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EDUCATION: SMART RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS
| THE RESEARCH FILE

A Primer to Kindergarten

September 15, 1997

What makes a kid ready for kindergarten?

These days, with the popularity of book titles such as "What Every Kindergartner Needs to Know" and "Phonics Fun" for the preschool set, it's clear that '90s parents believe the answer is academics.

But 400 kindergarten teachers can't be wrong. Polled by Lawrence Johnson, associate dean of the University of Cincinnati's College of Education, the teachers said this is what 5-year-olds should know by September: how to go to the bathroom by themselves; how to work alone for at least 10 minutes; how to express themselves clearly; how to operate a zipper and put on a coat.

Knowing how to read or even color within the lines, Johnson found, was way down on the teachers' list.

"We think we've got to fill their heads with memorizing a bunch of numbers or letters, but that's really a very low level of learning, like teaching a dog to roll over," Johnson said. "The message to parents is to really try hard to help their children communicate clearly . . . to help kids be more independent. That translates into success in school."

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