March 21, 2022

Top 10 Skills for Children Entering Kindergarten

Hi5! — a kindergarten readiness and registration campaign coordinated by The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and Trying Together — collaborated with a group of pre-k and kindergarten teachers to develop a list of academic, social, emotional, and physical skills for children entering kindergarten based on the PA Early Learning Standards.

Kindergarten Readiness List

A list of more than 30 skills was sent to educators in school districts, child care programs, and Head Start programs throughout the region—including Allegheny, Butler, Fayette, Greene, and Westmoreland counties. The purpose of this exercise was to develop a useful tool for parents/caregivers of children ages birth to five in the SWPA region by teachers in the SWPA region. Over 120 pre-k and kindergarten educators responded to share their expertise and insight.

The top skills include:

  1. Following rules and routines
  2. Following simple one- and two-step directions
  3. Writing their own name
  4. Recognizing some letters (8-12) from the alphabet (upper and lower case)
  5. Interacting appropriately with peers during play, both in reciprocal play activities and communication
  6. Expressing and communicating wants and needs
  7. Asking for help from adults and peers, when needed
  8. Responding to adults and peers appropriately in conversations
  9. Recognizing written numbers to 10
  10. Expressing feelings appropriately to a variety of situations

View the checklist (Spanish version PDF)

Kindergarten Registration

The purpose of this list of skills and resources is to support families and their young children as they prepare for kindergarten. When a child turns five and meets their district’s birthdate requirement, it is time to register whether or not a child has mastered every skill listed. View Trying Together’s Kindergarten Transition page to learn about Kindergarten registration in your area.