Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Preschool boy using light table

Learning to share, recognizing the feelings of others and making new friends – when it comes to school readiness, these important skills lay the foundation for learning about numbers and how to read and write.

Leading child development researcher Dr. Adele Diamond has found young children who can’t regulate their social and emotional behaviour aren't ready to learn. The development of these self regulation, or executive functioning skills has a stronger association with academic success than a child's IQ or entry-level reading or math skills.

What’s important is to decide whether your child is physically, mentally and socially ready for school. According to Let’s Talk About the Early Years, a report released by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the question isn’t so much about readiness for school; it’s about readiness for life. Although most children are born with strong potential to grow, learn and thrive, one in five kids have lost ground by the time they’re school age.

Click here to learn about what kinds of skills are fostered in an effective early learning classroom:


Facilitating Children's Play: Dr. Jane Hewes has tips on how you can create an environment that allows children to explore their environment and learn through play.

Math Landmarks: This document contains information about core math skills, such as compensation, patterns and cardinality. The skills are also identified in the math-related play outlined in the files below:

Jumping Frogs: Read how one child develops correspondence and compensation skills, thanks to a simple game of jumping frogs, rocks or marbles.

Marble Soup: Ratios are the name of the game when a young child decides to make "soup" out of different types of marbles.

Measuring Blocks: Mathematical reasoning and problem solving are just some of the math skills gained by playing with a simple set of blocks.

More Toast?: Breakfast time can be a great opportunity to think mathematically, as one mom and her son discovered.

The Sleepover: A simple bedtime story can open the door to another "what if" conversation that involves math.

Assessment: Learning cannot take place without assessment. It's especially important children are given opportunities to evaluate and participant in their own learning. This document lists what to look for in an early learning classroom.

Supporting Research:

• Diamond, A., Barnett. W.S., Thomas, J., & Munro, S., (2007). Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control, Science, 318, 1387-1388.

Let’s Talk About the Early Years: Report by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. (2011). Alberta Health and Wellness. Edmonton, Alberta

Ready to Learn? A Look at School Readiness in Young Children. (2008). Canadian Council on Learning. Ottawa, Ontario.