Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten? Martial Arts Helps Kids Win in Their First School Year

Parents: If you have a child age 4, 5 or 6, you’ve got school on your mind. What will that first year be like? Is my kid ready for kindergarten?

The question can sound a bit absurd; if a child can get around, communicate, sit, and listen, they must be ready to start school, right? It’s not like there’ll be an advanced algebra test between lunch and recess.

But there are more and more resources and research that shows how preparation for kindergarten is so important to a positive experience, academically, physically and socially, in school. For example, here’s a list of skills that experts say young kids need to make their first year of school a success.

Preschool can work wonders, and karate doesn’t replace that educational environment. It complements and enhances it. How?

Beyond the more obvious physical benefits for kids, martial arts training teaches social skills. Kids who take karate learn to operate with confidence in social situations very similar to what they’ll experience in school. They practice these skills on a daily basis, dozens of times in each karate class, and bring these skills back home. Kids in karate practice self-control, problem-solving, requests for help, politeness (saying “please, thank you and excuse me”), trying new things, taking pride in accomplishments, cooperating with adults and other kids.

Karate also helps kids learn basic skills like how to get dressed (taking off your socks and shoes, getting into your karate uniform, tying your belt, keeping all your clothes organized and clean). Kids also learn how to help other kids with simple tasks and enjoy the feeling of having helped their friends out.

Other abilities that kids develop in karate and bring to the classroom include language skills (following one- and two-step directions like “block, step, punch!” and “stand at attention, bow, then go to the back line”). Kids even practice basic writing skills via Word of the Month worksheets, learning how to write their first name and draw pictures that express abstract ideas like “what does it mean to have courage?”

Parents of black belts look back on when it all began with a lot of pride. If you’re curious about what the black belt journey could mean for your child’s introduction to school, get started here.

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