Developmental Milestones in Preschool Learning for Children

Your child in their early years is exposed to and learns a number of areas simultaneously. Early year learning for children is critical as they help enhance your child’s abilities and provides the much-required foundation upon which all future learning depends. Child development is not limited to your child merely learning A, B, C, and 1,2,3. It is the process by which a child evolves and matures in different capacities and stages of child development. Preschool learning for children is especially focused on these developmental goals or milestones rather than only teaching children to read and write.


Responding to their name, sitting up without any help, following simple instructions, and starting to understand time are some of the developmental milestones your child will hit along the way. They will encounter and enhance a number of such milestones as they journey through the different stages of child development. Being aware of these milestones will help you, as a parent, effectively support your child. Recognizing and providing an environment that enables your child to flourish helps develop a sense of confidence. It also helps identify developmental troubles, if any, at an early stage.



Areas of Development in Preschool Learning for Children

Early childhood development stages are categorized into 5 areas which consist of a number of milestones that a child will attain. The areas of preschool development are socio-emotional, fine motor skill, gross motor skill, speech and language, and cognitive development for preschoolers.



1. Socio-Emotional Development: your child develops self-knowledge and the ability to control emotions. In addition to being able to work with their emotional state, your child can understand and will be able to respond to other’s cues. To help your child develop both socially and emotionally, look for opportunities that allow interaction with kids their age and help them form relationships with both children and adults while also encouraging a sense of self.


learning for children

2. Gross Motor Skill Development: refers to whole- body movements involving large muscles of the arms, legs, and torso. It enables your child to perform everyday functions like running, walking, jumping, standing, or sitting upright at the table. It impacts balance and coordination while also forming the basis for fine motor skills

3. Fine Motor Skill Development: this refers to your child’s ability to use small muscles of their body, especially their hands and fingers, to use a crayon to draw, grasp small objects like a spoon, or turn pages in a book. It also involves building strength, fine motor controls, and dexterity. 

4. Speech and Language Development: it enables your child to comprehend and utilize language, thus encourages them to articulate themselves clearly. One of the most important things to enhance in this area of development throughout their early childhood care and education is to teach them to read. Reading out loud and teaching children to read impacts language, literacy skills, and overall learning for children. In addition to reading sessions, alphabet activities for preschoolers, relevant educational games for kids, and regular conversations are all important for language development.


5. Cognitive Development: this refers to skills pertaining to learning and thinking that involve intellectual development and creativity. It enables your child to develop the ability to pay attention, reason, problem-solve, think, process information, organize their thoughts, ideate, and put their ideas into action.



Importance of Early Childhood Education:


Holistic learning for children goes way beyond teaching them letters and numbers. It involves an equal enhancement in all five areas of development. Across ages and stages of child development, it is important to recognize that these development areas intersect. For instance, early learning activities for toddlers that focus on physical development may enable their cognitive skills. Or socio-emotional skills can be enhanced through language/ communication development during the preschool learning years.   


As these development areas are closely interlinked, the exclusion of anyone can make your child’s learning journey difficult. Thus, learning for children in the early years should enable your child to develop holistically and develop their potential in all areas of development. At the same time, it is very important to remember that each child develops at their own pace, and the exact age could vary.



Developmental Milestones in Preschool Learning for Children:


There are a number of milestones children cover through different ages and stages of child development. It provides a sense of what changes to expect at various stages as they get older. However, as each child develops at their own pace, it is difficult to define the exact age at which a child will learn a particular skill. 


Irrespective of offline or online learning for kids, here are some milestones to look out for across ages and stages of child development. Do remember that these milestones represent averages, not rigid developmental deadlines. Each child develops and attains each of these milestones at varying rates, some sooner, others later.


Milestones by Ages and Stages of Child Development



Socio-Emotional Development

Gross Motor Skill Development

Fine Motor Skill Development

Speech and Language Development

Cognitive Development


3 year old

  • Follows simple instructions

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children

  • Enjoys helping with household tasks

  • Excited around other children and shows concern for friends

  • Begins to be inclusive

  • Includes other children. Starts to take turns

  • Shows more independence 

  • Shows a wider range of emotions

  • Aware of their limits. Tend to ask for help

  • May not always cooperate or share well

  • Can run and climb well, walks on tiptoes

  • Can kick and throw a ball

  • Can catch a large ball

  • Pedals a tricycle

  • Walks up and down the stairs holding on, one foot on each step

  • Can stack upto nine small blocks

  • Uses clay material

  • Can assemble simple puzzle pieces

  • Copies basic shapes

  • Can use scissors to cut paper

  • Turns book pages one at a time

  • Can follow simple instructions

  • Vocabulary of 300-1000 words

  • Can name familiar people, things, and body parts

  • Points to things or pictures when named

  • Rhymes and sings independently

  • Enjoys listening to stories and shares thoughts on it

  • Repeats words or sentences overheard

  • Converses with 3-5 worded sentences and eventually using 2-3 sentences

  • Strangers likely to understand them most of the time

  • Understands and begins to sort shapes and colours

  • Matches pictures to objects

  • Can work with blocks, buttons, and moving parts.

  • Plays make believe games

  • May use one hand more than the other

  • Completes rhymes and sentences in familiar books

  • Does puzzles with 3-4 pieces



4 year old

  • Enjoys doing new things

  • Is more creative with pretend and make-believe plays

  • Cooperates with other children. May have a favourite friend

  • Prefers to play with other children than with oneself

  • Talks about likes and interests. Can express anger and jealousy verbally

  • Can hop on one foot

  • Runs with more control

  • Can walk on a line

  • Can catch a bounced ball most of the time

  • Side-steps and runs around obstacles

  • Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food

  • Uses table utensils skilfully

  • Cuts on a line

  • Copies simple shapes and letters

  • Can brush teeth, comb hair, and dress with little assistance

  • Can write name and numbers 1-5

  • Aware of some basic rules of grammar

  • Vocabulary of 1500 words

  • Can converse in more complex sentences

  • Can give their name and gender

  • Sings songs or rhymes from memory

  • Can tell stories

  • Can name some colours and numbers

  • Starts to copy some letters

  • Understands the idea of counting

  • Begins to understand time

  • Understands concepts like same, different, largest, tallest, highest

  • Can draw a person with 2-4 body parts

  • Can sometimes tell you what is going to happen in a book next

5 year old

  • Shows affection and aware of other’s feelings 

  • Takes turns when playing

  • Proud of their achievements and seeks praise/ appreciation

  • Can tell what’s real and what’s make believe

  • Understand the difference between right and wrong

  • Wants to please friends and be like them

  • Likes to sing, dance, and act

  • Is aware of gender

  • More independent. Can sometimes be demanding and sometimes cooperative

  • Can balance on one foot and stand on their toes

  • Runs in a more adult manner

  • Maybe able to skip. Swings and climbs

  • Can catch a small ball using hands only

  • Can draw basic pictures

  • Can cut and paste simple shapes

  • Colours within the lines

  • Develops 3 fingered grasp of pencil and generates movement using fingers

  • Grasps shoe laces but cannot tie them

  • Hand preference (dominant hand) is established

  • Uses the toilet by themselves

  • Speaks clearly. Uses pronouns, tenses, prepositions, and plurals while speaking

  • Understands and names the opposites

  • Can tell simple stories using full sentences

  • Can respond to conversations over phone

  • Can count 10 or more things

  • Can draw a person with atleast 6 body parts

  • Can recognize primary and secondary colours

  • Aware of everyday things

  • Can explain things according to their purpose

Kutuki’s certified online preschool program and unassisted self-paced modes of learning provide Indian preschoolers a personalized and immersive learning experience. Using interactive elements through a mixture of hands-on activities, creative song, and story-based curriculum, covering academic and co-curricular activities, the Kutuki early learning platform focuses on addressing the important developmental milestones in preschoolers.  


While these milestones will give you a sense of your child’s growth, it is very important to remember that development does not happen linearly. It is uneven and varies from one child to another. That said if you do notice that your child is struggling to attain the milestones even after extending the required support, do seek help. An earlier and deeper understanding of your child allows you to provide the support to enhance and strengthen their foundational learning.