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Important to learn in Kindergarten



Please help. I am a first year teacher and I am going crazy. What are the most important things that kindergarten students need to know?

Please help!


Junior Member
I hear ya

I am feeling the same way--first year, don't really know if my students are where they should be, etc. I get ideas online, "kind-of" go by the state standards (but then it is difficult to decide which order to teach things in) and just go day-by-day. It is hard! I always feel inadequate and scattered, not to mention disorganized, but I think your first year is supposed to be this way. It is hard, but try not to be too hard on yourself.

Ms. N

New Member
What every Kinder ought to know

I felt the very same when I started . . . .nice to know you are not alone)

Are you familiar w/ the Core Knowledge Institute? These are the folks that publish the 'grader books' You know, what every first grader should know . . . .etc. There are actual Core Knowlege schools who's curriculum follow these books. Even if your school does not take on a school wide curriculum, these books are a WONDERFUL source to discren what your studetns need to know.

The way the Core Knowlege progam works is this . . it is sequential, and builds upon itself. So, especail in Kinder, it is a very basic 'core' of knowledge all sutdents should know - the book addresses all academic areas. You can also utilize the Core Knowledge web site . .there are lessons there you can download and resource lists to use.

My first school did not have a curriculum for Kinder and so I used the book and it was an outstanding jumping off point. I would strongly encourge you to go and at least sit with the book and really look through it and see if it might be what you are looking for.

Best wishes . . .

K/1 Teacher

Full Member
my opinion

In my opinion this is what kids should know by the end of K: By the way, I teach a K/1, but this is my first year doing K, so I'm talking more as a first grade teacher, and where I'd expect them to be at the beg. of the year.

They should recognize and be able to write all 26 upper and lower case letters.

They should be able to use invented spelling to write complete sentences/thoughts. They should at least write the initial and final consonants, and hopefully short vowels.

They should be able to read simple books, at about a level D/E Fountas and Pinnell level.

They should be able to read, write and order numbers up to 30, and count even higher, up to 100, ideally.

In terms of reading comprehension, they should summarize stories that they've had read to them, make predictions, and connect the stories to their own lives. They should know who the characters are, and should be able to tell the beginning, the middle and the end of the story.

Classroom Skills: Raise hand before speaking, use the bathroom when necessary, work independently, no tattling / solve conflicts appropriately, look at books independently for 10-15 minutes

These are just ideas off the top of my head. I suggest talking to the 1st grade teachers in your school and ask them what they would like the kids to know when they finish kindergarten. Also use your report cards for benchmarks and standards. Hope this helped!


important things

This is a difficult question to answer because different states have different standards for what kindergartners need to know. I would suggest looking at www.hubbardscupboard.org. Click on kindergarten and then click on assessment. If you look at the assessments on that page you will get the general idea of what kindergarteners need to know. Phonemic awareness is very important. There is a phonemic awareness assessment. I think you will find this site helpful, especially since it is your first year.


Senior Member
Kindergarten Necesities

I teach a preschool and kindergaten mix. The state and district standards are very broad and what our first through third grade teachers want is a bit undevelopmental. Our children must be reading and writing sentences to go on to first. They must identify numbers to 20 and be exposed to larger numbers up to 9,999. Addition and subtraction principles need to be established (doing problems with manipulatives). Our quarterly tests are not following what we teach and several of my students "need intervention" according to the data collected. I need to do more with money and classification.
Talk to your first grade teachers. This is where your students go. Ask for their opinions if you want usable inforamtion.


Junior Member

Write apply meaning and identify Numbers 0 to 20

Identify and give sounds for upper and lowercase letters (our state for some crazy reason does not require writing the letters)

Identify Initial sounds of words

Use basic language to express needs and wants

Uses pencil, scribbles, draws, write to convey meaning

Write first and last name

Concepts of print and use books correctly

11 colors

8 shapes

More less, hot cold, long short



Environmental Print

Follows directions, cooperates with others

Joins in with reading of familiar books: "Brown Bear, brown bear"

Uses scissors and glue correctly

Retells a personal story

Can tell about a picture

Can sound out phonemes, “I say sun, they go S-Uh-N”

**If you can do all these at my school you can go to first grade"**

My state's Kindergarten guide if you are interested: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ACAD/Kguide.htm



at my school, they want my Kinders reading by the time that they leave. Actually, it is expected that they read by Christmas. I feel really sorry for the children that cannot keep up with this fast pace. They now have to spend another year in Kindergarten, even if they know all of their letters and most of their sounds. When I was growing up, we learned about letters all year long. At the school that I am at now, they are expected to know all of the letters and sounds in the first two nine weeks. This is not SO unreasonable, but I just wish that I could let them be kids a little more. Our day is so packed with literacy requirements, that we barely get to do fun activities.

Mrs. M.

Kindergarten Skills

You should find out what your state requires and follow those standards. Design assessments for those standards to see where your kiddos are.


message for Lp

I can't believe how much they push. What state do you teach in? Do you think this will change? Please let me know. What is kindergarten coming to?


I teach in...

Tennessee. Not all of the K standards in TN push as much as my district, it depends on the county. I am basically teaching first grade. The sad thing is that I am going to have to hold back two students next year that probably would have passed using regular K standards. I, unfortunately, do not see things changing anytime soon.


Message for LP

Thanks for responding. I am so sorry to hear that. I do hope it gets better.

I know this seems silly. But do watch the Bachelor? Do you know who Sara Stone is?

Kelly in GA


I wanted to comment on the "standards" that these poor children are being held responsible for now. I think that many Kindergarten children are not ready emotionally for the pressure that is being placed on them. Boys especially are not always ready to move on emotionally. If they have a late birthday, my suggestion is they repeat if there is the slightest doubt. It gives the child another year to get a good strong grasp on the materials and not feel overwhelmed by everything they are forced to learn this year. When they are covering information that they already know, it actually helps them on another level because the confidence that it builds is not something you can ever teach in class!! They can serve as helpers to some of the new kinders who are struggling, which also helps to build their confidence. Any child that I have held back or recommended be held back, the parents have come to me later that following year and told me it was the best decision they could have ever made for their child.

I think the problem that most parents have with it is the stereotype of a child that is held back as being stupid (for lack of a better word). I think this is such a shame because every child learns differently and every child learns at their own pace.

Also, some children never attend a day of school until they go to Kindergarten. These children especially need to concentrate on building social and emotional skills.

Well, I could go on for days about this, soooooo........

Best of luck to you, contact the county school district, the state education department and you can get a copy of the standards.



Betty G

I agree with Kelly...a lot of boys with late birthdays are developmentally delayed and need another year of growth, especially with eye-focus which doesn't fully develop before age 7. In Florida we had a pre-first program (which has been discontinued for funding reasons). Speaking as a teacher and a mother of a pre-first child, I feel it was the best thing to happen to these children. They weren't retained in Kindergarten, (although it is a retention) so the stereotype wasn't there, and prepared them for sitting for long periods of time in first grade. (This was before centers came into being where children are up and about going to different centers). Their self-esteem was boosted and they enjoyed being the older kids in the following grades. My son is now in Medical School (so what if he's a doctor a year later!) and his peers from pre-first are teachers, med students, law students and one meteorologist!


Senior Member
By the end of kindergarten we expect our students to know the number from 1-10, indientfy and form, and it is nice if they know them to 20. Skip count by 2's and 10's. They should know all the alphabet, form and identify as well as the sound, be able to tell the beginning sound for sure, but preferable to be able to record many of the sounds heard when writing and should be able to write a simple sentence, although most can do more (using inventive spelling of course). Know a variety of sight words and be able to use them when reading a writing. And able to read simple books with repetitive phrasing.