Your child can use scissors with precision, but you worry because he can’t hop on one leg yet. Your friend’s little girl of the same age is already skipping rope but has difficulty holding a pencil. All children develop differently, but you want to make sure that your child is physically ready to meet the demands of his preschool or kindergarten class. Teachers expect most children to meet certain developmental milestones when they enter school or at some point during the school year. You may wish to help your child practice these skills before starting in a school program.
Preschool Gross Motor Expectations
Children entering preschool will need to be aware of where their personal space is and where they are in relation to other objects. Your preschooler should be able to move safely around a classroom. She should also be able to sit easily for a period of fifteen minutes without excessive fidgeting. Skills such as running, the ability to kick a ball, and jumping on two feet are basic expectations of a preschool child. Your preschooler may even be able to hop on one leg and skip. The ability to safely walk unassisted up and down stairs is also expected in preschool.
Preschool Fine Motor Expectations
If your preschooler can hold a pencil, crayon or marker using the correct grip, he is right on target with age-appropriate expectations. Although your preschooler may not color inside the lines or make all his letters perfectly, he is learning to write his name and create art with crayons and paintbrushes. Your preschooler will also be expected to have the ability to use scissors to cut simple shapes and string beads with large holes on a piece of string. Your preschooler should also be able to use his pincher fingers to pick up bits of paper and other small objects and glue them onto a flat surface. These skills are all used daily during different preschool activities, and your child will have plenty of time to perfect them.
Kindergarten Gross Motor Expectations
Your child will be expected to have even more control over her body once she enters kindergarten. Not only should she be able to sit still for about 25 to 30 minutes without fidgeting, but she should also be able to get in line and pace herself as she walks with the class down the hall. Activities such as climbing up four to five rungs of a ladder, using her legs to push a see-saw, and maneuvering other playground equipment safely is expected at this age. Kindergarten children are expected to be able to easily handle classroom supplies such as bins of crayons without dropping them.
Kindergarten Fine Motor Expectations
Kindergarten is the time for your child to show off her perfectly written name. Most kindergarteners will be able to write their first name in all capital letters without any letter reversals. Some are even able to write their last name. Kindergarteners are getting better control of their fine motor skills, and they can demonstrate control and proper grip when using crayons and usually stay within the lines. Your kindergartener will be expected to be able to work snaps, zippers and large buttons on clothing. By mid-year most kindergarteners are expected to be able to tie their own shoes. Your kindergartener should also be able to handle with ease small manipulatives such as beads, counting blocks and buttons.