Transition to Kindergarten

Kids need to be ready for Kindergarten, but Kindergarten needs to be equally ready for kids, with developmentally appropriate curriculum and expectations. The Collaboration seeks to connect the complex systems that must work together to establish that foundation.

A Kindergarten ready child has the foundational social-emotional, physical, and academic skills needed to transition into a formal school setting. Self-regulation and the ability to successfully interact with others are the key goals. Families need the resources necessary to support these goals; and schools need to come together to align around it. Explore the sections below to learn more about information and programs that support this mission. Click on any topic to see more information.

Starting Kindergarten: The Nuts & Bolts

Children must be 5 years old by September 1st in order to start kindergarten. To register your child, you will need proof of residency — such as a lease agreement, mortgage statement, and utility bills — and your child’s birth certificate. Contact your local school district for more details. Oak Park and Forest Park school districts have full-day kindergarten. River Forest currently offers half-day kindergarten.

Learn more about your district’s kindergarten registration requirements:

Your school district may ask incoming kindergarteners to participate in a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. This screening does not affect a child’s ability to enroll in kindergarten. Rather, it helps teachers get a snapshot of each child’s readiness to learn. Screenings last about 90 minutes and include both the test, as well as a meeting with the child’s parents/guardians.

In addition, make sure you have completed the health requirements for Kindergarten:

  • Physical exam
  • Dental exam
  • Eye exam
  • All required immunizations

Ask your child’s pediatrician or schedule an appointment at Children’s Clinic, sponsored by the Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society to make sure your child has all the completed health requirements.

Kindergarten Readiness Assessments

These assessments do not affect a child’s ability to enroll in kindergarten. Rather, they help teachers get a snapshot of each child’s readiness to learn. There are a few assessments for kindergartners that you may hear about and be asked to participate in as a parent or caregiver.

Used in the classroom, the Kindergarten Individuals Development Survey (KIDS) is an observational tool designed to help teachers, administrators, families and policymakers better understand the developmental readiness of children entering kindergarten. KIDS is core to the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) goal that every child in Illinois deserves to attend a school wherein all kindergarteners are assessed for readiness. KIDS focuses on the knowledge, skills, and behaviors across four key domains that most impact long-term student success. The domains are: Approaches to Learning and Self-Regulation; Social and Emotional Development; Language and Literacy Development; and Cognition: Math.

The Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) is administered to incoming kindergarten students to assist in determining a student’s readiness in beginning Kindergarten. The readiness skills assessed are vocabulary, letter identification, visual discrimination, phonemic awareness, comprehension & interpretation and mathematical knowledge.

Parents of incoming kindergarteners may be asked to complete this questionnaire to help provide the district with a more complete picture of their child at the time of kindergarten entry. This 36-question survey will ask about your child’s behavior with regard to self-regulation, compliance, communication, adaptive functioning, autonomy, affect, and interaction with people. This questionnaire is filled out by the parent or caregiver and can help identify their child’s strengths as well as any areas where a child may need support. The questionnaire takes only about 10–15 minutes. It’s that quick and easy.

Ready, Set, Kindergarten!

An innovative four-week program designed to help support incoming kindergartners who are struggling with preschool concepts and to give them the boost they need to confidently enter preschool in the fall. Ready, Set, Kindergarten! launched in an online format in the summer of 2020 during July 27 – August 19 in partnership with the Oak Park Public Library and E-Team Oak Park. It is an innovative four-week program designed to help support incoming kindergartners who are struggling with preschool concepts and to give them the boost they need to confidently enter preschool in the fall.

With the goal of supporting students academically and building excitement for the school year ahead, students attend three 30-minute one-on-one sessions with a certified teacher each week for a total of 12 sessions. Lessons will focus on phonemic awareness and number sense, with an emphasis on play. At the beginning of the program, teachers will create a schedule for these sessions with each family. Each week, a box will be delivered to the family or caregiver’s home with a folder for the following week’s activities. We will include books from the Oak Park Public Library selected for the child based on their interests, learning games, and kits to inspire creativity. We also will provide links for live events and videos for yoga, art, music, and outdoor activities. One night each week, we will host an online circle where families will have a chance to meet each other and also meet other district families who have been through the transition to kindergarten and can provide tips and support.

Please note that while 2020’s program design was facilitated remotely, the program structure may change in future years. To learn more about Ready, Set, Kindergarten! Contact us.

Ready4K Text Service

Developed by educational researchers, Ready4K is an evidence-based family engagement curriculum delivered via text message. Each week, parents receive fun facts and easy tips on how to promote their children’s development by building on existing routines – like pointing out the letters on shampoo bottles during bath time and naming their sounds. The Ready4K curriculum covers the whole child from birth through 3rd grade and is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese.

If you are a child care center, know that the Ready4K technology platform enables schools, districts, Head Starts, and community-based organizations to upload all parent phone numbers with one click, choose date-of-birth or cohort-based messaging (based on your pedagogical philosophy), send custom messages, conduct in-text polling, and view data and analytics on demand. Teacher newsletters complement our text messages and loop teachers into the conversation. Ready4K supports ESSA Title 1 Parent and Family Engagement Requirements as well as all of the requirements of the Head Start Compendium of Parenting Interventions.

This is a completely free service for families and centers in Oak Park and River Forest. If you are interested, enroll today!

Sign up for Ready4K today.

Ready4K is an evidence-based family engagement curriculum delivered via text message.