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Preschool Phases

What to Expect in Your Child's Current Phase

It is important to understand the developmental stages of preschoolers in order to best meet their needs. The following information is provided as a resource for you.

New Baby

The Phase when nobody sleeps, everybody smells, and one mesmerizing baby convinces you “I NEED YOU NOW”!

 

Physically

  • Lifts their head and chest (3-4 months)

  • Reaches for objects and rolls over (4-6 months)

  • Sits up and grabs with two fingers (6-8 months)

  • Crawls (6-10 months)

  • Stands unsupported/maybe even walks (11-12 months)

 

Verbally

  • Has distinctive cries and makes vowel sounds (0-6 months)

  • Turns toward your voice and makes consonant sounds (3 months)

  • Mimics your tone and “babbles” (6 months)

  • Understands simple words (9 months)

  • Understands around 70 words and says “first words” (12 months)

 

Mentally

  • Experiences the word through five senses

  • Mildly aware of everything and learning fast

  • Learns best from things that respond to them (people over screens)

  • Enjoys music, dramatic expressions, silly voices, and things that make you look ridiculous.

 

Emotionally

  • Gives the first social smile (6 weeks)

  • Mirrors expressions (2 months)

  • Distinguishes happy faces from sad faces (4 months)

  • Turns away from strangers to show fear (6 months)

  • Shows surprise at loud noises (7 months)

 

Your role is to embrace their physical needs

  • Thinks like an artist – You help them learn when you…engage their senses.

  • Wants to know, “AM I SAFE?” – You capture their heart when you…establish trust.

  • Is motivated by safety – You coach their moral abilities when you…consistently meet their physical needs.

 

This year you will incite wonder so your child will know God’s Love and meet God’s Family!

 

Ones

The Phase when nobody’s on time, everything is a mess, and one eager toddle will insist, “I CAN DO IT”!

Physically

  • Sits, crawls, and walks (12-15 months)

  • Walks backwards and sideways (15-18 months)

  • Scribbles with crayons (15-18 months)

  • Walks up and down stairs, jumps in place (18024 months)

 

Verbally

  • Points to objects when you name them (18 months)

  • Says 10-20 words, mostly nouns and pronouns (18 months)

  • Says 40-50 words and forms two word sentences (24 months)

  • Still understands more than they can communicate

 

Mentally

  • Follows simple instructions

  • Benefits from repetition

  • Learns through engaging their five senses

 

Emotionally

  • Enjoys role-paly activities

  • Has trouble sharing

  • Displays separation anxiety

  • Recognizes basic emotions in others

 

Your role is to embrace their physical needs

  • Thinks like an artist – You help them learn when you…engage their senses.

  • Wants to know, “AM I ABLE?” – You capture their heart when you…Develop their confidence.

  • Is motivated by safety – You coach their moral abilities when you…respond consistently.

 

This year you will incite wonder so your child will know God’s Love and meet God’s Family!

 

Twos

The Phase when nobody’s on time, everything is a mess, and one eager toddle will insist, “I CAN DO IT”!

 

Physically

  • Jumps in place

  • Throws a ball overhead

  • Briefly stands on one foot

  • May demonstrate hand preference

 

Verbally

  • Says 40-50 words including some action words like “GO” (24 months)

  • Says approximately 300 words and simple sentences like, “I can do it” (2 ½ years)

  • Learns how to whisper (2 ½ years)

  • Understands more than they can communicate

 

Mentally

  • Follows simple instructions

  • Benefits from repetition

  • Is unable to take the point of view of other people

  • Learns through engaging their five senses

 

Emotionally

  • May begin to bite, scream, and throw tantrums

  • Plays next to, rather than with, playmates

  • Recognizes basic emotions in others

  • May begin to name their own emotions like, “I am happy”

 

Your role is to embrace their physical needs

  • Thinks like an artist – You help them learn when you… engage their senses.

  • Wants to know, “AM I ABLE?” – You capture their heart when you… Develop their confidence.

  • Is motivated by safety – You coach their moral abilities when you… respond consistently.

 

This year you will incite wonder so your child will know God’s Love and meet God’s Family!

 

Threes

The phase when anything can be imagined, everything can be a game, and one curious preschooler what to know “WHY?”

 

Physically

  • Balances on one foot for 5-10 seconds

  • Strings beads and cute with scissors (the plastic kind)

  • Walks upstairs with alternating feet

  • Puts on shoes (Just don’t try to correct them if they put the left on their right foot)

 

Verbally

  • Increasingly easier to understand

  • May struggle with some sounds: r,l,s,z,j,sh,ch,th

  • Says over 1,000 words (but who’s really counting anymore?)

  • Answers “what”, “where”, and “when” questions

 

Mentally

  • May struggle to understand “real” from “not real”

  • Unable to take the point of view of others

  • Lives in the present; has a limited memory of past events

  • Learns by putting things into simple categories

 

Emotionally

  • May scream, throw tantrums and show aggression

  • Enjoys both physical humor and simple jokes

  • Can express basic emotions when asked

  • Can tell you what makes them happy or sad

 

Your role is to embrace their physical needs

  • Thinks like an artist – You help them learn when you…engage their senses.

  • Wants to know, “AM I OKAY?” – You capture their heart when you…cultivate their self-control.

  • Is motivated by safety – You coach their moral abilities when you…discipline consistently.

This year you will incite wonder so your child will know God’s Love and meet God’s Family!

 

Fours

The phase when anything can be imagined, everything can be a game, and one curious preschooler what to know “WHY?”

 

Physically

  • Hops on one foot

  • Strings beads and cuts with scissors (the plastic kind)

  • Throws a ball overhand and catches a bounced ball (sometimes)

  • Draws circles, squares and a person with 2-4 body parts

 

Verbally

  • Tells a short story

  • Keeps a conversation going

  • May struggle with some sounds: r,l,s,z,sh,ch,th

  • Adjusts speech based on the listener and location

 

Mentally

  • Sorts things and ideas

  • Recognizes less and more (especially if it’s candy)

  • Can argue, explain and rationalize (you may have noticed)

  • Lives in present, but enjoys retelling the story of past events

 

Emotionally

  • Tends to be optimistic in spite of failure

  • Enjoys both physical humor and simple jokes

  • Can learn relation techniques (take a deep breath)

  • Often deals with fear and anxiety by distracting themselves

 

Your role is to embrace their physical needs

  • Thinks like an artist – You help them learn when you…engage their senses.

  • Wants to know, “AM I OKAY?” – You capture their heart when you…cultivate their self-control.

  • Is motivated by safety – You coach their moral abilities when you…discipline consistently.

 

This year you will incite wonder so your child will know God’s Love and meet God’s Family!

 

Pre-Kindergarten / Fives

The phase when unfiltered words make you laugh, school drop-off makes you cry, and life becomes a stage where your kid shouts, “LOOK AT ME!”

 

Physically

  • Loses incisor teeth (6-8 years)

  • Grows two to three inches and gains an average of five pounds

  • Able to ride a bicycle, roller skate, and jump rope

  • Draws a person with a body

  • Needs 10-12 hours of sleep each night (me too)

 

Socially

  • Wants to please and help adults

  • Has a hard time asking for help

  • Needs guidance taking turns and losing well

  • May show some (not much) gender preference for playmates

 

Mentally

  • Can focus on one activity for 5-15 minutes

  • Recognizes and names numbers, shapes and colors

  • Knows the difference between need vs. want and real vs. pretend

  • Doesn’t logically interpret cause and effect

 

Emotionally

  • Tends to be optimistic

  • Can be fanatical about the truth

  • Benefits from relaxation techniques (take a deep breath)

  • Expresses feelings better through play and art rather than words

  • Deals with fear and anxiety by distracting themselves

  • Highly sensitive to harsh criticism, tone and body language

 

Your role is to embrace their interests

  • Thinks like an scientist – You help them learn when you…give them concrete examples.

  • Wants to know, “DO I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION?” – You capture their heart when you…improve their abilities.

  • Is motivated by fun – You coach their moral abilities when you…play on their level.


This year you will provoke discovery so your child will trust God’s character and experience God’s family!

 
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Want to know more?

Would you like more information about what the Preschool Ministry of Bear Creek Church can offer you? 
Please contact us via the form below.  We'll be glad to send you literature about your child's current phase if you add your postal address.

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