Prep Your Kids with a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist and Other Move-Up Day Ideas

Prep your students with a kindergarten readiness checklist before the new year.

Transitioning from one grade to the next can cause lots of anxiety in children. One of the biggest changes is students entering kindergarten for the first time. Use the kindergarten readiness checklist in this post to put yourself at ease when getting ready for kindergarten.

New and seasoned teachers will benefit from the tips and tricks in this post. Near the end of the year, teachers are wrapping up assessments and prepping kids for their next class. It can be a trying time, but also tons of fun! If you want to make it extra special for kids, try implementing fun activities and using a move-up day to get ready for a new year.

Prep your students with a fun kindergarten readiness checklist before the new year.

Fun Activities to Help Students Transition

As the end of the year approaches, begin incorporating elements kids will experience in the next grade level. For the most part, rules and routines will stay the same, but make them aware of any significant changes. In order to help, try using these fun ideas to keep them engaged and get them excited.

  1. Grade-Specific Games: Introduce games that align with the next grade’s curriculum. Ask teachers to supply a game or two they play often that you can introduce kids to. These may include teacher-prepared games, brain breaks, or games out of the box.
  2. Educational Scavenger Hunts: Organize scavenger hunts with educational clues related to the next grade. This is a fun activity to set up around school. Place cards or images where students will go for gym, lunch, library, and any new spaces they may not have been to before. Many of these won’t change, but you can take them on a tour of the grade level they will be moving to, new playgrounds, upstairs, etc.
  3. Classroom Tours: Arrange tours of the next-grade classrooms to make students feel comfortable in the new environment. Many schools call this Step-up day or Move-up day. Students get to spend a little time with the teachers in the next grade and possibly with their new teacher.
  4. Storytelling Sessions: Engage students with stories about the next grade level to build excitement. Read stories about being nervous or about the new grade. The Night Before Series by Natasha Wing has fun stories for almost anything you can think of!
Kindergarten readiness checklist - book for first grade
These books are great for making kids feel comfortable before big changes in their lives.

Move-Up Day or Step-Up Day Ideas

If your school does a move-up day, make it fun and meaningful for students. Use it to make them feel comfortable with the new changes coming. Here are a few ideas to make the day fun.

  1. Buddy System: Pair current students with students from the next grade for a day of activities. The older students will get to showcase some of their favorite lessons or centers. They can answer questions from the younger ones and show them around the room.
  2. Interactive Workstations: Set up interactive stations representing different subjects in the next grade. The kids can move from station to station and see how similar and different their current and new classrooms are.
  3. Meet-and-Greet: Arrange for teachers from the next grade to meet and greet the students. If you can’t have the whole class go to the new room, ask the teacher to come to your classroom to chat about exciting things that happen in their room.
  4. Q&A Sessions: Conduct question-and-answer sessions with current students and those who have transitioned. The older students can guide younger students through their insecurities and make them confident about the new year.
  5. Mini-Lessons: Offer mini-lessons on topics covered in the next grade. Students will quickly realize that many of their lessons will be fairly similar. It’s a nice way to make them feel cozy in the transition.
  6. Writing About the Year: Have older students write about their favorite parts of their grade level. Then, allow them to share with a buddy on the move-up day or display them in the halls for others to see. Use the Writing Printables from my shop to make things fun!
Kindergarten readiness checklist - sunflower writing

Items for a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

Before kids enter kindergarten, parents often want to know if they are ready. Teachers sometimes have a checklist on hand to pass out to new families. If you want to create a checklist for teachers, include some of these points.

Social Skills

  • Can the child share and take turns with others?
  • Are they able to start conversations and contribute to them?
  • Can they ask and answer questions from peers and adults?

Basic Independence

  • Can the child manage basic self-care tasks like using the restroom and dressing themselves?
  • Can they zip and unzip their coats and put on their shoes?
  • Are they able to open their lunchbox and feed themselves?

Listening Skills

  • Does the child follow simple instructions and pay attention during group activities?
  • Can they sit and listen to books or lessons for short periods?

Pre-Reading Skills

  • Does the child recognize letters and sounds and show an interest in books?
  • Do they know how to turn the pages when looking at a book?
Retro Sound Wall Example

Fine Motor Skills

  • Can the child hold a pencil, use scissors, and manipulate small objects?
  • Can the child use a glue stick, hold their fork, and open containers?

Language Development

  • Is the child able to express themselves verbally and understand basic language concepts?
  • Can they communicate their needs (restroom, sickness, thirst, etc)?

Number Recognition

Printable Number Line

Curiosity and Eagerness to Learn

  • Does the child show enthusiasm for learning new things?
  • Do they ask questions about the topic?

By prepping kids for the next grade level with exciting activities and an interactive Move-up day, they will feel comfortable heading to the next teacher. Show them all of the cool things they can expect in the next grade and prep them for kindergarten with the kindergarten readiness checklist.

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Prep your students with a kindergarten readiness checklist before the new year.
Picture of Stephanie Nash

Stephanie Nash

I have been helping teachers organize, develop routines, and create inviting & beautiful classrooms since 2012!

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