In Iowa the only requirement for attending kindergarten is that a child is 5 years old by September 15.  As the transition to kindergarten draws near, families often seek information about their child’s “readiness” for participating in the kindergarten curriculum.  “Readiness” for kindergarten is more than knowing letters, sounds, and numbers. Other factors, such as overall health and well-being, social and emotional skills, language development, and enthusiasm and curiosity for learning, also need to be considered. Besides looking at the whole child when thinking about kindergarten “readiness”, it is also important for families, caregivers, and early education professionals to think about what type of kindergarten versus other early childhood experiences will be available for children.

Families who are concerned about their child’s future success in kindergarten should ask for assistance from school district staff in finding appropriate supports and early learning opportunities for their children, no matter if the child will spend another year in an early childhood setting (preschool) or make the transition to kindergarten. Often, a meeting including families, preschool staff and school district staff can help to clarify readiness concerns.  The team could also explore options for services and supports in order to smooth the transition for the child.