile apps.

Kindergarten is a resting and regrouping point after a long uphill climb in development. In kindergarten, the information gathered during previous years is integrated and children are focused on mastery. Many kids seem cool and calm compared to just a year prior.

To understand whether your child is ready for the academic challenges of kindergarten, assess how your child compares to the following statements in 4 key areas.

Letters & sounds

  • I can match some letters and sounds and begin to recognize rhymes.
  • I can trace letters and write some on my own.
  • I can read some common words and recognize words on signs and labels.

Creative expression

  • I can name basic colors and shapes.
  • I can express myself creatively and tell a story using pictures.

Number recognition

  • I recognize some numbers and use numbers to describe “how many?”
  • I love to count things. I might count how many toys I have or how many traffic lights we pass on the way home.
  • I can distinguish numbers from letters, and I know that numbers relate to quantity.

Similar or different

  • I can describe how objects are similar or different.
  • I ask questions about objecs and events to grow my understanding of the world.