Kindergarten / School Readiness

There are two pre-requisites for Kindergarten that are absolute musts for Kindergarten readiness:

1.   Creative Imagination

2.   Obedience

Creative Imagination

The most important skill to enhance within a child is creative imagination - 

"the power to think and to do” (White, 1903/1952, Ed., 17, ¶2; Kagan, Moore, & Bredekamp, 1995).

Creative imagination is re-enacting life – what is seen, heard, sensed. It is the child’s way of practicing how to deal with life.

  • In this way, the mind, will and conscience is strengthened and resolute (White, 1903/ 1952, Ed., p. 288, ¶1)
  • The children will learn “to discriminate between right and wrong” (White, 1903/1952, Ed., p. 231, ¶1);
  • “to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thought” (White, 1903/1952, Ed., p. 17, ¶2).
  • They will be able to heed the Lord’s invitation to “come now and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).

So beware of what they see, hear and sense.

Eliminate, or at least greatly limit their exposure to T.V., videos, movies – all electronic visual stimuli. Also, avoid fairs, theme parks and fast-paced activities, fast-paced music, and fast-paced entertainment.

Instead, frequent places that requires active learning, such as:

  • Zoo’s
  • Planetariums
  • Aquariums / Sea Centers / Tide pools
  • Gardens / Parks / Beach
  • Museums / Natural History / Children’s Museums / Science Museums
  • Sidewalk Art Shows / Local Farmer’s Markets


Embedded within the Biblical perspective of early childhood training, the most important tool to teach a child is that of obedience; not blind obedience, but an obedience based on discerned trust and respect (Proverbs 8:33; White, 1903/1952, Ed., p. 287, ¶1; White, 1954/2002, CG, p. 79, ¶1).

It is through obedience that the young child learns to respect authority, “both human and divine” (Luke 2:52; 1 Samuel 2:26; White, 1903/1952, Ed., p. 287, ¶1).

It is through obedience the child learns self-government, self-reliance and self-control (Luke 1:15 & 80; White, 1903/1952, Ed., p. 287, ¶2).

Through obedience, the child can experience the contentment found in useful labor, service, discipline, organization, cleanliness and worship (White, 1903/1952, Ed., p. 36-38).

"...[O]nly in obedience to the law of God” will they experience “true freedom”, liberty and life (1 Samuel 2:35; Romans 8:2 & 6; White, 1903/1952, Ed., p. 291, ¶2; p. 36, ¶1).

What is obedience?

Listening and Follow-Through

Notice, a pre-requisite for kindergarten is not sitting still! That’s because at the age of 5, children are still learning through doing, from being active and involved.

The do’s and don’ts for teaching obedience are the same as those we use for developing creative imagination.

Eliminate, or at least greatly limit their exposure to T.V., videos, movies – all electronic visual stimuli. Also, avoid fairs, theme parks and fast-paced activities, fast-paced music, and fast-paced entertainment.

The how-to’s for teaching obedience are as varied as are your children. In a nutshell, though, remember that obedience is listening and follow-through. (For details and explanations of the how-to’s for teaching obedience, see the Vignette section of the YCMwebsite.)

First of all, be a model. Listen to your children. To increase their listening skills, provide audio stories, relaxing music and simple songs with simple lyrics.

Avoid ignoring your children. Avoid syncopated music with fast lyrics. Avoid electronic visual entertainment.

Just remember: As a general rule: If it’s fast-paced, avoid it with haste!

Secondly, be a model for following through. Help your child follow-through; make it possible for them to successfully obey. Expect your child to follow-through and don’t rescue them, do it yourself or ignore undone or incomplete tasks.

In respect to training the young child through discipline, parents and teachers should reflect the character of Christ by:

  • Encouraging confidence and strengthen a sense of honor (White, 1903/2002, Ed., p. 289, ¶3)
  • Blending authority and affection (White, 1952/1980, AH, p. 198, ¶1)
  • Acting from firm rules, never from impulse or passion (White, 1952/2002, AH, p. 198, ¶1)
  • Erring on the side of mercy (White, 1903/2002, Ed., p. 293, ¶2)
  • Dedicating time and attention to individual children (White, 1990, 7 MR, p. 11, ¶1 & 2)
  • Teaching habits of carefulness and respect (White, 1990, 7 MR, p. 11, ¶1)
  • Avoiding coldness or harshness, faultfinding or censure (White, 1903/2002, Ed., p. 291, ¶4)
  • Not indulging self-indulgence or petting praise (White, 1954/2002, CG, p. 37, ¶1; p. 178, ¶1 & 2; p. 272)
  • Not excusing or tolerating tantrums (White, 1990, 7 MR, p. 11, ¶3)
  • Being just and reasonable (White, 1903/2002, Ed., p. 287, ¶2)
  • Protecting children from harm (White, 1954/2002, CG, p. 460, ¶2; p. 272, ¶3)
  • Lovingly denying children those things that are harmful or would cause injury (White, 1948, 4T, p. 140, ¶3; p. 141, ¶1)
  • Never raising the voice or hand before prayer (White, 1954/2002, CG, p. 254)
  • Asking for God’s blessing on the seeds sown in each child’s heart (White, 1954/2002, CG, p. 204).

(For details and explanations of each bullet point, see the Vignette section of the YCM website.)

Links to Developmental Checklists

Developmental Rating Scale, 0-9 Months

Developmental Rating Scale, 9-24 Months

Developmental Rating Scale, 24-36 Months

Developmental Rating Scale, 36-48 Months

Developmental Rating Scale, 48-60 Months



© 2012, C. Gillan Byrne


Speaking appointments are typically scheduled 12 months in advance. 

To schedule a speaking appointment with Dr. Gillan Byrne, please use the email link or call (479) 216-9771.



Holy Bible, The. King James Version

Kagan, S.L., Moore, E., & Bredekamp, S. (June, 1995). Reconsidering children’s early development and learning: Toward common views and vocabulary (National Education Goals Panel ISBN-0-16-048151-1). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

White, E. G. (1952/1980). Adventist Home [AH]. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

White, E. G. (1954/2002). Child Guidance [CG]. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association. ISBN: 0-8280-1168-0.

White, E. G. (1903/2002). Education [Ed]. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association.

White, E. G. (1990). Manuscript Releases [7MR] (Vol. 7). Silver Spring, MD: Ellen G. White Estate. Retrieved March 3, 2009 from

White, E. G. (1948). Testimonies for the church [4T] (Vol. 4). Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association.