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It can be an exciting and emotional time for children and their parents when a child officially begins his school career with kindergarten. However, is that child ready? And, how do parents prepare their child to be ready? The Illinois Early Learning Project has a great tip sheet on this topic that I would like to share:

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

  • A physical exam by a health care provider. The provider should give you a signed form to take to school.
  • A dental exam performed by a licensed dentist.
  • 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 your health care provider 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.
  • Say his full name and how he 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 the property and rights of others.
  • 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 simple 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 her and let her 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 developmental screening and programs.
  • Call (800) 851-6197 or visit www.childfind-idea-il.us to learn more about services for children who have special needs.

Source: Illinois Early Learning Project, https://illinoisearlylearning.org/tipsheets/readykindergarten/