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School Readiness: Skills You Can Work on at Home to Help Your Kid Thrive on their First Day

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

Close-up view of teacher and student at Capstone Christian Academy, one of the Christian schools in Las Vegas

The first day of school at private elementary schools in Las Vegas, as well at many charter schools and public schools in the valley, is rapidly approaching. You want your child to be as prepared as possible on their first day, but school readiness doesn't just mean your kids return to the classroom with fresh school supplies, clothes and a new haircut. It also means they return with newly developed skills that will help them thrive socially and academically in the classroom.

We put together a checklist of easy-to-learn skills you can practice at home to make sure your child is ready on their first day. Leave us a comment and let us know if you think we missed any!

Reading Skills

  • Enjoy listening to stories

  • Know how to find the first page of a book and which way to flip the pages

  • Recognize familiar logos and signs, like stop signs

  • Recite the alphabet and identify most of the letters

  • Recognize and try to write their own name

  • Recognize when two words rhyme (like cat and bat)

  • Start to connect letter sounds to letters (like the sound of the first letter in their name)

  • Draw a picture to help express an idea

Language Skills

  • Speak in complete sentences and be understood by others most of the time

  • Use words to express needs and wants

  • Understand two-step directions

  • Make comparisons and describe relationships between objects like big/little, under/over, and first/last

Math Skills

  • Count from 1 to 10 without skipping numbers

  • Match a number to a group of five or fewer items (“I see three cats”)

  • Recognize and name basic shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle)

  • Understand more than and less than

  • Arrange three objects in the right order (like from smallest to biggest)

  • Name or point to the colors in a box of eight crayons

Self-Care Skills

  • Use the bathroom and wash up on their own

  • Get dressed on their own (but may still need help with buttons, zippers, and shoelaces)

  • Know and can say their first and last name and age

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Separate from a parent or caregiver without getting overly upset

  • Interact with other kids

  • Pay attention for at least five minutes to a task an adult is leading, like listening to directions for an activity or discussing the day’s weather during circle time

Fine Motor Skills

  • Use a pencil or crayon with some control

  • Use scissors

  • Copy basic shapes

  • Make distinct marks that look like letters and write some actual letters, especially the ones in their name

  • Put together a simple puzzle

Gross Motor Skills

  • Run

  • Jump with feet together

  • Hop on one foot

  • Climb stairs

  • Bounce a ball and try to catch it

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