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Tip Sheets

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Is kindergarten right around the corner for your child? Let him know you’re happy for him and confident he will do well. Here are some things to think about as the school year approaches.

What are the health requirements for a child to begin school?

  • A physical exam by a doctor or other health care provider. The provider should give you a signed form to take to school.
  • An eye exam performed by an optometrist or medical doctor.
  • All required immunizations. Start early so your child is ready for that first day. Talk to his doctor, your local health department, or call the Illinois Public Health Department at 217-782-4977 if you’re not sure what immunizations he needs.

What will the teacher expect my child to be able to do?

  • Hold and use a pencil, crayons, and scissors.
  • Speak well enough for others to understand what she is saying.
  • Say her full name and how she gets to and from school.
  • Handle self-care tasks such as hanging up her coat, going to the toilet, and washing her hands.
  • Get along with most children and adults and respect others’ property and rights.
  • Work alone and with others.
  • Sit and listen for about 15 minutes.
  • Remember and carry out two or three directions.
  • Finish a task she starts.
  • Follow rules and be willing to take turns.

What are some ways I can help prepare my child?

  • Help him learn about the world around him. Take him on interesting trips—to the library or grocery store, on a bus ride, or to a museum or park—and talk with him about what he sees. Encourage his curiosity and help him find answers to his questions.
  • Read to him and let him know that words can be written as well as spoken. 
  • Teach him the names of colors and shapes.
  • Help him see and hear how objects and sounds may be alike or different.

How can I find out what my local school expects of my child?

  • Take advantage of any kindergarten screening or school visits your school may offer.
  • Call the school office and ask for information on what is expected of children and parents.

What if my child needs special help to be ready for kindergarten?

  • Check with your local school district office to find out about screening and programs.
  • Call Child Find at 800-323-GROW (Voice and TTY) to find out about preschool screening or services for children who have special needs.
February 2012

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The opinions, resources, and referrals provided on the IEL Web site are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to take the place of medical or legal advice, or of other appropriate services. We encourage you to seek direct local assistance from a qualified professional if necessary before taking action.

The content of the IEL Web site does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education; nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education.

About IEL

The Illinois Early Learning Project Web site is a source of evidence-based, reliable information on early care and education for parents, caregivers, and teachers of young children in Illinois.

Email: iel@illinois.edu
Fax: 217-244-7732
Toll free: (877) 275-3227
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