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3-5 Years

Your child is now entering into the Preschool years filled with tremendous growth in a very short period of time! Your Preschooler is becoming more confident, independent and is learning to control their body. At this age social interactions drive their learning while physical play helps to increase their strength and endurance. They are learning to take all of the skills they have learned and put them together to engage in more complex, multi-step tasks. These years are focused on the building blocks for learning and sets the stage for the beginning of their academic career.

Speech and Language Development

Now that your child has learned to manipulate sounds, words and gestures into a meaningful form of communication, many aspects of a child’s development begin to emerge. Receptive Language skills refer to the ability to understand spoken words and gestures and gain meaning from them. Expressive Language skills refer to the ability to use words and gestures in a variety of grammatical forms to express ideas, needs and wants. Articulation refers to the child’s ability to accurately produce a variety of sounds and is often referred to as a child’s level of intelligibility.

By 3 to 4 years:

  • Answering simple “who?”, “what?”, “where?” and “when?” questions
  • Able to follow 2-3 step directions with concepts such as “under, behind and next to”
  • Names objects by descriptors such as function, size and shape
  • Uses a variety of sentences that have 4 or more words to communicate ideas, needs and wants

At 4-5 years of age:

  • Attends to a short story and answers simple questions about the setting, characters and events in a story
  • Is able to group objects by numbers up to a set of five and
  • Is able to name a few letters, particularly letters in their name
  • Is able to generate rhyming words
  • Communicates easily and effectively with other children and adults..

Additional resources for language development:

Articulation concerns are a common complaint of parents at this age. It is not uncommon for a child to use sound substitutions as they are learning how to produce many of the sounds that make up the English language. There are, however, some substitutions and errors that do not follow the path of typical development and can have a significant impact on their ability to be understood as well as the development of early phonological skills preparing them for reading and writing. A typical child at this age is clearly understood 80-90% of the time.

The best means of determining a child’s phonological development is to have them assessed by a licensed and certified Speech and Language Pathologist. Your therapist has a trained ear in identifying the variety of speech sound disorders and the most appropriate treatment method to help them.

Fine Motor

By 3-4 years:

  • Cut roughly around images and pictures
  • Open zip-lock bags, containers, lunch boxes
  • Copy block designs upt to 6 blocks
  • Dress independently including large buttons, socks and putting on shoes (not necessarily tying them)

By 4-5 years:

  • Color inside the lines
  • Complete an 8-12 piece puzzle with interlocking pieces
  • Attempt to draw a range of pictures
  • Hold a pencil with a tripod grasp
  • Write their first name

Additional resources for fine motor skills:

Play Skills

Yes, your child is still learning how to play in their preschool years! Play develops on a continuum and has 6 stages. At this age your child is learning to navigate Associative Play and Cooperative Play. Play is the avenue through which our children develop and refine social skills, allowing them to appropriately interact with their peers.

By 3-4 years:

  • Treats toys as if they were alive
  • Talks about their feelings
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Is beginning to role play familiar exchanges such as “Mom” or “Dad”
  • Engages in fantasy play with increasing imagination

By 4-5 years:

  • Engages in play with simple rules
  • Is able to play with 2-3 children in a group
  • Plays with other children with a shared goal
  • Begins to negotiate turn taking in play

Additional resources for play:

Gross Motor Development

During the preschool years your child is refining their gross motor skills, becoming increasingly agile and more controlled. Much development is seen in their ability to run, jump, balance and climb as well as an increase in their independence and confidence. Through physical play they are developing core strength as well as overall strengthened muscles to prepare them for participation in a variety of activities.

By 3-4 years:

  • Jumps over obstacles when running
  • Balances on one foot for 4-5 seconds
  • Walks up and down stairs unattended, alternating feet

By 4-5 years:

  • Goes up and downstairs unattended, alternating feet
  • Begins to jump rope
  • Climbs playground equipment with increasing agility
  • Is able to catch a bounced ball

Additional resources for gross motor development:

How can we help?

CCGD is committed to providing families with the resources they need to improve the wellbeing of their child.

The first step is to determine your child’s current level of functioning with a comprehensive evaluation. Phone consultations to help you in making the decision to schedule an evaluation are always free of charge and can be done over the phone or in person. Call today and ask to speak to one of our specialists!