From the day they are born, babies change and reach certain milestones. The first smile, they first word, the first time the roll over or sit, all these changes are monitored and celebrated by all who love them. The preschool age also sees many changes and as parents we sometimes worry that our child is not developing at the same rate as their friends / siblings. Relax parents! Every child is totally unique and develop as they should in their own time. Here are basic guidelines of what childhood development milestones you can expect in preschool years, age 3 – 5.
How Should My Child Develop Between Age 3 – 5?
During the course of these 3 years, you will be amazed at how they grow and change, but you may also worry, often unnecessarily, that they are not developing as fast as they should. Before we list the changes you can expect, please remember that your child is unique and will develop in their unique way.
Fine Motor SkillsThis is where the small muscles in the fingers / hands start fine tuning their movements. Children learn to hold a crayon and will learn to draw shapes. This is also the time where they will want to start doing up their own buttons and zips.
Gross Motor SkillsThis involves the coordination of the large muscles. Your child will start going up and down stairs using alternate legs. They will hop, climb, skip, pedal and jump. Their balls skills also develop, they will learn to throw and catch a ball.
Speech and LanguageThey start understanding and want to communicate verbally. They have a vocabulary of about 250 words and can form 3 word sentences. They love talking and ask lots of questions. Colors, songs and poems are memorized during this stage.
Cognitive / Intellectual DevelopmentThey start to solve problems, think and reason. They have conversations and develop reasoning skills. They learn the days of the week, their address and can tell the difference between two objects e.g. heavy vs light. They tell a story with a beginning, middle and end, but cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality yet.
Social and EmotionalThey start interacting with others and follow rules. They also start approaching other children to play and love make believe games. They enjoy helping themselves. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that it is between the ages 4 – 5 that you will see an increase in their self-confidence and independence.
What They Learn In The Classroom
The classroom allows them to develop and practice their new found skills in a safe and nurturing preschool environment
- They learn to play and share with other children
- They learn to express their feelings whether, happy or sad. Our teachers are trained to give them strategies to cope with the various emotions in an appropriate way. They are taught conflict resolution and to identify the emotions of people around them.
- They learn problem solving skills, whether it is during play time and a friend won’t share, or when they are learning to build a puzzle, our teachers are there to help them develop at their own pace.
- Relationships are the foundation of both social and emotional health and our teachers aim to make all children feel welcome, accepted and loved. We constantly reach out to the parents and ensure they are involved in every process.
- They are encouraged to be independent and to explore in the safe classroom and playground environment. They learn to follow daily routines and activities and to complete self-care tasks like packing their toys away and putting their lunch box in their bag before going home.
We realize that each child is unique and will develop at their own pace. The teachers are trained to work with and appreciate each child’s uniqueness but to communicate with the parents if they suspect anything amiss in the child’s development. Keep an open communication with your child’s teacher, and if they are not concerned about your child’s development, then try not to worry. Comparing your child to their friends or siblings is never a good idea. It will cause you unnecessary worry and stress and that could overflow and break away at your child’s self-confidence.
How Can I Continue The Classroom Teaching At Home?
There are a few ways you can help your child attain their milestones and reinforce what they learn and practice every day at school
- Read them stories, nurture a love of books.
- Allow them to help you with simple chores
- Plan play dates with children of a similar age – children learn from each other and they learn social skills
- Ensure discipline at home is clear and consistent
- Speak in complete sentences using proper “grown up” words. Encourage them to use correct words and phrases.
- Allow them to make their own limited, simple choices like what to wear, what snack they want or what game they want to play.
- Allow them to be independent while teaching them safety rules e.g. where a helmet when cycling, not to talk to strangers, water safety etc. Watch your child at all times even while encouraging them to be independent.
- Feed them a healthy diet.
- Encourage outdoor play and limit TV time.
- Make sure they get enough sleep.
In the classroom situation teachers find that children can be emotionally and physically at a different stage even when they are the same age. They are trained to encourage each child to develop comfortably and to communicate with the parents at all times. We have found that children at different stages often learn from each other, and even twins, who we keep in the same class unless parents specifically request otherwise, develop differently and benefit from being around other children their age.
We at Stone Brook Academy take pride in the fact that our classrooms are a safe and nurturing environment and that our teachers are passionate about what they do, the precious children in their care, and the parents who entrust them with us.