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Preschool and Kindergarten

Seattle Public Schools Preschool and Kindergarten Information

Headstart Preschool

We Provide:

  • Full-day and half-day programs in elementary schools in Seattle!
  • Transportation to/from school (within boundaries)
  • Inclusive classrooms for children of all abilities
  • School readiness and smooth transitions to Kindergarten
  • Family Support, Health and Nutrition services!
  • Meals included!

We Serve:

  • Children who are 4 or 3 by August 31st
  • Income eligible families (meeting Federal Poverty Guidelines)
  • Foster Children
  • Homeless families
  • Families receiving TANF/Working Connections/SSI

To enroll, call us! Early Learning Department 206-252-0960


Preparing for Kindergarten

Helping Your Child Prepare for Kindergarten

Parents and families have a very important role as their child’s first teacher. Children learn in different ways and at different rates. They come to school with varying skills. These guidelines highlight some of the skills children need to be prepared for kindergarten in six developmental areas. The list below suggests ways to work with your child to help him/her be more ready for school.

Social/ Emotional

  • My child can follow 2-step directions consistently and is beginning to follow 3-step directions.
  • My child can remember and follow routines (ex: dinner, bath, brush teeth, read bedtime story, go to bed).
  • My child can tell about his/her own feelings (ex: I feel happy, I feel sad, I feel excited).
  • My child can calm him/herself when frustrated or upset.
  • My child can put on his/her own coat.
  • My child can use the bathroom independently. 
  • My child can wash his/her hands.
  • My child can put away toys, clean up small spills and pick up after him/herself.
  • My child shares, takes turns and helps others.
  • My child adjusts to new situations and/or people.
  • My child plays cooperatively with others.
  • My child can comfort others.
  • My child has the opportunity to play regularly with the same friends his/her age.

Physical

  • My child can run, jump and gallop.
  • My child can stand on one foot.
  • My child can throw and catch a large ball.
  • My child can kick a ball.
  • My child can cut using scissors.
  • My child can hold and use a pencil.
  • My child can buckle, zip, snap, and button.

Language

  • My child can use words to express his/her thoughts and needs.
  • My child can name and describe familiar things in his/her world.
  • My child uses new words everyday.
  • My child speaks clearly and is understood by most people.
  • My child can speak in 4-6 word sentences.
  • My child can talk about things that happened in the past, with details.
  • My child can have a conversation on one topic with another person, taking turns talking.

Cognitive 

  • My child can think of more than one way to solve a problem.                                      
  • My child shows curiosity and seeks answers to questions.
  • My child shows flexibility and creativity in play and problem solving.                                        
  • My child can group things by color, shape, or size, etc.                                   
  • My child can sit still, stay focused and stick with an activity.    

Literacy

  • My child knows 5-10 rhymes or children’s songs.
  • My child knows if words start with the same sound (for example: big, brown, bear).
  • My child can hear parts of words (ex: hap-py, 2 parts or 2 syllables).
  • My child recognizes and names 10-20 upper and 10-20 lower case letters.
  • My child says the correct sounds for 10-20 letters.
  • My child is familiar with the parts of a book: cover, title, pages, words, etc.
  • My child reads with an adult or listens to a story daily; he/she can talk about and retell a story.
  • My child “writes” a story by drawing pictures and/or using letters.
  • My child can write his/her name and identify the letters.
  • My child can say the alphabet.  

Math

  • My child can count 10-20 objects, pointing to each object.
  • My child can count out loud, in order, up to 20.
  • My child is beginning to understand and use the words more, less and the same.
  • My child can identify numbers 1-10.
  • My child connects numbers 1-10 with the matching set of objects.
  • My child identifies common shapes (ex: circle, square, triangle, rectangle).
  • My child matches and sorts simple shapes.
  • My child uses measuring tools in play (ex: cups, spoons, ruler, scale).
  • My child uses words to describe things by size, shape, and weight (ex: big, circle, heavy).
  • My child can put things in order (ex: 1st, 2nd, 3rd).

Personal Information

  • My child knows his/her first name, last name and parents’ names.
  • My child knows his/her address and phone number.
  • My child can name 10 body parts (head, shoulders, knees, fingers, etc.).
  • My child knows his/her age and birthday.

Parents and families have a very important role as their child’s first teacher. Children learn in different ways and at different rates. They come to school with varying skills. You’ll notice that a child who is ready for kindergarten has skills in many distinct areas, such as:

  • Self-care and getting along with others
  • Physical abilities like moving and handling a pencil or crayon, a fork or chopsticks 
  • Listening and speaking
  • Thinking and problem solving
  • Recognizing letters and their sounds, and playing with words
  • Counting and sorting; recognizing shapes and sizes
  • Personal safety and awareness of one’s name, home address, etc.

The six areas and the individual skills are drawn from the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) which teachers used to assess children at the beginning of the school year.

Public Libraries

Reading, talking and singing with your child is an easy way to build their vocabulary and help them get ready for school. Visiting public libraries, even before children can read, helps them to love and appreciate language books, and other media. Libraries provide free virtual story times and activities in different languages. Checking out books and music is free. You can get a library card for your child from birth onward. Visit your local public library for more information.  


Kindergarten begins with Jump Start

August 15 – 19, 2022 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Registration for Jump Start at your child’s school in May 2022

What is Jump Start?

Jump Start is a FREE week-long experience to welcome new kindergartners and their families to Seattle Public Schools. Children meet their peers and school staff and get to know the school. Our goal is for all students start school feeling safe, supported, and ready to learn.

Where is Jump Start Offered?

Most Seattle elementary and K-8s offer Jump Start. Please ask your school if they will participate. Children must be assigned to a participating school (not on a waitlist) to attend Jump Start there. Schools will offer bilingual help to English language learners and extra support to children with special needs. 

Will Jump Start be held in-person?

We plan to hold Jump Start in person, but your school will contact you if this changes. Families drop off and pick up their child–no school bus transportation is offered. Breakfast and lunch are provided free.

When and how do we sign up for Jump Start?

Each school will send Jump Start information to its new families in the spring. Call your school if you have questions.

Please call your child’s school before Jump Start if:

  • your child needs medicine or health procedures at school
  • your child has an IEP or needs extra support
  • your family needs help with transportation or child care