PreSchool Readiness Milestones

How do I know if my child is ready for Preschool?

Check out the Developmental Milestones below to see what your child should be doing by ages 2-4 years old.

Social/Emotional

2 Year Old
  • Copies other, especially adults and other children
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows independence
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what he/she has been told not to do)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include others in play
3 Year Old
  • Copies adults and friends
  • Uses words to express wants and needs versus using actions/aggressive behavior
  • Able to use words to tell stories, share ideas and express feelings
  • Shows affection for friends independently
  • Takes turns in games
  • Shows concerns for crying friends
  • Understands the idea of “mine”, “his” and “hers”
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Separates from parents easily
  • Maintains attention to classroom activities
  • Independently chooses activities of interest
  • Cooperates when playing in a group
  • Helps friends when needed
  • Adapts easily to change of routine
4 Year Old
  • Behavior is easily redirected
  • Enjoys doing new things
  • Plays “mom” and “dad”
  • Is more and more creative with make-believe play
  • Would rather play with other children than by him or herself
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Talks about what he/she likes and what he/she is interested in

Language/Communication

2 Year Old
  • Points to things or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
  • Follows simple instructions/commands
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation
  • Points to things in a book
3 Year Old
  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Begins to use adjectives for color and size
  • Responds to wh-questions (who, what, where, when, why)
  • Asks many questions
  • Can name most familiar things
  • Understands words like “in”, “on” and “under”
  • Says first name, age and if they are a boy or girl.
  • Can name a friend
  • Uses pronouns “I”, “me”, “we”, and “you”
  • Starts to use some plurals (i.e. dogs, cats, cars)
  • Strangers can understand what your child is saying most of the time
  • Will put toys away when asked
4 Year Old
  • Correctly uses pronouns “he” and “she”
  • Sings songs or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “wheels on the Bus”
  • Tells stories
  • Can say first and last name

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)/Literacy Skills

2 Year Old
  • Finds things even when hidden
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Completes sentences in familiar books
  • Follows 2 step instructions (i.e. Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet)
3 Year Old
  • Recognizes first name when written
  • Recites the ABC’s
  • Able to name capital letters
  • Able to name lowercase letters
  • Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • Copies a circle with a pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
4 Year Old
  • Able to print first name
  • Able to print last name
  • Knows letter sounds
  • Identifies rhyming words (i.e. cat/hat)
  • Names some colors and numbers
  • Understands the idea of counting
  • Remembers part of a story
  • Plays board games
  • Tells you what he/she thinks is going to happen next in a book

Fine Motor/Self Help Skills

3-4 Year Old
  • Copies a horizontal line and circle
  • Can put on/ take off coat
  • Puts shoes on the correct feet
  • Brushes own teeth
  • Fastens large buttons
  • Cuts a piece of paper in half with scissors
  • Uses restroom independently
  • Zips most zippers

Movement/Physical Development

2 Year Old
  • Stands on tiptoe
  • Kicks a ball
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on
3 Year Old
  • Climbs well
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals a tricycle
  • Walks up and down stairs, one foot at each step
  • Throws a ball over head to hit a target
4 Year Old
  • Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
  • Catches a bounced ball most of the time
  • Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food

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