Early Childhood Developmental Skills - 4 Year Old

Developmental Learning Skills - 4 Year Old


Creative Skills
By completion of the school year, the child:

  • Engages in spontaneous imaginative play.
  • Descriptive Statement: At block center, uses blocks to build a castle for pretend play.
  • Participates in dramatic play by assuming a variety of roles. May also assign some roles to others.
  • Descriptive Statement: This could be during center time or outside play.
  • Substitutes items and pretends when real things are not available.
  • Descriptive Statement: May substitute a block for a car or a stuffed animal for a baby.
  • Works creatively with art material and tools.
  • Descriptive Statement: Does not depend on or use patterns, models or mimeographed material for inspiration.
  • Uses a variety of self-expressive mediums.
  • Descriptive Statement: These include such material as clay, paint, scissors, crayons and collage.
  • Makes increasingly recognizable forms when using self-expressive material.
  • Thinks of new uses for familiar material.
  • Descriptive Statement: Pretends a cardboard tube from a paper towel roll is a telescope.
  • Moves freely in response to music.
  • Expresses thoughts and feelings through creative movement.
  • Descriptive Statement: Tiptoes when the music is soft and stomps when music is loud.
  • Uses simple musical instruments.
  • Descriptive Statement: Plays instruments as accompaniment or as a special effect rather than the "creation of noises."

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Language Arts

Listening Skills
By completion of the school year, the child:

  • Recognizes and responds to own name.
  • Understands and responds to simple directions.
  • Descriptive Statement: Follows two directions in sequence, "Please wash your hands and then sit down."
  • Talks and listens while in a large group of ten to twenty children.
  • Descriptive Statement: Can usually control the impulse to speak out until there is an opportunity to do so without interrupting another person. May need reminding.
  • Recognizes and names common environmental sounds.
  • Descriptive Statement: Can identify without seeing the sources horn, barking dog, pencil sharpener, etc.
  • Discriminates different sounds.
  • Descriptive Statement: Can label sounds as soft/loud, and same/different. Has difficulty discriminating between high/low.
  • Imitates and repeats simple rhythm.
  • Descriptive Statement: Able to reproduce an auditory pattern of two or three beats. May have trouble with a pattern of four.
  • Recognizes some sounds that rhyme.
  • Descriptive Statement: Loves nonsense poetry.    

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Speaking Skills
Uses language to communicate desires and needs to an adult.

  • Descriptive Statement: Says "I am cold."
  • Names objects rather than pointing.
  • Descriptive Statement: "I want the car."
  • Refers to self in the first person.
  • Descriptive Statement: Says "I will do it." not "Me do it."
  • Gives a relevant answer when asked a question.
  • Descriptive Statement: In response to "Who took you to the library?" Answers, "Mom took me." not "I got a new book."
  • Asks simple questions using who, where, what and why.
  • Descriptive Statement: "Where is the tub of tiles?" "Whose turn is next?"
  • Expresses ideas in complete sentences of four or more words.
  • Descriptive Statement: "I want to play."
  • Uses past and future tense and forms plurals correctly.
  • Descriptive Statement: May still be confused by irregular verbs such as saying "goed" for "went."
  • Carries on a conversation with adults and peers.
  • Descriptive Statement: Loves to chat; able to take turns during a conversation.
  • Begins to put ideas and events in correct sequence when relating a personal experience.
  • Descriptive Statement: Tells a story about going to the park with a friend. "Sunday Mom took us to the park. We played on the rocket slide. Jeff got scared at the top. Mom helped him down."
  • Retells a familiar story or recites nursery rhyme in the correct order.
  • Descriptive Statement: May confuse facts.
  • Participates in simple fingerplays and songs.
  • Descriptive Statement: May need repetition in order to join in.

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Literacy Skills

  • Recognizes his or her first name in print.
  • Descriptive Statement: Selects his or her name tag from several.
  • Names six basic colors.
  • Descriptive Statement: Names appropriate color when shown an object.
  • Holds book right side up and begins at the front.
  • Begins to develop an awareness that print moves from left to right, top to bottom and front to back.
  • Descriptive Statement: Imitates teacher's behavior of tracking print when using big books.
  • Arranges picture story cards in sequential order.
  • Descriptive Statement: Does this with a sequence of three or four cards.
  • Interprets pictures verbally.
  • Descriptive Statement: Tells a story when shown a picture.
  • Dictates simple stories for his or her teacher to write down.
  • Descriptive Statement: May use experience, imagination or picture as source. Story may ramble.
  • Identifies and matches identical items.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses lotto games or flannel board activities for this purpose.
  • Identifies some letters of the alphabet in random order.
  • Descriptive Statement: May be in context of child's name, familiar signs, and so forth.
  • Prints own first name.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses medium, such as chalk, easel, unlined paper for this purpose. Letters may be reversed.
  • Prints some random letters.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses felt pens, crayons and unlined paper for this purpose.

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By completion of the school year, the child:

  • Names basic geometric shapes.
  • Descriptive Statement: Basic shapes are circle, square and triangle.
  • Counts objects to five in a one to one correspondence.
  • Recognizes numerals from one to five.
  • Demonstrates relationships between the number of objects and the numerals.
  • Descriptive Statement: Puts two objects by number two, three objects by number three..
  • Compares and recognizes items that are more, less or the same in size.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses the words "more" "less" and/or "same" to define the relationship between the objects.
  • Participates in measuring activities and names units of measure.
  • Descriptive Statement: For example, speaks of "three spoonfuls," "three jars," or "four hands long."
  • Participates in simple graphing activities.
  • Descriptive Statement: Participates in an activity that shows how many children have shoes with buckles, ties or velcro .
  • Continues a simple pattern.
  • Descriptive Statement: Arranges green and red blocks in alternating order.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of spatial relationships.
  • Descriptive Statement: Points to or places objects on, under, beside, behind, in or out on request.

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Motor Skills
By completion of the school year, the child:

    Gross Motor

  • Runs easily and stops quickly.
  • Descriptive Statement: Moves in a coordinated manner.
  • Walks up and down stairs
  • Descriptive Statement: Alternates feet when ascending and descending stairs.
  • Walks forward on a broad balance beam or a four-inch-wide line.
  • Descriptive Statement: Places one foot in front of the other.
  • Jumps the distance of two feet or more.
  • Descriptive Statement: Keeps feet together while jumping.
  • Balances on one foot.
  • Descriptive Statement: Balance on one foot for approximately three to five seconds with eyes open.
  • Attempts a one-footed skip.
  • Descriptive Statement: Performs a hop, step movement.
  • Performs basic gallop.
  • Descriptive Statement: This should not be confused with even-paced skipping which is usually too difficult.
  • Peddles and steers a tricycle.
  • Identifies and reproduces the following motions with his or her own body when asked: walk, run, march, hop, jump, crawl, roll on mat, bend and turn.
  • Claps and marches to music.
  • Responds appropriately to different tempos.
  • Descriptive Statement: Can change from fast to slow tempos.
  • Catches a large ball with two hands.
  • Tosses a ball to a partner overhand.
  • Climbs on jungle gym or other climbing apparatus.
  • Descriptive Statement: Evaluates risks but loves taking chances.

    Fine Motor

  • Grasps small objects with thumb and forefinger.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses pincer grasp with small beads for art projects.
  • Uses tools such as hammer, saw, mixer, peeler and shredder.
  • Holds crayons with two fingers and thumb grasp.
  • Controls a paint brush.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses large strokes.
  • Manipulates scissors.
  • Descriptive Statement: Cuts around large objects.
  • Carries a medium size container of liquid without excessive spilling.
  • Descriptive Statement: Container is no more than three quarters full.
  • Turns objects with hand.
  • Descriptive Statement: Can turn a door knob, lid or eggbeater.
  • Completes an assortment of manipulatives with skill.
  • Descriptive Statement: For example: strings 1/2 inch beads, stacks one-inch cubes, uses sewing cards, etc.
  • Completes a ten to twelve piece puzzle.
  • Descriptive Statement: The puzzle is contained within a frame.
  • Copies a circle, cross and attempts a square on unlined paper.
  • Descriptive Statement: Circle starts from top; cross lines intersect near middle; one side of square may be curved.
  • Uses small muscles for self-help skills.
  • Descriptive Statement: Zips or buttons clothing. Pours without spilling.

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By completion of the school year, the child:

  • Develops an awareness of seasonal changes and weather conditions.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses words such as cloudy, sunny, windy, etc., to identify weather conditions.
  • Observes plants and animals and knows about their care.
  • Descriptive Statement: Tells what the class pet eats and how to care for it.
  • Names some human body parts.
  • Uses senses to explore the environment.
  • Descriptive Statement: "What do you do with your eyes?" "Ummm, I like peanut butter cookies.
  • Names some facts about the physical properties of objects.
  • Descriptive Statement: Hot, cold, rough, smooth, soft, hard.
  • Groups items according to their common properties.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses classifications such as sorts food, according to fruit or vegetable; animals according to whether they live in water, on land or in air.
  • Participates in the scientific method with the teacher's direction.
  • Descriptive Statement: Makes observations, thinks of reasons why things happen, tries out reasons and possible causes, observes results and draws conclusions.
  • Asks questions about his or her world.
  • Descriptive Statement: "What are clouds?" "Why is the sky blue?"
  • Demonstrates a beginning awareness of life cycles.
  • Descriptive Statement: Observes seed to flower, caterpillar to butterfly, egg to chicken.

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Social Skills
By the completion of the school year, the child:

  • Takes care of personal needs.
  • Descriptive Statement Uses toilet independently; washes hands unassisted; blows nose when reminded; dresses self for outdoor play with some assistance; may lace shoes but does not tie; demonstrates adequate table skills (pours from small pitcher; spreads soft materials with knife).
  • Begins to anticipate risks and takes precautions to protect self from dangerous situations.
  • Descriptive Statement: Child pauses and looks both ways before crossing the street.
  • Chooses activities without teacher's help.
  • Descriptive Statement: Selects center to use during free choice time.
  • Separates from parent without undue stress.
  • Descriptive Statement: After saying "goodbye" is ready to interact with peers and teachers.
  • Plays cooperatively and interacts with other children without constant supervision. Only requires occasional help.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses words to express a need without hitting or pushing another child.
  • Deals with own feelings in an age appropriate way.
  • Descriptive Statement: Temper tantrums are rare or nonexistent; can sometimes say how he or she feels instead of sulking or crying.
  • Identifies and labels some of his or her own feelings.
  • Descriptive Statement: Recognizes major feelings such as sad, happy, angry or hurt.
  • Demonstrates confidence in self.
  • Descriptive Statement: Tries unfamiliar equipment such as balance beams and slides. Attempts new tasks with enthusiasm.
  • Responds to other children's need for help.
  • Descriptive Statement: May show another child how to do something or help them to be successful.
  • Begins to understand and respect the property of others.
  • Descriptive Statement: Leaves other children's and teacher's possessions alone.
  • Stands up for his or her rights.
  • Descriptive Statement: Holds on when he has something first; resists being bullied.
  • Takes turns and shares with assistance.
  • Descriptive Statement: Often conforms to rules about sharing, particularly if his or her rights are protected.
  • Develops relationships with adults other than family members.
  • Descriptive Statement: Is friendly with bus driver, teacher, cook and/or principal.
  • Participates in large and small group activities.
  • Descriptive Statement: Shares the attention of the teacher with other children.
  • Knows and observes the rules and routines of the classroom.
  • Descriptive Statement: Rules are few and become internalized for most children; others may need reminding.
  • Makes choices and stays with an activity for a reasonable length of time (10 to 15 minutes) once a choice is made.
  • Descriptive Statement: Activity must be age appropriate and interesting if attention is to be sustained. Such long-term involvement most probable when activity is based on play.
  • Completes activity most of the time.
  • Descriptive Statement: May need encouragement; the activity must be appropriate.
  • Takes good care of material.
  • Descriptive Statement: Uses equipment carefully, does not waste supplies and puts material away when finished.
  • Returns material to correct place when finished with an activity.
  • Descriptive Statement: May need reminding.
  • Contributes to classroom responsibility.
  • Descriptive Statement: Wipes tables, picks up trash, waters plants, feeds classroom pet, etc.

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Social Studies
By completion of the school year, the child:

  • Shows his or her curiosity about the world outside the home by asking questions.
  • Descriptive Statement: Enjoys simple walking tours to observe leaves, trees, etc.
  • Gives personal information such as name, gender and age.
  • Names significant family members and recognizes different family structures.
  • Descriptive Statement: Includes mother, father, siblings, and grand-parents. May have difficulty himself or herself in more than one role, such as realizing he or she is a son and a brother or a daughter and a sister at the same time.
  • Gives the name of his or her town.
  • Identifies different school personnel.
  • Descriptive Statement: Points out secretary, principal, custodian, etc.
  • Locates specific places in the school setting.
  • Descriptive Statement: Places may include cafeteria, classroom and principal's office.
  • Describes people's job and what is required to perform them.
  • Descriptive Statement: Job may include police, firefighters, doctors, farmers, etc.
  • Aware of simple cultural differences.
  • Descriptive Statement: For example, may notice the color of skin, hair, eyes, language and customs.
  • Aware of technology and its use in the classroom and at home.
  • Aware of how people positively affect the environment.
  • Descriptive Statement: Participates in a recycling project or picking up litter from a local area.

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Thinking Skills and Problem Solving
By the end of the school year, the child:

  • Attempts to solve problems before asking for help.
  • Descriptive Statement: May negotiate with another child or remind another of the rule before seeking teacher assistance.
  • Proposes a possible solution when confronted with a problem.
  • Descriptive Statement: Typically produces only one solution; additional children will contribute other solutions.
  • Uses more than one method to acquire what he or she wants.
  • Descriptive Statement: May utilize asking, borrowing, bargaining, or trading, but often needs instruction and support from teacher.
  • Identifies groups and names of items that have a common property.
  • Descriptive Statement: Groups objects or pictures according to color, shape, size, number of legs, hair or hairless, etc.
  • Arranges three to four items in graduated order.
  • Descriptive Statement: Arranges objects from small to large, rough to smooth, soft to hard.
  • Identifies and names missing parts in models and drawings.
  • Descriptive Statement: Points out a body part that is missing or a truck without a wheel.

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Last updated on July 16, 2012