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What should your child learn in preschool by the time he is 3, 4, 5, and 6 years old?

As parents, it can be difficult to keep track of our kid’s learning at school. Thoughts such as “When should he learn to count?” or “Should he be able to read fluently now?” may cross your mind. These are questions which should be answered in order for you to properly understand your child’s learning speed and style.

This article provides kindergarten learning milestones which will help you keep track of your child’s development. If you are unsure about what your child should be learning in kindergarten, then this will benefit you.

A child’s capacity for knowledge acquisition during these pre-primary school years is enormous. Children in kindergarten learn from every experience, relationship, and adventure they encounter. With the space and opportunity to explore objects in stimulating environments, your child will start to develop imaginative thoughts. He may also start to master his motor, cognitive, language, and social skills which are essential for future development.

Over our many years of teaching, we have gained accurate insights about how children learn in kindergarten. Children learn best when they are actively engaged in a stimulating environment with many different activities. This enables them to express, experiment, communicate, think and problem-solve.

Core areas of development

Here at Chiltern House Preschool, we believe that our holistic learning environment will help your child excel in 7 core areas of development. We do also believe that a child’s learning is dependent on their level of confidence and comfort and every child has a unique learning style and range of abilities.

Social & emotional development

Social development influences the child’s ability to empathise and form long-lasting relationships with friends and family members. Caregivers at kindergartens play a huge role in social development because they interact with the child in school.

Emotional literacy on the other hand, refers to a child’s ability to express his feelings and emotions in front of others. Children who are aware of their emotions can better engage in daily routines without throwing a tantrum.

Kindergartens in Singapore excel in this area of development as caregivers actively plan opportunities for children to mingle and interact with one another.

Gross motor development

Gross motor skills  are essentially physical skills which require whole-body movement. It involves the use of core muscles to perform daily functions such as running, walking, standing, jumping and sitting. Your child should also be able to sit upright at a desk, navigate effectively in an environment and get off an escalator safely.

Kindergarten programmes typically include many physical activities such as hopscotch or playground play which help children exercise and improve their gross motor skills. You may also consider signing your child up for obstacle courses which involve creative movements that challenge your child’s gross motor skills.

Fine motor development

Your child’s mastery of fine motor skills will greatly improve his level of independence. Similar to gross motor skills which help your child perform daily tasks, fine motor skills allow independence in smaller matters such as brushing teeth, buttoning clothes, cutting shapes with a scissors and other hand-related skills.

Kindergarten schools in Singapore encourage the development of fine motor skills through activities such as colouring exercises, solving puzzles, playdough modelling and simple arts & craft.

Language and literacy development

By the age of 3, most children can use basic prepositions such as “in” and “on”, or even pronouns such as “I”, “you” and “we”. The speed in which your child learns to speak, read and write will depend on your child’s language and literacy development.

By the end of kindergarten, your child should be able to recognise names and all 26 letters of the Alphabet. He should also know how to correctly pronounce the letters. If your child demonstrates excellent literacy skills, he may be able to use vocabulary when conversing.

Mathematical understanding

There are 4 major mathematical concepts taught. Most kindergartens will teach math by linking the subject to everyday experiences. This makes it easier for children to relate and understand math.

Aesthetic and creative awareness

Kindergarten schools provide boundless opportunities for children to develop their creativity and divergent thinking. Media activities such as drama, dance and movement help children express their ideas freely, developing spatial awareness and self-expression.

As parents, you can help your child develop creativity by focusing on process rather than productivity. Instead of rushing your child through his artwork, give him time and positive affirmation. This will help him understand that you are proud of his individuality.

Science and technology

Learning science and technology at an early age can have a profound impact on your pre-schooler’s academic career.  Through digital literacy activities in kindergarten, your child will learn how to observe, collect data, make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. These skills will readily prepare your child for the inevitable use of technology in the future, helping them adapt and grow in the ever-changing technology landscape.

Kindergarten Developmental Milestones

At the end of each year at Chiltern House Preschool there are a number of desired outcomes. Our comprehensive curriculum provides a holistic learning environment for every child. Here is a broad checklist of kindergarten development milestones which can be adapted to individual abilities.

By the time a child is 3 years old he should be able to:By the time a child is 4 years old he should be able to:By the time a child is 5 years old he should be able to:By the time a child is 6 years old he should be able to:
Social and Emotional Development
  • Be at ease in the preschool setting
  • Approach new situations calmly
  • Tolerate slight frustration
  • Wait for a short while
  • Complete a task willingly
  • Accept limits set by adult
  • Accept limits set by adults
  • Separate from parents easily
  • Involve self in group activities
  • Approach new situations calmly and comfortably
  • Ask for assistance
  • Cope with new situations comfortably
  • Attempt to resolve simple conflicts positively
  • Able to work in groups
  • Be receptive to discipline
  • Able to take turns
  • Express their needs to adults and peers
  • Verbalise feelings
  • Control aggressive behaviour
  • Share
  • Work in pairs
Gross Motor Development
  • Run with coordination
  • Walk up and down stairs independently, using handrails for balance
  • Jump
  • Catch a rolling ball from close range
  • Throw a big ball to an adult
  • Climb confidently
  • Climb up and down stairs with alternating feet, using handrail for balance
  • Jump off low steps or objects
  • Peddle a tricycle
  • Dig with a spade
  • Confidently jump over low objects
  • Climb with confidence
  • Hop
  • Attempt to skip
  • Throw and catch a ball / bean bag
  • Attempt to bounce a ball
  • Attempt to skip using a skipping rope
  • Throw and catch a ball/bean bag
  • Run with coordination
  • Confidently jump over low objects
  • Maintain balance on objects for several seconds
Fine Motor Development
  • Exhibit good eye hand coordination
  • Tear and paste paper
  • Turn pages one at a time
  • Scribble in a circular motion
  • Use art material (e.g. glue bottles, paintbrush etc.) appropriately
  • Hold scissors with preferred hand
  • Pick up small objects
  • Improve their pencil control
  • To follow / trace over a stencil outline
  • Draw a basic shape e.g. circle or picture
  • Use correct scissor grip
  • Use scissors to snip and cut
  • Attempt to copy write letters and sentences using appropriate letter formation
  • Use implements to roll and cut out modeling materials
  • Attempt to write with correct pencil grip
  • To follow / trace over a stencil or template outline
  • Draw a basic shape e.g. circle or picture
  • Develop correct pencil grip
  • Develop firmer pencil grip
  • Cut with greater accuracy along straight, curved and jagged lines.
  • Copy write letters and sentences using appropriate letter formation
  • Make simple folds
Language and Literacy Development
  • Have an expanding vocabulary
  • Converse using short sentences
  • Anticipate parts of rhymes or songs
  • Pronounce most words clearly
  • Use ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘mine’ appropriately
  • Understand and follow simple instructions
  • Answer who, what, when, where, why and how questions
  • Describe what they are seeing
  • Take turns in a conversation
  • Converse using short sentences
  • Take turns in a conversation
  • Identify and name the alphabet
  • Identify and name most phonic sounds
  • Answer simple comprehension questions
  • Follow two to three step instructions in sequence
  • Sequence a simple story
  • Read independently.
  • Write four to five sentences on their own.
  • Unscramble sentences on their own and answer comprehension questions
  • Think and create a story of their own.
  • Read instructions independently
Mathematical Understanding
  • Rote count 1 to 10
  • Give one more
  • Able to identify groups of objects 1 to 4
  • Recognise numerals 1 to 5
  • Compare size – big or little
  • Understand the language of ‘same, different or how many’
  • Identify, place and describe items in their position & direction
  • Have a basic understanding of opposites
  • Compare two objects in terms of size and length
  • Sequence basic events
  • Understand concept and number value up to 10
  • Identify and name most number words
  • Identify and create patterns
  • Compare more and less
  • Count in reverse order 10 to 0
  • Understand concept and number value up to 20
  • Understand number stories (the beginning of problem sums)
  • Understand the beginnings of chance and probabilities
  • Understand measurement of objects using non-units like toothpicks, ice cream sticks etc.
  • Estimate
  • Understand the use and function of analogue and digital clocks.
Aesthetic and Creative Awareness
  • Use a variety of materials / techniques for painting & printing
  • Use a variety of writing / drawing implements
  • Participate in a role play
  • Use props for symbolic and imaginative play
  • Explore colour mixing
  • Choose particular colours to use for a purpose
  • Experiment to create different textures
  • Use a variety of materials / techniques for painting & printing
  • Develop representational drawing
  • Explore colour mixing.
  • Experiment to create different textures
  • Explore and use a variety of materials / techniques for creating pictures & models.
  • Develop representational drawing.
  • Do detailed drawings
  • Do detailed drawings
  • Use a variety of writing/drawing implements.
  • Make models
  • Participate in a role- play.
  • Use props for symbolic and imaginative play
Science and Technology
  • Identify the computer components e.g. mouse, monitor & keyboard
  • Able to manipulate the mouse
  • Able to left click on the mouse
  • Able to locate letters on the keyboard
  • Use the spacebar
  • Record simple experiments
  • Follow step instructions for experiments
  • Identify the computer components e.g. mouse, monitor, CD ROMs, CPU & keyboard
  • Follow instructions given by programme
  • Use appropriate keys on the keyboard (e.g. spacebar, backspace, delete, shift or caps lock buttons)
  • Make predictions
  • Describe outcomes
  • Explain outcomes
  • Compare outcomes
  • Experiment with senses
  • Record simple experiments

This list is a sample of outcomes. It should give you an idea of what your child may be able to achieve each year. Please don’t forget that each child is different and learns at a different pace. A child who is not able to grasp phonetic sounds in Nursery 2 (N2), may be the most advanced reader in her class by Kindergarten 2 (K2)!

So, the most important thing to remember is that in a nurturing and understanding environment free from pressure, children will flourish and develop to their fullest potential.

To find out more on our kindergarten curriculum, contact us here.

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