Children laughing, header image for Ready Set Kindergarten

Chattanooga 2.0, Hamilton County Schools, and community partners are aligned around a common understanding of what it means for rising Kindergarten students (four and five-year-olds) to be equipped with the right set of skills to set them up for success in school and life. Kindergarten is a year of big changes and children entering kindergarten have different skill levels. Your child’s teacher is prepared to work with children with a wide variety of skills and learning styles.  

Preparing for kindergarten is an important task, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. With every story you read, skill you teach, or hug you give, know that you are the best teacher your child will ever have.


Children will grow into strong learners and adults when we support their brain growth before and after Kindergarten. In Hamilton County, we aspire that every rising Kindergartener is physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually prepared for success in Kindergarten. To do this, they need families, schools, and communities to provide a strong foundation in the following five skill areas: Learning Skills, Emotional and Social Skills, Language Skills, Math Skills, and Self-Help and Movement Skills.


skills for rising kindergarten students

(Children must be 5-years-old before starting Kindergarten in Hamilton County Schools. The below skills are developmentally-appropriate for four and five-year-old children)

CAREGIVER NOTE: It is important to check with a child’s doctor early, if you feel your child is not meeting milestones before Kindergarten. You can set your child up for success. Make sure they have hearing, dental, and vision screenings at their doctor’s office or through their preschool program before Kindergarten. It is also helpful for children to be well rested for the school day, receiving at least nine hours of sleep per night.

learning skills:

  • Follows multi-step directions to complete a task
  • Plays with other children in pairs or groups
  • Shows curiosity through questioning (asks what, how, why, when, where, and/or what if)
  • Demonstrates eagerness to learn by engaging in new experiences and activities
  • Can focus on or complete an activity independently for five minutes without transition


  • Shares, takes turns, helps, compliments, and plays well with other children
  • Adjusts to changes in routine and environment
  • Can use words to describe their emotions (i.e., sad, mad, scared, happy)
  • Seeks and accepts guidance from caregivers and teachers
  • Knows full name, city and state, and reliable adult names


  • Counts in sequence up to 30
  • Counts up to 10 objects, using one number for each object
  • Knows colors and recognizes and draws basic shapes, such as circle, square and triangle
  • Describes the position of objects: up/down, left/right, behind / beside, in front/ on top
  • Recognizes and repeats simple repeating patterns, such as triangle, square, triangle, square


  • Listens and responds to questions about stories told and/or read to them
  • Can independently pick up a book with an interesting picture, open it, and turn pages right to left
  • Draws pictures and tells their story, even if it looks like scribbles to another
  • Recognizes some upper and lower case letters and their sounds
  • Recognizes written name and attempts to write their name
  • Uses or recognizes simple rhymes (bat-cat, ball-tall) or makes up nonsense rhymes (foodle, goodle, loodle)
  • Speaks in complete sentences of at least 6-8 words and can be understood by a stranger


  • Moves with control and balance while walking, running, jumping, and climbing
  • Uses pencils and crayons to trace and scissors to cut
  • Can use fingers to control buttons and zippers
  • Uses hand-eye coordination to perform simple tasks, like putting together a puzzle
  • With adult prompting, can independently perform self-help tasks such as toileting, hand washing, tooth brushing and dressing



Visit the PBS Learning Media links to videos that help children practice the above skills!

Chattanooga Basics

80% of brain growth happens within the first three years of life.

The Basics are five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every family can use to help every child have a great start in life.

Visit to learn more.