Kindergarten Readiness Checklist – Canadian Mom Blog


School is 2 weeks away for most of our little ones. To the seasoned veterans this can’t come soon enough, but for those with little ones just starting kindergarten; this next couple weeks will FLY by. Coming from a pro-preschool Mommy let me tell you, you may think you have the advantage here. Academically, yes you may, but emotionally speaking, preschool is merely the warm-up.

Big kid school feels like the big leagues, and your little is throwing the first pitch. My kids have been in daycare/preschool, a minimum of 3 days a week since they were 2, but something about them getting on a big yellow school bus, with their backpacks and shiny new shoes, still left me crying like a baby.

Okay, enough rambling, let’s get to it. Also, if you scroll to the bottom of this post, you’ll find a pdf printable version of the checklist that you can save and print at your leisure.

Keep in mind this is a large list compiled from a multitude of sites (listed below). Some sites listed as many as 100 topics but I found many of them repetitive and redundant, so using my sons JK report card and the reference material on hand, I have summarized these lists down to 55. Feel free to follow the links below if you’re looking to take things up to the next level.

The first thing you need to do is check with your school board about the age requirements for entering JK. In Ontario (and many other places) Kindergarten is not mandatory, with some parents choosing to enroll their kids straight into grade 1 at 6 years old. Other places like Hungary have implemented a mandatory policy requiring children to enroll at the age of 3.  Educate yourself on the policies and options you have available to you when deciding when and where to place your child in kindergarten. The general rule for Canadian and American parents wanting to enroll their children in JK is: the child must be turning 4 by the of the calendar year to enroll for September of said year.

What is kindergarten readiness?

Experts say no single or simple factor determines whether a child is ready for kindergarten. Instead, a child’s development needs to be evaluated on several fronts. His ability to think logically, speak clearly, and interact well with other children and adults are all critically important to success in school. A child’s physical development also needs to be considered. In reality, very few children are equally competent in all these areas. Many children who are advanced mentally may lag behind emotionally, while children who are extremely adept physically may be slower in terms of language development. –

Personal and Social Development

  • Know first and last name
  • Use words to solve problems and conflicts
  • Articulate feelings in words
  • Follow simple direction
  • Interact appropriately with adults and peers
  • Recognize authority figures
  • Seek help when needed
  • Show curiosity and eagerness
  • Work cooperatively
  • Show self-control
  • Show accountability and respect for others
  • Manage transitions from one activity to the next
  • Manage bathroom needs
  • Button shirts, pants, coats and zip zippers

Gross Motor Skills

  • Pedal and steer a tricycle
  • Bounce, kick, throw, catch a ball
  • Show some balance (1 foot)
  • Participate in outdoor activities like running, jumping, and climbing

Fine Motor Skills

  • Complete basic puzzle
  • Hold and use crayons, markers, pens, and pencils correctly
  • Build using blocks
  • Cut with scissors (straight lines, basic shapes, along models)
  • Trace basic shapes

Reasoning and Concept Development

  • Match and group objects according to size shape or color
  • Understand concepts of in/out, under/over, on/off, front/back
  • Have some concept of time (past, present, future, yesterday, tomorrow, today)

Language Skills

  • Recite the alphabet
  • Talk in 5-8 word sentences
  • Tell or retell stories and everyday experiences
  • Use descriptive language
  • Express ideas so others can understand
  • Look at books and pictures on their own
  • Listens with interest to stories being read to them
  • Can sequence 3 pictures to tell a logical story
  • Recognize rhyming words
  • Recognize uppercase and lowercase letters and match them to each other
  • Describe characters’ actions and emotions in a story
  • Try to write, scribble or draw
  • Attempt to write own name and can recognize it in print
  • Trace individual letters

Mathematical Concepts

  • Recognize simple patterns and mimic or continue them
  • Arrange objects in size order (small to big, big to small)
  • Group objects according to features
  • Count to 20
  • Recognize numerals 1-10
  • Understand and effectively use comparative words (more than or less than, small/large, short/tall, few/many, ect..)
  • Identify and draw basic shapes

The Arts

  • Recognize and name basic colors
  • Draw simple objects
  • Make up simple stories with objects (make believe)
  • Show interest in role play
  • Participate in group musical activities


  • Observes and asks questions about their environment
  • Basic animal recognition
  • Awareness of objects in the sky, with simple recognition (sun, moon, clouds, and lightning)

Every child is different, and we all know they learn differently. No need to throw yourself into a panic if your little scholar can’t count to 20 or tie their own shoes yet. Just go through the list, see where you child stands and you’ll see what needs work. Maybe they’re excellent at fine motor skills and numbers but need work on art and the alphabet. It will give you a general idea of what you need to focus on in the coming months. Also, there is a good chance your child already has a grasp on a lot of these concepts, learned through life lessons and play, so don’t be discouraged by this list! You will likely be surprised to see you only have a few things to work on.



Kindergarten Readiness via Pinterest

Kindergarten, a program for young children developed in the mid-nineteeth century Germany, first took root in ontario in the early 1870s. Kindergarten programs developed in communities in different parts of the province in the early 1900s and expanded significatly during WW2 and afterwords. The first junior kindergarten programs were established in Ottawa 1943-44 and then in Toronto 4 years later. By the late 1970, close to 100 percent of five-year-olds were enrolled in kindergarten programs. 1995 about 95 percent of 5-year-olds were attending junior kindergarten. –

Have I missed any big ones? Leave a comment below to weigh in! Do you think the expectations for Kindergartners has changed over the years? If so, how?

Featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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