The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Kindergarten Readiness

Five Ways to Make Sure Your Child is Ready for the First Day of Kindergarten

Kindergarten is the first formal step in your child’s educational journey, but like most childhood firsts, it can raise a lot of questions for anxious parents. How will I know whether my child is ready for kindergarten? What does my child need to know before the first day? However, parents should know that there are many simple activities that they can incorporate into preschooler’s everyday routines that will help prepare them for kindergarten. You might even be practicing these skills already without realizing the benefit! 


Did you know that the number of words that a child knows when he or she enters kindergarten is the most important predictor of their success or failure? Reading aloud with your child can grow their vocabulary and it introduces many words and concepts that might not be used in everyday life. Even listening to books together while you’re making dinner or during bath time can be a great way to introduce new vocabulary. 

Parents are often very good about reading aloud to children at this age, but it is also helpful if you take the time to discuss what you read with your child. “Pause when you are reading or listening to a story and ask them what they thought about what just happened in the story or what they think will happen next,” says Fay kindergarten teacher Lee Bogaert. “These conversations help prepare kids for the same kinds of interactions they’ll have in the classroom.”


Did you know that the first step to your child writing is actually building their fine motor skills? There are lots of fun ways that kids can build their hand strength and fine-motor skills with pre-writing activities like coloring, working with playdough, and almost any kind of crafting or building. One simple and fun activity that Fay’s kindergarten teachers do with students to strengthen their finger, hand, and wrist muscles is pushpin poke drawing. You can click here for instructions and templates to get started! 


Just like reading aloud helps to build literacy skills, engaging in numeracy activities can help build math skills. Parents can easily build numeracy skills at home by finding opportunities to introduce different counting patterns during daily life. When playing hide and seek, ask your child to count by tens to 100 instead of from 1 to 10, for example, or ask them to count backwards. “It’s good for children to understand that counting isn’t always 1, 2, 3”  says Lee.


Your child’s kindergarten teachers will be very appreciative if they are able to take care of some of their own essential needs. For example, can your child put on his or her own shoes (lace-free shoes are helpful at this age) as well as their coat and cold-weather gear? The teachers in Fay’s Early Learning Center use “the flip trick” to help students put on their coats. You can click here to watch a video that demonstrates the trick.


It is important that kindergarten students learn how to advocate for themselves separate from their parents. This may be regarding needs like asking a teacher for a drink of water when thirsty or to go to the bathroom when they need to. However, it can also relate to social situations and learning needs. At Fay, our kindergarten students work on topics like self-advocacy during homeroom time each day and it is an important part of our wellness program. 

As parents, we often jump in immediately when we see that our child has a problem. You can nurture self-advocacy by resisting that urge. Give your child a little space to wrestle with a problem and wait for them to ask for help before stepping in. This will help foster self-advocacy, independence, and problem-solving skills. You can also create opportunities for your child to practice communicating their needs to an adult that is not their parent. Encourage them to order for themselves at a restaurant or to go ask the librarian about the book they are looking for. 

More Articles About Kindergarten Readiness

List of 15 news stories.

  • The Organized Kindergartener

    September 21, 2022
    For many children, Kindergarten is the first real test of their organizational skills. School papers, water bottles, hats, mittens, and other personal items may consistently come home in your child’s backpack, or they may regularly disappear into the ether. The good news is that no matter which camp your child falls into - neatnik or a little scattered - you can boost their organizational skills with some practice at home. Fay Kindergarten teacher Anne Canada shares her tips for preparing your child for the organizational expectations and routines of Kindergarten.
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  • Eight Games that Help Your Child Strengthen their Language Skills

    February 10, 2022
    Hey parents, games aren’t just for fun! Play is a critical component of early childhood education, and it’s how children internalize classroom learning and make sense of the world around them. “There is a huge overlap between learning and play,” says Fay School Kindergarten teacher Anne Canada, “and it’s important to understand the value of play as a learning tool.” Many kindergarten classrooms, including the ones at Fay, regularly incorporate games into their literacy work to help students practice skills that require repetition. If you are looking for a fun way to practice and build literacy skills, check out these games that have been recommended by Fay’s speech and language specialists to promote the acquisition and retention of expressive language.
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  • Five Tips for Helping Your Shy Child Build Confidence

    January 10, 2022
    Parents worry about sending a shy child off to Kindergarten. They wonder if they’ll be able to advocate for themselves with teachers and classmates and whether being quiet will make it challenging to make new friends. These concerns are understandable, but Fay Kindergarten teachers Lee Bogaert and Anne Canada want to calm those fears. “Usually, shyness doesn’t last too long in Kindergarten,” says Anne. “We spend so much time together and work so hard to build a safe community within the classroom that you’d never really know anyone was shy after a week or two!” However, if you are looking for ways to ease the transition to Kindergarten for your quiet child, here are a few helpful tips.
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  • The Can’t-Miss Gift Guide: Our Kindergarten Experts Share the Gifts Your Child Won’t Be Able to Put Down

    December 3, 2021
    Every parent has had the experience of buying their child a gift that turns out to be a clunker. Sometimes, you know as soon as the wrapping paper comes off and the gift is quickly discarded. Other times, kids will excitedly play with something new for a day or two, but the novelty quickly wears off. The gift is set aside and never touched again. This year, wouldn’t you love to invest in a holiday gift that they’ll still be playing with next December? We reached out to the experts - our Fay School Kindergarten Teaching Team - to get their insider recommendations for the toys and activities that are the biggest hits in their classrooms and that your child is guaranteed to come back to again and again.
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  • Help Your Child Master These Six Table Manners This Holiday Season

    November 3, 2021
    If dining at your house is chaotic, rushed, and uncivilized, you are not alone! However, with the holidays here you are probably anticipating meals with extended family and wondering how you can make your dinners a little less unruly. 
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  • Conquering Back-to-School

    September 3, 2021
    It’s that time of year again. You linger over magazine spreads of elaborately organized homework stations and color-coded family calendar systems, and you develop the sudden conviction that a label maker will change your life. It’s September, the month that has a way of bringing out the inner organizer in all of us. While it’s tempting to think that redesigning your child’s workspace will transform your school year, it’s actually the habits that you cultivate this month that can have the greatest positive impact. Here are seven tips for easing the transition from the lazy days of summer to back-to-school.
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  • Kindergarten Jitters? Five Tips for Helping Your Child Navigate the Start of School with Confidence

    August 3, 2021
    August brings with it growing excitement about the start of school - for parents and children! However, if your child is heading off to kindergarten, it can also churn up some anxiety. While this is common, there are some things that parents can do to prepare their child (and themselves) for this important step in their academic and social-emotional development. Here are some tips for helping your child develop a positive and confident outlook about heading off to school and for navigating a case of the kindergarten jitters.
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  • Three Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language in Early Childhood

    July 9, 2021
    Parents tend to focus on the fundamental skills taught in Kindergarten, such as reading, writing, and numeracy. The opportunity to learn French or Spanish in Kindergarten might seem dispensable in comparison. However, research has shown that early foreign language study can influence a child’s brain development and lay the foundation for future academic success.
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  • Five Tips for Raising a Kind Kid

    May 5, 2021
    You might not think that kids are experiencing a kindness deficit these days with slogans like Kindness Matters and Choose Kind in the zeitgeist. However, a majority of parents believe that they are. In the Parents Value Study released by Parents magazine last fall, 76% of moms said kids are less kind today than in previous generations. Furthermore, 73% of moms identified kindness as the most important quality they hope to instill in their child. But, how do you raise a child to be kind and considerate of others? What are the behaviors and activities that will help to build that foundation? Here are some tips for intentionally nurturing kindness in your child. 
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  • Four Essential Skills Kids Learn from Design Thinking

    March 18, 2021
    Preschool is not too early to nurture design thinking skills. When kids design, create, and build, they learn how to make a plan, problem-solve, handle frustration, and they learn the value of refining their ideas to make them better.
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  • The Play is the Thing: The Benefits of Play-Based Learning

    Dec 14, 2020
    While Kindergarten parents tend to focus on traditional academic skills like literacy and numeracy development, play is an equally important, and often overlooked, component of a child’s elementary education. 
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  • 1,2,3, Eyes on Me: Six Strategies that Kindergarten Teachers Use to Teach Kids to Listen

    Oct 26, 2020
    To many parents, observing a kindergarten teacher at work in a well-managed classroom is like watching a master magician conjure a baffling trick. Somehow, they can hush twelve wiggly, giggly, boisterous five-year-olds with a single phrase and get those same students to perform a series of tasks that would take the average parent an afternoon to accomplish. How do they do it? 
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  • Too Busy to Read Tonight? Three Tips for Building Literacy Skills in Busy Families

    Feb 10, 2020
    Reading aloud with young children is critical for brain development, language acquisition, and early literacy skills like storytelling and comprehension. However, we've all had days when the best intentions to curl up and read with your child are derailed. So what do you do on those days when it feels like there's no time to read? Fay's Speech and Language Therapist Jill Cordon and Reading Specialist Leslie Overbye share three simple tips for incorporating literacy-building activities into your family's busy schedule.
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  • 15 Great Nonfiction Titles to Read Aloud With Your Child

    Mar 6, 2019
    As parents and teachers, many of us gravitate toward reading stories rather than nonfiction. However, the truth is that children love reading nonfiction, especially when you are reading it aloud to them and can answer the many questions that bubble up. Nonfiction books are filled with information, and children are eager to understand the world around them. 
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  • 4 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Communication Skills

    Oct 4, 2017
    Families maintain a hectic pace. With the 24/7 demands of an always-on professional world and the pressure of staying on top of school work, sports, and evening activities, it’s easy for the communication between parent and child to turn into a series of commands and responses. “Finish your homework! Grab your hockey bag!” However, it’s important to remember that we lay the foundation for our children’s communication and social skills early on.
    Read More

About Fay School

Fay School was founded in 1866 and is the oldest junior boarding school in the United States. Our 66-acre campus is located in Southborough, MA, just 25 miles from Boston. Our community includes 475 students in kindergarten through grade nine and includes 150 boarders in grades 7-9  from across the United States and over 20 countries. Fay is recognized around the world for its superior educational program, and our graduates are accepted to top secondary schools. Fay's program empowers students to discover their talents, develop their intellectual abilities, establish essential academic skills and knowledge, and define their moral character - all essential to living a life of meaning and making a positive difference in the world.

Learn more about Fay School.

main number 508-490-8250
admission 508-490-8201