As the parent of a preschooler, expect to be constantly amazed at how your kiddo is changing daily from his experiences at school. Every day he’ll come home with new skills, new stories, new ideas–you’ll barely be able to keep track. Buckle up: These are exciting times filled with leaps and bounds of development.
Your preschooler will be working on improving both gross and fine motor skills every day in the classroom. Walking, galloping, hopping, jumping, skipping, catching, throwing–he will engage in many or all of these each day. He will develop a greater sense of balance through playground activities, such as walking on a balance beam or scaling the jungle gym.
Finger and hand strength will be challenged as he learns to use scissors and refines his pencil grip, and hand-eye coordination will improve from doing puzzles, building with blocks, using tools. Dozens of daily tasks help to refine these motor skills too: taking off his jacket, hanging it in his cubby, opening his lunchbox, putting toys away, replacing books on a shelf, pushing his chair in.
As the parent of a 2 or 3 year old you already know how quickly language develops.
Once he’s in preschool, you can continue to expect a rapidly increasing vocabulary, including a growing amount of connecting words and phrases, such as “because,” “also,” “and then,” etc. You’ll also notice grammatical development, such as correct usage of verb tenses and plurals, and increasingly sophisticated sentence structure.
His conversational skills are improving too. He’s learning to follow the ebb and flow of a conversation and is (hopefully) interrupting less. He can follow multi-step directions, and is fine-tuning word pronunciations. He might even begin to tell jokes–jokes that are actually funny, that is.
Social & Emotional Development
Growth in this department is at the heart of the preschool experience. This is a time for learning how to navigate the tricky waters of understanding personal feelings and the feelings of others. Students are figuring out how to handle conflict and disappointment, and developing a deeper sense of empathy while becoming part of a classroom community. He will develop an increased sense of self and an understanding of his own abilities, and will start to compare himself more to others.
He will start to engage in imaginative and cooperative play with groups of children, and will make progress in making and maintaining friendships. He’ll develop sympathy and will start to figure out how to help out a friend who is sad or mad. This might also be your child’s first experience with trusting another adult, or looking up to a role model.
Overall, this first year of preschool will be filled with more developmental changes than you ever imagined or can even keep track of. This is a special time for you all: Your preschooler’s sense of independence will grow exponentially, as will your amazement at how quickly your baby is growing up.