5 Incredible Things You'll Learn in Kindergarten

Every kindergarten program is different.
Every kindergarten program is different.
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The kindergarten experience can be one of the most exciting in your child's school career. It's basically the 5-year-old version of a college freshman year, when independence and self-sufficiency rise to whole new levels.

This developmental period is a big one. A toddler can listen (well, sometimes) and draw; a kindergartener can read and write.

Every kindergarten program is different: Some are more academic, others more play-oriented, and still others adhere to "alternative" teaching philosophies that can direct what your child learns, and, more significantly, how he or she learns it. But you can count on certain basics. These are things your child needs to succeed in life -- and, more immediately, in first grade.

Here, five of the most incredible lessons, discoveries and skills your child will absorb like a sponge in the course of the year. The first is perhaps the most challenging and life-changing for your child (and startling for you!).