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Your Early Learner


By: N


Your child grows by leaps and bounds! But remember every child develops at his/her own pace.  There is a broad range of what is considered “normal.” It is not unusual for a child to be advanced in one area and lag slightly in another.


What’s Happening at 3?


At age 3, our children are becoming little social animals – interested in playing with other children, beginning to share and take turns.  They are learning to separate from you.  The preschool curriculum should focus on language, activity and movement. Large-motor skills are developing quickly: three-year-olds need to ride wheel toys, climb, jump, run and kick a ball. Small group activities are more effective than large-group activities.


What are they learning about?


Language:                                                                  Social/Emotional:                                          

   • Pretend writing                                                        • Separating from home

     Sitting and listening to a book in a group                 • Making a transition to a new setting

     Speaking to a group                                               • Themselves, their families, other families

     Looking at books                                                   • The classroom as a community

   • Playing rhyming games and songs                 • Interacting with new adults

   • New vocabulary                                                      • Following classroom routines 

   • Telling a story to accompany their artwork   • Identifying body parts, feeling (happy, sad,

   • Drawing stick figures                                               angry), and needs (“I want to paint”; “I want more


                                                                   •Self control (“use your words, not your hands”)

Intellectual:                                                                •Self-help skills (putting on a coat, washing hands)

   •Colors, shapes                                                         • Following one-step directions (“ Put a napkin on

   • Things that are alike and those that are                     chair”)

   different                                                                     •Sharing and cooperating (although don’t expect

   • spatial relationships:over/under, near/far                  them to give up favorite items or always wait

   • The world around them: seasons, weather,   patiently.)

   animals, plants



   • Large-motor skills: They can run, jump, climb,

   ride a tricycle, walk up stairs with one foot on each step

   • Small motor skills: They can use a brush, crayon,

   string beads, build with large legos, unzip, draw a circle








What’s Happening at 4?

What a fun year!


Four-year-olds are full of energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity. Their imaginations are in full swing. They are full of “why’s” and can conduct a sophisticated conversation in which they incorporate the knowledge they seem to absorb.  They play more cooperatively with other children, enjoy fantasy, and often engage in dramatic play.  They are better at following rules and exercising self-control.(Still, they are only four years old, and may often act impulsively.) They may begin to plan ahead – “I’m going to build a parking garage with the block” – as opposed to building something without a plan and then finding a purpose for it.


What might they learn about this year?


Language:                                                                  Social/Emotional                                           

•Different kinds of books                                              •Cooperating, taking turns, helping others,empathy

•Wordplay and silly songs, language                              •Family roles and responsibilities

•Telling a story                                                  •Managing fears and controlling impulses (but still

•Using puppets to dramatize a story                              have many fears and are not always in control)

•Drawing pictures specifically to illustrate                       •Similarities and differences related to gender,

 a story, rather than just painting or coloring                   race, other physical characteristics

•Noticing details in stories and adding details     •Making choises: “I want to build with blocks, so I

 to their own stories                                                      can paint during free play time”

•Predicting what will happen ina storybook                    •Themselves, such as their likes and preferences

 using the illustrations as a guide                         •Being goal directed in activities: “I want to climb

•Singing songs and making up their own verses  to the top of of the jungle gym and slide down the

•Identifying letters, printing some letters,                        pole

perhaps their own name, maybe others


Intellectual:                                                                Physical:

•Sorting and classifying by category                               •Large motor skills: Pump a swing, climb a rope 

•Sequencing of events                                                   ladder, slide down a pole, skip, hop

•Counting from 1-20 (or higher)                                    •Fine motor skills: Scissors, smaller

•Cause and effect- “if I add too much juice                    brushes/crayons/markers, string small beads, build

 to the cup, it can overflow”                                          with smaller legos, bottons


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