Preschool (Ages 3-5)

AUTHORITY STAGE: Be patient and creative

“Optimal development during these years is more likely to occur if children have opportunities to establish positive and caring relationships with adults and other children.” -Bredekamp & Copple

Preschool milestones:

Physical growth milestones:

  • Kiddo’s brain grows 75 to 95%.
  • On average kiddo will grow 5-6 pounds and 2-3 inches per year

Gross Motor milestones:


Kids Yoga can be a good physical activity

  • Major ones:
    • 2 yo: kiddo can run
      Image result for young kid running
    • 3 yo: kiddo can go upstairs every other foot & downstairs with two feet
      Image result for kid doing stairs
    • 4 yo: kiddo can ride a trike
      Image result for riding a trike
    • 5 yo: kiddo can ride a bike
      Image result for kid riding a bike
  • Even more:


Fine Motor milestones: 


  • Major ones:
    • 2-3 yo: Kiddo can eat and drink on their own
      Image result for kids eating on own
    • 4-5 yo: Kiddo can color inside the lines
      Image result for kid drawing pictures
  • Even more:fms

Cognitive & Emotional milestones:

These are good to recognize so you will hold kiddo to appropriate standards

  • Egocentrism – kiddo is likely to only take into account their point of view
  • Centration – kiddo will only pay attention to one element of a situation &  ignore all others
  • Theory of mind – kiddo just thinks differently
  • Three stages of situational compliance:
  1. Situational compliance – kiddo obeys with prompts
  2. Committed compliance – kiddo obeys with parent in the room
  3. Internalization – kiddo obeys when parent leaves the room

To help kiddo develop these, model this behavior & practice gradually & have fun

Language milestones:

By age 3 someone else should be able to understand 75% of what kiddo can say.

To correct problems repeat back to kiddo correctly.

  • 3 yo: 2,000-4,000 words
  • 4 yo: 4,000-6,000 words
  • 5 yo: 5,000-8,000 words

Social milestones:

  • 3 yo: kiddo will participate in parallel play – playing with the same thing but not together
  • 4 yo: kiddo will participate in cooperative play – a give and take style
  • 5 yo: kiddo will participate in dramatic play – lots of benefits on imaginative play

LETS THEM HAVE PLAY DATES – teach kiddo to be pro-social by sharing & joining a peer group well

Moral and Spiritual development:

Give kiddo a job in the house while they still want one

  • Up until 4 yo kiddo will still be pre-moral
    • Kiddo will do right for reward & to avoid punishment & to be obedient

Concerns or Issues facing this time period:

  • Temper tantrums
    • Remember that what kiddo wants is the world to them at that point
    • You need to be clear & consistent
    • Pick your battles & don’t always give in
  • To send to school, or not?
    • Pros of preschool:
      • Prepares kiddo for kindergarten
      • Kiddo learns social skills
      • Kiddo learns to be away from mom & dad
      • Kiddo learns emotional regulation
    • Cons:
      • Kiddo’s outcomes depend on quality of environment
      • Too few teachers leads to little positive outcomes
  • Potty training, when?
    • Wait until kiddo is ready, here is how to tell:
      • Kiddo is interested in toilet & underwear
      • Kiddo can stay dry for 3 hours
      • Kiddo can pull pants up & down
      • Kiddo can follow instructions
      • Kiddo can get onto potty
      • Kiddo complains about messy diapers
    • Tips:
      • Make sure kiddo’s clothes are easy to get on and off
      • BE PATIENT
      • Schedule kiddo’s potty breaks
      • Teach kiddo good hygiene
      • Praise success
      • Be creative!
  • Picky eater!?
    • What can I do?
      • Wait for kiddo to be hungry
      • Serve kiddo meals at routine times
      • BE PATIENT with new food
      • Let kiddo choose healthy food & help you plan meals
      • Be creative!
      • Don’t offer dessert as a reward for kiddo, but can take away dessert when kiddo doesn’t eat
      • Don’t cook to order.


L. Walker, Lecture 10: Early Childhood, SFL 240, Winter 2017


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