What your kid needs to know before starting kindergarten

“Academically, children are at varying levels when they enter kindergarten,” Karen Jokinen, a kindergarten teacher in Markham, Ont., says. “There is no expectation that children know the alphabet and numbers, or can write their names, but if they can do some of this, it helps with their confidence at school.”

One of the most important things you can do with your tot, according to teachers, is read together. “Go to the library and borrow simple books with large print that don’t have many words,” suggests Vaughan, Ont., teacher Anna Elia Kontostergios. “That way, you can both point to words, count letters, and talk about how pictures help us read unfamiliar words.”

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