Preschool Development

Ages 3-4


Size and Body

  • Rapid growth starts to slow

  • Start to lose baby fat

  • Muscles and bones further develop, making the child physically stronger

  • Proportion is similar to that of an adult

Motor Skills/Growth Patterns

  • Able to support body with one leg for up to five seconds

  • Throw and kicks

  • Learns to use scissors

  • Gains ability to move forward and backward with increased agility

  • Traces images and certain letters

  • Better balance and muscle action



  • Increased sense of independence

  • Displays self assurance

  • Home-centered- like to stay around parents

  • Still in the process of learning the concept of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’

  • Have a sense of responsibility

Disposition/How They Show Feeling

  • Defiant, stubborn

  • Emotions are usually extreme and short lived

  • Generally aggressive, easily aggravated

  • Gets frustrated when others aren’t around


Interactions With Social Groups and People

    • Cooperates with other children

    • Negotiate solutions to conflicts

    • Imaginary Friends

    • Can brag or be bossy

    • Enjoys company of others, including children

    • Can play organized games

    • Enjoys “helping”

    • Learns to take turns

    • Talkative

    • Starts to follow rules

Trust vs. Mistrust

  • Unfamiliar images may be “monsters”


  • More independant

  • Want praise for achievements


How They Learn

  • Ask lots of questions- “how?” and “why?”

  • Want to do and try different things

  • Let them go indoors and outdoors with active and quiet activities

What They Learn

    • Understands ”same” and “different”

    • Different Colors

    • Counting

    • Follows commands


  • Mastered some basic grammar rules

  • Speaks in five to six word sentences

  • Tells stories

  • Pronunciation is clear enough for strangers to understand.

  • By four, very talkative

  • Language includes silly words

Sense Organs

  • Begin differentiating smells

  • Understand volume of noises

  • Taste is also developing- children can differentiate the tastes

  • Pay attention to different textures

  • Development can be furthered as they experience different things. Make sure to point them out. “This is a fuzzy carpet. Can you feel how fuzzy it is?” and even “What is something salty you taste?”

Perceptual Concepts

  • Single point of view

  • Fantasy- creates it, role playing, and also has hard time distinguishing between fantasy and reality

  • Basic concepts like number, size, weight, color, texture, distance, time and position