Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

Set your early learners up for success this year by getting very clear about your goals for kindergarten! The more your students know about where they're going, the more likely they will achieve it. These editable goals will make it so much easier for your students to understand what they're studying and see their learning in action!

Our kindergarten students have so much to learn in their first full year of school. From developing social skills to learning maths, reading, science, and more, they're thrown into a totally new world overnight, and they need us as their guides to help them along the way.

As a former Assistant Principal and Kindergarten teacher, I know it can be tricky to ensure you teach all of these skills at an appropriate level of depth while meeting your students where they are. And, of course, it's not enough to teach a skill only once. Our students need repetition and meaningful practice in addition to explicit instruction based on developmentally appropriate, evidence-based, and culturally responsive instructional practices. 

When you lay it all out, it sounds daunting, and it definitely can be. If you try to achieve all of these goals on your own, you'll end up pulling your hair out. Effective teachers need to be ultra-organised and find the teaching materials that genuinely move the needle.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be challenging! I've designed several tools to help your students fully understand their academic goals and assess their own progress regularly, developing those all-important metacognition skills!

Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

What are kindergarten goals?

The answer will depend on where you live. Teachers here in Australia will use the Australian curriculum. In the US, most teachers will base their goals on Common Core standards. No matter where you live, there are general overlaps with what we expect kids to know and when. For example, all kindergarteners usually learn basic shapes whereas we save identifying the main idea for third grade or older.

The best goals are aligned to the standards or whichever educational benchmark you follow, and they're broken apart into simple, practical steps to make it very obvious to the students what they are expected to know.

Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

In this post, I'll focus most directly on instructional goals for reading, writing, math, and personal skills, like building relationships, making friends, and social-emotional development. I'll also share some tips for skill-based goal setting with primary students in a way that works for everyone!


Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students


For each of the subject areas below, I've created two distinct resources.

Printable Goal Posters

These posters are based on the smallest individual skills students need across the subject areas. They're perfect for displaying as learning objectives or adding to a bulletin board to reference throughout the year.


Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students


Each poster is also editable, so you can easily tailor it to your school's regional or state standards, although they already contain 70-150 skills as they are. The visuals and simple sentences make it very easy to understand what these goals mean. They also range in complexity from Kindergarten to 4th grade, so you can use them even if you change grades or have students at different academic levels.

Editable Individual Student Goal Sheets

To match the posters, I've also created individual goal sheets based on the specific goals or targets. They are a great way to monitor your student's progress toward learning a new skill! The goals align perfectly with the goal posters, so you can use these as an individual self-assessment to see how students feel about their progress. The checkboxes also reinforce how learning is about repetition. We usually need to practise a skill several times to get it!

Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

My favourite thing about these customisable individual student goals is how specific they make each skill. It makes it obvious for students of all ages, but especially our young Kindergarten students, exactly what is expected of them. They also use simple words and images to make them even more easy to understand.

Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

If our goal is to scaffold to independence and build student meta-cognition, we need tools that help them understand what they're supposed to learn, why that skill or understanding matters, and how to do it successfully. These printable individual goals do just that! They will make it crystal clear for your students and also give them tangible signs of their success and progress. It's super powerful for students to see five checkmarks on their paper to prove that they have learned something new. This can be a tremendous way to build confidence!

Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students


These goals would be fantastic to bring to student-led conferences or to develop Kindergarten IEP goals! You can also use them to have your small groups of students set individual goals about their learning.

Plus, save them all until the end of the year to show your students all the amazing things they learned throughout the year! 

Use The Hive to set goals for Kindergarten

The easiest way to set goals for your students is to use The Hive! I sell all the posters and individual goal sheets in my shop, but they're also included in The Hive along with hundreds of resources to support these goals - activities, worksheets, lesson plans, videos, interactive apps, and so much more.

You can get a free 7 day trial of The Hive to try for yourself!

Reading Learning Goals

Most kindergarten reading goals fit within these five general subtopics. 

  • Concepts About Print
  • Reading Strategies
  • Expression and Fluency
  • Reading Stamina (perfect for independent reading!)
  • Comprehension 
Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

Examples of Kindergarten Reading Goals

  • I can hold a book the right way up.
  • I can read from left to right.
  • I can use my finger to track underneath each word as I read.
  • I can retell a story from start to finish.
  • I can read for longer periods of time without getting tired.
  • I can read to self for 5 minutes.
Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

The printable reading goal posters contain 130 skills, and you can adjust them to make sure they fit your kindergarten education curriculum perfectly. Each individual reading goal sheet will engage your students in self-assessment and give you clear evidence of their growth for report cards and other assessments.

The Reading Strategies and Expression and Fluency goals will be too challenging for many kinder students, but they're fantastic for older kids up to 4th grade. They'd be very helpful for special education teachers who want to make IEP goals clear to their students!

Writing Learning Goals

This bundle of writing goals covers a broad range of skills to transform your students into young writers! The 150 goals all fit within these seven key areas. 

  • Emerging Writing Skills
  • Grammar and Punctuation 
  • Vocabulary
  • Ideas, Text Structure and Literary Techniques
  • Re-reading and editing
  • Handwriting
  • Spelling, Phonics, and High-Frequency Words
Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

For the kindergarten student, the main areas of focus will be Spelling, Phonics, and High-Frequency Words, as well as Handwriting and Emerging Writing Skills. 

Since I follow a synthetic phonics approach to literacy instruction, the individual goals align with the best practices, like orthographic mapping, instead of overly relying on sight words. Many goals are related to building phonemic awareness, as this is really the foundation of learning how to read and write. It can be really helpful to have sequential, step-by-step goals for this process!

Examples of Writing Goals for Kindergarten

  • I can write all the sounds that I hear when I sound out a word.
  • I can stretch out the sounds in words.
  • I can spell CVC words.
  • I can end my sentences with a full stop.
  • I can write a complete sentence.
  • I can form lowercase letters correctly.
  • I can use handwriting lines correctly.
Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

Get the full set of individual writing goals for kindergarten here. 

Math Learning Goals

The math goals in the poster bundle include over 70 distinct skills, ranging from basic addition, counting, learning the individual numbers, and more. They're suitable for grade levels K-4 and are so helpful in making sure every student learns each relevant skill before moving on to more complex ideas!

  • Numeral ID & Counting
  • Addition and Subtraction Strategies

Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

Sample Goals for Kindergarten or 1st Grade Math

  • I can name numbers up to 10.
  • I can name decade numbers.
  • I can count to 20.
  • I can use objects and my fingers to add.
  • I can use doubles facts to add and subtract.
  • I can use Friends of 10 to add and subtract.
Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

 I'm a big believer in mental math, so quite a few of these focus on those important strategies! There are plenty more resources for teaching mental math on The Hive, including entire sets of lesson plans, resources, and more to incorporate these into your lessons.

Personal Learning Goals

Any child's educational journey includes much more than just reading and math. Of course, these are the foundation, but they also learn crucial social skills, self-regulation, and ways to interact with each other! Personal learning goals are some of my favourite goals because they help your students learn how to be responsible for themselves, be good friends, and more. They really help them grow as people, and it's a beautiful process to see them mature over time!

The individual personal learning goals cover these 6 subcategories:

  • Behaviour: Safety
  • Behaviour: Respect
  • Social and Emotional Skills
  • Learning and Effort
  • Organisational Skills
  • Kindness and Friendship
Best Academic & Social Goals for Kindergarten Students

I'd use these goals to build community immediately at the beginning of the kindergarten year, and then I'd focus on a new skill each week as part of my morning meeting lessons. The explicit practice in social and personal skills will help them learn how to persevere, stay organised, get used to being in a classroom setting, and more. This training is incredibly helpful for all students, but especially our neurodiverse students!

Examples of Personal Learning Goals

  • I can work safely with others.
  • I can tuck my chair in.
  • I can walk safely in our lines.
  • I can think before I speak.
  • I can try my best.
  • I can share and take turns.

Fine Motor Skills

Although I haven't created goal posters or a goal tracker for fine motor skills, they certainly deserve mention! Our kindergarten students' hands and muscles are going through so many physical changes in these early years. It's so important to help them develop the strength and coordination to hold a pencil, cut with scissors, and more before we expect them to be able to do those tasks successfully.

Learn about the key benchmarks to know with this Fine Motor Skills Checklist, and get my free Fine Motor Handbook to learn how to support these skills in your classroom.

There are so many different ways to incorporate these kindergarten goals in your teaching, whether you need to use them to identify IEP goals, support students in small groups, or as a vehicle for fostering a culture of learning and growth for your whole class.

Just remember that the more our students understand what they're supposed to know and why, the easier it is for them to master the skill. Our students also deserve a chance to reflect on their thinking, and be hands-on in the assessment process. That can be especially tricky in the early years, but these editable goals make it much easier!

Looking for more?

Don't forget that The Hive is your digital teaching partner!

When you're ready to get started, make your free account on The Hive to see all these goals and much more! Simply log in, find the resource you need today, download it, and go. It's that easy!