What do kids learn in Kindergarten?

The number one question I got asked as a Kindergarten teacher was “What does my child need to know in Kindergarten?” Obviously, most parents ask this question because they are trying to gauge where their child’s strengths and struggles are, and they want to know what they can practice with them at home. My first couple of years teaching were filled with interesting encounters of attempting to answer this question, many times at “Meet and Greet” the day before school started. Something I thought would be a simple answer would turn into an exchange like this for example:

Parent: “What does my child need to know for Kindergarten?”

Me: “They need to be able to recognize all 26 letters, upper-case and lower-case, their letter sounds…”

(I already had to interrupt the list)

“Oh, and to have true recognition of all of the letters they have to be able to tell them out of order, not just singing the ‘ABC’ song. They also need to know their numbers, count to 100…”

(I have to interrupt again)

“Oh, but just so you know for the numbers thing they only have to recognize 0-20. Well, and they have to be able to write 0-20. Ah, and for the recognition, again, they have to recognize them out of order. Not, like, just counting. And also, they have to know how to count objects, but only to 32…”

This was going to take a while…

As I rattled off the list I could tell the parent was attempting to take a metal note, but by the fifth or sixth skill their expression slowly transformed into a lost look. It makes sense. It was definitely unreasonable to think they were going to remember the twenty skills I was in the process of listing off when, to be honest, I don’t even think I remembered that parent’s first name the second after they introduced themselves. But maybe it wasn’t even a “lost” look I seeing, maybe it was actually a “panicked” look as they worried about their child not knowing ALL of the things I was mentioning.

The guilt would set in after having bombarded the parent with an overload of information. I knew this was not in line with the organized type of operation that I prided myself on running. The last thing I wanted to do was worry any parent before the first day of school. After all, these were not things it was their job to worry about—it was literally mine! My job was to make sure that their student left Kindergarten knowing all of the things I was listing off. This is not to say that the parent shouldn’t be informed about the skills taught in Kindergarten or that it’s not their job as a parent to practice skills with their child at home, but I needed to reevaluate how I presented this information. Since this was the most popular question, and continually being asked throughout the year I knew that I needed to find the simplest way to answer it. What I came up with helped me avoid the question altogether!

I created a primary progress report that I could send home to parents all throughout the year. It covers the foundational skills of Kindergarten and is in a simple format that makes it easy to fill out and easy to read. You can check it out for free here! This version is a half-sheet that covers beginning of the year skills. If you are looking for something to cover skills that go through the end of the year you can check out the full version here.


I am a Kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom here to share my best ideas about teaching and creating. More about me…

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