• Infant Birth to 18 months
  • Toddler 19 months to 3 years
  • Preschooler 3 to 5 years

Preschooler : 4 to 5 Years

Four to five year old

The fifth year of your child’s life signals the end of early childhood. As she prepares to enter a new world of school and friends, she will begin to:

  • Start running, then stop and change direction smoothly.
  • Draw a person with head, arms, legs and trunk.
  • Begin to grasp the concept of sharing.
  • Use pretend play to gain control of frustrating and frightening experiences.
  • Tell long stories about her own experiences.

A four-year-old can speak in complete sentences and describe what he recently did. As you’ll have noticed, he asks lots of questions, especially “why?” He’s more interested in stories, for longer periods of time, and can now anticipate – that is, he can tell you what he thinks will happen next. He is also realizing what past, present and future mean. He knows a song or two, and can name most basic colours.

Things to Remember...

Encourage your child to try new things. But don’t push a child beyond his limits. An activity may seem very ordinary and easy to you, but your child may not be ready for it. Listen to your child, especially when he’s scared. Don’t force him into an activity because you want to do it, or because you see other children doing it.

Developmental Milestones at 4 to 5 Years

Social

Social Development as a preschooler involves making friends, getting along with and helping others, working as part of a team and starting to solve problems within a group. These skills are built on self-confidence, cooperation and trust

Typical Skills

  • Plays games with simple rules
  • Shows attachment to one playmate
  • Shows interest in gender differences, and may undress with other children
  • Enjoys dramatic play with other children
  • Begins to grasp the concept of sharing

Emerging Skills

  • Explains rules of a game/activity to others
  • Plays cooperatively in a group of 2-3 children
  • Apologizes for actions he didn’t mean to do
  • Shows an understanding of right and wrong
  • Listens while others are speaking

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Emotional

Emotional Development as a preschooler involves the understanding of emotions – from sad to happy to angry, and learning to deal with them appropriately. Your child is also beginning to develop and understand who they are: their abilities, their family, their culture. This helps build self-esteem and leads to deeper qualities such as sympathy, caring, resilience, assertiveness and empathy and the ability to rise to life’s challenges.

Typical Skills

  • Uses pretend play to gain control of frustrating and frightening experiences
  • Experiences positive self-esteem, feels good about himself and takes pride in his accomplishments
  • Complies with requests from parents more often
  • Concentrates and works alone for up to 20 – 30 minutes
  • Keeps going on a difficult task for longer periods

Emerging Skills

  • Shows a desire to fit into home routines
  • Shows ability to reflect on himself and his actions e.g., “What I said wasn’t nice”
  • Experiences and understands positive and negative feelings about another person
  • Is able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Starts to show more interest in taking care of himself alone, e.g., cleaning room, bathroom needs, bathing

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Fine Motor

Fine Motor Development as a preschooler involves mastering precise and accurate small muscle movements of the fingers and hands in order to reach, grasp and manipulate small objects.

Typical Skills

  • Draws person with features including head, arms, legs and trunk
  • Cuts and pastes using art materials
  • Paints with a large brush on large paper
  • Manipulates clay, playdough
  • Draws lines, simple shapes and a few letters
  • Dresses and undresses with little help

Emerging Skills

  • Carries a cup without spilling what’s in it
  • Cuts on a line or cuts out simple shapes along an outline with scissors
  • Strings small beads to make a necklace
  • Prints recognizable numbers, letters and words, including her own name

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Gross Motor

Gross Motor Development allows a child to gain balance and bring large muscles under control in order to master physical activities such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, climbing, jumping and generally enjoying all their body allows them to do.

Typical Skills

  • Rides a tricycle without bumping into things
  • Bounces, throws and catches a large ball
  • Starts, stops and changes direction smoothly when running
  • Climbs playground equipment without any difficulty
  • Jumps forwards and backwards for short distances

Emerging Skills

  • Walks up and down stairs, alternating feet without support
  • Jumps down from half metre high
  • Skips for a distance
  • Kicks a soccer ball
  • Hops on one foot

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Intellectual

Intellectual Development as a preschooler includes the ability to think creatively and abstractly, to pay attention, solve problems and develop good judgment skills along with a lifelong readiness to learn.

Typical Skills

  • Understands how to sort and classify objects by characteristics
  • Enjoys games that require matching items
  • Recognizes and identifies bigger, biggest, smaller and smallest
  • Identifies and names different colours
  • Replicates patterns, sequences and order
  • Understands the order of numbers

Emerging Skills

  • Understands concepts of texture, weight, position and space
  • Understands number concepts up to 10
  • Understands different forms of measurement for weight, height and length
  • Plans and builds with simple tools

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Language

Language Development as a preschooler includes the ability to speak in sentences that make sense to most people, to the enjoyment of retelling stories, and talking about something that happened to them. This will lead to a love for books and an ability to recognize letters.

Typical Skills

  • Plays with words in silly rhymes
  • Loves to recite and chant jingles and rhymes
  • Talks about imaginary situations
  • Uses new and unfamiliar words
  • Tells long stories about own past experiences
  • Uses an average vocabulary of 1500 words

Emerging Skills

  • Asks “how”, “why” questions and listens closely to explanations
  • Uses ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’ correctly, incorporating past, present and future tenses of verbs
  • Says most speech sounds accurately but may have difficulty with some sounds e.g. “th” and “s”
  • Shows interest in written words and letters, e.g., reads own name and some words