The Gross Motor area examines the child’s development in large muscle coordination, strength and stamina

Cognitive area addresses intellectual functions such as reasoning, problem solving and knowledge.

Language area examines the child’s ability to perform the functions of language: reporting, questioning, predicting, and relating information; following and giving directions, describing actions and expressing needs and feelings.

Self help examines the child’s ability to cope independently and responsibly with the skills of daily living.

Personal-Social sills focus on the child’s responsiveness to the social environment such as cooperation, ability to relate to a group, sensitivity to others and helpfulness.


  • Still needs a parent for security, “mother – cub” complex
  • Is concerned only with their inner self
  • “mine” – not truly capable of sharing
  • Resolves problems physically
  • Toilet training
  • Short attention span, easily distracted


Jumps in place

Walks backward


Can group “like” objects

Repeats 2 digits

Understands “one”

Learning colors


Knows body parts

Can ask for food, drink or toilet when needed

Refers to themselves by name

Speaks in three word sentences

Uses regular plurals


Removes and puts on coat, Hangs clothes on a hook

Feeds themselves, can use a fork

Dries their own hands


Play beside other children

Pulls person to show

Initiates own play activities

Tells full name



Stands with heels together and arms at sides (1ST Position)

Stands on one foot (tendu)

Walks on a line (can go across the floor)

Walks on tip toe  (releve’ and bourree’)

Jumps from objects (saute’)

Standing broad jump  (grand jete’)

Throws and catches balls  (eye/hand coordination)

Walks up stair with alternating feet  (marching)


Can matches and sort colors  (can stand behind colors)

Repeats 3 digits  (can count 1-2-3 in French)

Can count to three

Understands “two”

Knows big and small

Understands “both”, “different”, “long” and “empty”

Recognizes familiar songs  (can learn to sing short songs)


Speaks and can point at lots of common objects

Says (or sings) nursery rhyme or common song (can learn to sing short songs)

Answers questions regarding physical needs (are you hungry)

Uses personal pronouns like “I, you and me”

Speaks intelligibly

Talks on the telephone

Understands “on, under, in front of, beside, behind”  (abstract thought)

Delivers a “one part” verbal message (tell Tommy to open the door)

Answers “if-what” questions (if you had a penny, what would you buy?”


Plays with others (associative play)  (can cooperate and play with others)

Points to self in group photo

Separates from parent easily  (can easily leave parents at the studio door)

Listens “attentively” to stories  (listens to stories for creative dance)

Takes turns

Can move or walk with a group  (can work in a group)

Wipes nose with tissue

Turns faucet on and off

Turns doorknob and opens a door

Pours water from small pitcher

Can remove pull down type garments (can go to the bathroom basically unassisted)

Unbuttons front buttons

Snaps front snaps, Unbuckles belts

Removes pull over garment

Undresses completely with assistance

Unties and removes shoes but might get wrong feet (can take off shoes and get new ones on)

Brushes teeth with assistance

Gets drink of water

Washes and dries hands

Goes to the toilet alone, Flushes toilet


Responds to initial greeting

Sits in circle and joins group in imitating the leader (circles, lines, formations)

Plays simple group games

Puts toys away with supervision (can put mats and work objects away/use a cubby)

Shares toys  (can share and take turns, share space)

Expresses displeasure verbally rather than physically

Can tell you if they are a boy or a girl

Performs for others (recitals or demonstrations, show off)

Asks permission to use an item that belongs to other child

Enjoys choice

Creative play is important/fantasy (creative dance)

Enjoy making music and noise  (tap shoes and props)

Loves slides, swings and climbers

Loves water

Learning self-discipline  (learning to control themselves, can take corrections)

Uses toilet but anxious about mistakes

Developing empathy  (starting to “care” about their effects on others)

Delights in physical activity but tires easily. (bursts of physical activities)

Being overtired lead to breakdowns

Loves clapping, stamping, sings simple songs

Can march and perform simple actions

Learning the coordination of the feet, hands, head and body (can do simple isolation)

Language blossoms..talks endlessy  (needs opportunity to talk or verbalize in class)

Lots of questions and comments about the outside world  (will tell secrets from home or detailed stories)

Will give detailed accounts of things with much imagination.

Learning to lie!

Aware of mental and physical sensations of pain and fear. (might be afraid of tumbling)

Sorting out what is real vs. what is pretend

Changes of mood rapidly and dramatically, feelings are intense but pass quickly (mood swings/dramatic)

Able to cope with separation if prepared.  Developing trust.



Carries a cup of water without spilling

Walks on a circular line  (can do circular formations)

Stands longer on one foot  (better balance, tendu, passe’, battement)

Hops on one foot  (1 foot to 1 foot)

Walks fwd heel toe  (great for tap)

Skips or gallops

Strength to throw objects farther

Climbs ladders  (opposition coordination)

Run and jumps on two feet (1 foot to 2 feet, assemble)


Matches and separates colors  (knows colors and can use them well)

Can carry heavier objects

Understands rough and smooth, hard and soft  (better with abstract thoughts)

Understands absurd questions (can a bird swim?)  (sense of humor)

Understands “tall”

Can put related pictures and items together

Counts to 10 – 15  (can count higher in French)

Names missing objects

Understands shapes  (can improv in shapes and can use shapes for explanations)


Pantomimes words (toothbrush, cup, scissors)

Can tell you what something “is not”

Tells the use of objects

Repeats multi syllable sentences

Requests items

Gives accounts of recent experiences in order of occurrence


Places paper towel in basket after use

Puts on socks

Zips front zippers

Serves food to self

Puts on pull up garments

Buckles belt

Buttons front button

Puts shoes on correct feet  (can change shoes with less help)

Laces shoes

Gets dressed completely with assistance (by 5 ½ can do it alone) (can go to restroom and come back to class)

Brushes teeth

Feeds self with spoon and fork

Washes and dries face


Puts toys away without supervision  (can clean up props and small mats)

Plays cooperatively with other children  (enjoys playing with other children)

Participates in dramatic make-believe play  (loves creative/pretend exercises)

Says, “please and thank you”  (learning manners, can learn French terms for these)

Goes on errands  (can be line leaders)

Learning to set their own limits  (will remember rules and are proud when the follow them, stickers)

Boundaries keep children from feeling anxious

Tells age

Tells names of siblings

Tells street name in address

Calls attention to their own performance  (will say “watch me” constantly)

Says, “Excuse me” when interrupting

Work and play cannot be split apart for a four year old

Can prematurely taste the problems of failure, they are afraid to fail

Interested in developing and understanding relationships, they want new friends

Might have rivalry with younger or new sibling

Growing sense of independence, starting to want some independence  (you are so grown up!)

Important to be flexible

Relishes a routine.  Sees it as a secure framework  (rules and repetition)

Enjoys rules – safety and structure

Too much doubt and uncertainty, too many unexpected and bewildering happenings causes overload

Nice surprises with the freedom of movement inside structure

Learning patterns of days of the week, seasons and celebrations  (theme classes are fun!)

Sorting out imagination and reality  (real vs. fake)

Learning to share

Most growing up is done through imaginative play, make believe and pretending (role playing, will play dance teacher)

Right and wrong  good vs. bad

Songs are appealing to children of this age

Remember that warnings are different from threats

Work and play are the same thing for a four year old

God/sex and death questions

Activities are “fresh” for them

How things work, how things are made

Doing things make them feel “good” and “capable”

Feels great pride when a new feat is accomplished

15-20 minute concentration is better

run leap whirl  hopping on one foot

Loves running and climbing

loves discovery

Anxiety triggers fear and tantrums

Separation anxieties, needs a parent to defend them against anxieties

Patience and thoughtfulness are the only tools

Increase the mastery of their bodies

Consistent and caring listening adult



Marches rhythmically to music

Stands on tip toes with hands on hips (releve’ with hands on hips)

Touches toes with both hands  (standing stretches)

Stands on one foot with arms across chest

Stands on each foot alternately  (1 foot to the other foot)

Swings each leg separately back and forth (shuffle)

Hops fwd on each foot separately

Skips on alternate feet

Jumps backward

Walks backward heel to toe (great for tap)



Imitates rhythmic patterns  (tap short combos, my turn – your turn exercises)

Understands “more”, “first”, “less”  (more abstract thoughts)

Can read or recognize numerals  (ground work for reading, helpful for early music theory)

Counts 10 objects (directions of the room and counting in French)

Can name 8 colors and point to them

Understands what a clock is for  (knows when class is over if there is a clock in the room)

Understands basic idea of money


Tells the use of the senses

Tells opposites  (helps with R and L, right way – wrong way)

Tells what things are made of

Uses compound sentences

Can define concrete nouns (what is a ball?  You roll it, it is round, and you play with it)

Names the sources of actions (what bounces, what flies, what bites)

Tells a story using pictures

Rhymes words  (helps with remembering songs)

Follows three steps in correct order  (can follow short combination)

Uses irregular plurals (feet, mice)

Delivers two part verbal message


Chooses own friends (might leave someone out)

Plays competitive games  (wants to win)

Names emotions  (can sometimes tell you how they feel)

Tells birthday

Helps adult with simple tasks (loves to be leader or put things away for teacher)

Development of abstract thinking

Competition is not good as a whole

Acquired some degree of independence:

Can feed themselves

Are toilet trained

Have language to communicate

Trying to understand the rules of society (will follow studio rules and expect other too, tattle tales)

Beginning to look more outward (how do I effect others)

Attend formal groups – school, kindergarten, dance, church groups (other adult role models besides parents)

Recognizing and explaining their environment (more sources for improvisation)

Taking more responsibility for own needs

Some revert to baby ways to see if parent responds and to make sure they have not “lost” their parent

Turning from their inside world to an outer one

Gradually children will modify their perceptions to accept a teachers personality as compared to their parents.

Freedom to please themselves is curtailed..must cooperate and share

Learning to recognize the needs of others

Once child will take over, another will follow although it looks like cooperation (rotate leaders, what looks like cooperation

might be fear to step forward)

Ability to tolerate frustration

Teachers must be aware of what makes each child enthusiastic

Consistency from one teacher is important

Children try to keep their two worlds apart to deal with the differences.

What did you do at school today? Nothing!  Worlds collide, split loyalty between mom and teacher.  Will cover up!

Rules are a safe framework.  Will point out deviations from the rules.  Will tattle.  If we don’t make rules, they will!

Not good at games with detailed rules

Love role-playing games that let them experience power

Developing motor skills

Love physical activity – gross motor development and singing games

Friendships are transitory

The teacher is more important than the peers

Not developed significant powers of negations and compromise

You won’t be my friend anymore – boys hit – non-rational relationships – rivalry “my dad’s better than yours”


Understanding Your Three Year Old  by Judith Trowell

Understanding Your Four Year Old by Lisa Miller

Understanding Your Five Year Old by Lesley Holditch

The Third Year of Life by Nina R. Lief, M.D.

Keys to Parenting Your Four Year Old  Meri Wallce, M.S.W., C.S.W

The First Years by the I Am Your Child Foundation  DK PubLishing

Learning Accomplishment Profile  Chapel Hill Traing-outreach Program

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