Is your child four or five years old and starting school next year?

Transitioning from preschool to ‘big school’ is an exciting time — and a very big step for children, as Kindy requires lots of skills for classroom and playground activities. So now is an important time to ensure they are developing all the skills they will need in Kindergarten.

As you prepare your child for school next year, here are a range of key developmental milestones you can expect your child to reach:

Gross Motor Skills

At this age, your child will be developing their:

  • Ball skills: Throwing, catching, bouncing and kicking of a ball with increasing confidence
  • Running with speed
  • Climbing with ease
  • Jumping over objects in the playground with two feet
  • Balancing on one foot, standing and walking on tip toe, and hopping — however, they may still be quite wobbly!
  • Climbing stairs: Walking up and down stairs using alternate feet
  • New activities: Like skipping and jumping backwards

Fine Motor Skills

Independence: You will start to notice your child’s fine motor skills developing, helping them to gain independence and enabling them to engage in self-care tasks, including:

  • Getting dressed and undressed
  • Fastening and unfastening large buttons
  • Eating with a fork correctly

Writing: Your child will now be developing a range of pre-writing skills that are important for an extensive range of school activities. At this age, your child will likely use a static (or modified) tripod grip using their shoulder and elbow for movement. This will transition to a dynamic tripod grip, with movement coming from the fingers and wrist. 

Drawing: At this stage, they’ll be able to:

  • Copy a range of shapes, including a cross, square, diagonal lines and an X shape
  • Draw a face, including eyes, a nose and mouth
  • Draw a stick figure with two to four body parts

Cutting and Manipulating Small Objects: Your child can cut big circles with scissors, practising using their two hands together (i.e. one as the ‘doing hand’ and one as the ‘helping hand’). At this age they’re also able to engage in games that involve their fine motor skills, like threading beads and completing puzzles with four to five pieces.

Communication Skills

From the age of four onwards, you may notice that your child loves to talk, becoming a wonderful conversationalist who uses five or more words in a sentence. They are able to speak clearly, however, they may still have some trouble sounding out ‘TH’, ‘S’, ‘R’ or ‘W’.

Your child probably enjoys telling stories and singing nursery rhymes, participating and listen with awe! They will also start to talk about what could happen throughout their day, or even what they would like to happen at their day, at preschool.

Cognitive Skills

As your child’s brain grows and their knowledge expands, they will develop the desire to ask questions to deepen their understanding of the world around them.

Instructions: At this stage, a child can understand two to three instructions at once.
For example: Please get the bowl of grapes, take it to Mummy and then put the bowl back on the table”.

Sequencing and planning: They are developing their task completion skills. For example: Copying building the block tower you make.

Numbers and letters: They know the name of letters and numbers, and can count up to 20.

Sorting: They are able to sort objects by a subject (e.g. colour or size) and match and name four colours.

Social and Emotional Skills

Your child will start to explore and learn how to express their emotions. You will start to see them learning how to use gestures and noises as well as understanding how talking can express their emotions.

They are learning about the feelings of others, understanding how to share with toys and taking turns. They will enjoy playing with other children, organising games together and making friends.

Your child will also likely establish their favourite games, developing their imaginative play, discovering new roles and creating complex imaginative games.

Games to Play With Your Child

You can play a range of games with your children to help support their development.

  • ‘What’s The Time, Mr Wolf?’ will help support the development of anticipation and listening to instructions
  • Board games, such as Guess Who, can work on your child’s attention, communication, asking questions and taking turns
  • Obstacle courses built using the toys in your house, helps develop their planning, sequencing and gross motor skills
  • Finger painting, creating rainbows with chalk and building people with Play-Doh helps develop fine motor and pre-writing skills
  • Puppets and dress ups can develop their imaginative play skills

Extra Help For Your Child’s Development

As every child is unique, each child will develop these skills at different times throughout this developmental stage. However, if you think your child might need extra support with any areas, you can talk to our team about how Occupational Therapy sessions could help your child. An OT can help kids build their skills in all of the outlined areas to help prepare them for starting school. Additionally, Occupational Therapy Helping Children offers a range of holiday groups for preschoolers, including our School Readiness and Social Skills programmes.