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How to Tell Whether a Child Is Ready to Start School

September 05, 2000|MARNELL JAMESON

When Barbara Chancey, whose company gives developmental tests to young children, and her team of interviewers go out to screen children for kindergarten, here's what they look for, and you can too:

Before a child starts kindergarten, he or she should be able to do most of the following. The stricter the kindergarten, the more accomplished kids should be in each of these areas. But in general, they should be able to:

* Ask a question and express a need. Answer questions with more than one word answers. Talk comfortably with peers. Tell a story. Follow a three-step direction in sequence, such as: Go to your room, get your slippers, turn off the light. Understand most of what is said to them. After you tell them a story, they should be able to answer a couple of questions about it.

* Stand on one foot for five to seven seconds. Hop on one foot for a distance of five feet. Use a pair of scissors to cut a straight line (within a quarter of an inch) drawn on a piece of paper. Hold a pencil correctly.

* Recognize the difference between a square and a rectangle. If shown five objects and asked to name them, should remember most of them when they're covered up. Hear the difference between similar sounding words. If you say "bat" and "sat," they should repeat back in the same order. Also should be able to repeat back a sequence of four things--such as four words or four numbers--in order. Have a grasp of simple comparisons. When shown two things, they should be able to tell which is bigger.

* Be comfortable in a group situation. Work and share and play with others. Attend to one task for 15 to 20 minutes.

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