Kindergarten skills checklist

Is your child ready for kindergarten? Refer to this skills checklist. 

Learning Stages

Is your child ready for kindergarten? Although each child is unique and develops at his or her own pace, most educators and developmental experts agree upon a certain set of skills as essential tools for further development and achievement in school. Here’s a checklist of the developmental skills children need exposure to and knowledge of before they enter kindergarten.

Kindergarten readiness checklist

Social skills

  • Uses words to solve problems or conflicts
  • Uses words like please, thank you and excuse me
  • Adjusts to new situations
  • Attempts new tasks knowing it’s okay to make mistakes
  • Shows pride in accomplishments
  • Follows a simple direction
  • Stays with an activity to completion
  • Asks for help
  • Interacts appropriately with adults and peers
  • Respects the rights, property and feelings of others
  • Works cooperatively (listens to others, shares and takes turns)
  • Demonstrates increasing self-control
  • Participates in clean-up activities
  • Takes responsibility for own belongings (lunch, coat, etc.)
  • Is able to dress self
  • Adheres to a routine and schedule for personal hygiene, eating meals and going to bed
  • Uses good hygiene habits and table manners
  • Uses appropriate bathroom skills
  • Follows simple safety rules
  • Offers to help peers and family
  • Tries to regulate emotions properly and articulates feelings in words

Motor skills

  • Puts puzzles together
  • Cuts with scissors
  • Holds and uses crayons, markers, pens and pencils correctly
  • Builds using blocks
  • Tries to tie own shoes
  • Bounces, kicks, throws and catches a ball
  • Rides a tricycle
  • Enjoys outdoor activities, like running, jumping and climbing

Reasoning & concept development

  • Matches or groups objects according to size, shape or color
  • Groups objects that are the same
  • Understands concepts of in/out, under/over, on/off, front/back, etc.
  • Shows an understanding of the passing of time, including concepts of before and after, and today, yesterday and tomorrow
  • Experiments enthusiastically with new games and toys, sometimes in a trial-and-error manner
  • Describes how objects are the same or different

Language skills

  • Talks in sentences 
  • Follows one- and two-step oral directions
  • Uses sentences that include two or more ideas
  • Uses descriptive language
  • Knows by heart and recites some common nursery rhymes and songs
  • Pretends, creates and makes up songs or stories
  • Tells or retells stories and/or everyday experiences
  • Asks questions and expresses curiosity
  • Expresses ideas so that others can understand

Reading skills

  • Looks at books or pictures on their own
  • Pretends to read books by reading the pictures
  • Tries to read in everyday situations (signs, labels, etc.) 
  • Recognizes rhyming words
  • Blends sounds into words
  • Recognizes some common words in print
  • Recognizes many uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Recognizes some letter sounds
  • Describes characters’ actions and feelings in a story
  • Relates stories to personal experiences
  • Puts events of a story in order

Writing skills

  • Tries to write, scribble or draw
  • Asks you to write words or notes to others
  • Attempts to write own name and recognizes own name in print

Mathematics concepts

  • Compares the size of groups of objects using language such as “more,” “less” and “same as”
  • Arranges objects in size order (big to small, or small to big)
  • Uses comparison words, like "bigger," "smaller," "heavier," etc.
  • Understands concepts of none, some and all and more than and less than
  • Identifies and draws a square, circle and triangle
  • Correctly counts four to ten objects
  • Knows that the final number counted represents the total number of objects in a set
  • Recognizes some numbers, 1 – 10
  • Can distinguish numbers from letters, and understands that numbers relate to quantity
  • Understands the effects of addition and subtraction


  • Shows interest and asks questions about objects and events observed in their environment
  • Notices common properties and differences among objects and materials
  • Knows some facts about common plants and animals, such as what they eat and baby names
  • Recognizes some objects in the sky such as the sun, moon, clouds and lightning

Creative arts & music

  • Recognizes and names basic colors
  • Draws recognizable shapes and simple objects
  • Tells a story with pictures
  • Moves to a beat
  • Explores with common musical instruments
  • Enjoys improvising or copying musical patterns

Social studies

  • Recognizes basic traditions such as birthdays
  • Understands that people live in different parts of the worlds and have different customs and traditions
  • Explores simple maps and visual representations of neighborhoods or communities