There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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How do parents know if their child is ready for kindergarten? Here is a time-honored list of skills that are considered prerequisites:

• Knows names of colors
• Knows some letters
• Can identify numbers 1-10
• Writes first name
• Copies two-part figures
• Counts items one by one
• Plays cooperatively
• School districts may modify this list somewhat.

Most children today are ready for kindergarten when they are five. Our kids are so sophisticated these days what with TV and preschool that most have no trouble with these skills.

Some children for a variety of reasons (lack of stimulation or experience or opportunity, specific learning disabilities, emotional problems, immaturity, or shyness) may not be ready for school.

The biggest concern most parents have is what to do with a child who will be ” a young five” when September rolls around.

Today AGE rather than READINESS is the sole criterion for school entrance. The rationale is that social aspects are just as important as intellectual aspects and that kids are traumatized by being the littlest or the youngest in a class. The fallacy is that someone will always be smallest or youngest.

My philosophy is that we should look at the child not the birth certificate to decide (duh!).

Just before my 4th birthday I was tested by the school district to see if I was ready for school. I vaguely remember the experience. My mother has told me that she watched from behind a mirror and was concerned about that I didn’t know the names of coins. But I told the examiner that a penny was for gum, a nickel for candy, and a dime for an ice cream (you can tell how long ago this was!). I “passed” and was allowed to enter kindergarten at 4. School was always fun for me and I actually enjoyed being the youngest in college and med school.

For a couple of generations it has been very unfashionable to push children. We have been so concerned about keeping our kids happy at all costs that we do such silly things as let their brains turn to mush in front of the TV screen and put factors like social adjustment ahead of learning. We should get back to acknowledging that all children have a job to do: they have to learn. We should not get in their way.

Do you sense that I have a pro-early-school bias? You’re absolutely right. If we want to improve the school performances of US kids we need high-quality public preschool for all.

Why am I passionate about early school experiences for all our children?

• We are a social mammal. Children belong with other little mammals.
• Children actually learn more from peers than parents.
• The young human brain is programmed to learn. The more we learn the better it works.
• The world is very complex and challenging. We need challenged brains.
• When we expect the best from our children we give them a heartening message: You can do it!