Is your preschooler struggling to learn?

Children grow and develop at different rates, but most will reach several milestones between the ages of 3 and 5. Developmental milestones can help identify when a child is struggling and provide direction to find out why. Children who are not meeting milestones and/or are struggling to learn may need additional supports to help them prepare for kindergarten.

A range of concerns could potentially impact a child's learning ability, including difficulties with speech and/or language, cognitive impairment, autism spectrum disorder, emotional concerns, traumatic brain injury, hearing or visual difficulties, early childhood developmental delay or a specific learning disability. Special education programs and/or supports are available to children ages 3, 4 and 5 through the local school district. Intervening as early as possible can in many cases resolve, or at least limit, a child's roadblock to learning. 

Between ages 3 and 4

  • Able to recognize at least three colors or shapes
  • Interested in pretend play
  • Can walk up stairs
  • Able to jump with both feet
  • Feeds self
  • Can focus on an activity for brief periods
  • Interested in playing with other children
  • Makes eye contact
  • Learning to follow simple rules (sometimes with gentle reminders)
  • Sometimes uses words to express feelings

Between ages 4 and 5

  • Can hop in place
  • Able to catch a ball bounced to him or her
  • Can copy circles
  • Knows own gender, age and last name
  • Uses sentences with correct grammar
  • Able to name basic colors and shapes
  • Understands the concept of time
  • Understands simple rules at home and the rules of basic preschool games
  • Able to discuss basic facts about themselves
  • Able to count or point out five objects
  • Able to recognize his or her name in print
  • Takes turns, but possessive of favorite toys
  • Loves silly jokes and has a sense of humor

Age 5

  • Able to walk on tiptoe
  • Can print a few capital letters
  • Recognizes own printed name
  • Can identify a penny, nickel and/or dime
  • Able to lace shoes
  • May play with small groups of children at the park or at school
  • Now plays simple games such as Candy Land and Go Fish
  • Is beginning to understand the meaning of right and wrong – but does not always do what is right, though

Need more information? Learn more about our services, or call the Michigan Special Education Information Line at 1-888-320-8384.