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Development & Milestones for Pre-K Children (4-5 years)

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Development & Milestones for Pre-K Children (4-5 years)

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When your child reaches ages four and five, they can attend preschool and are getting ready for kindergarten. Some of their developmental milestones during this time include skills like naming colors, showing affection and hopping on one foot. Other skills they develop at this age include being able to ride a tricycle, use safety scissors, help dress and undress themselves, play with other children, and sing a song or recall a story.

What to expect at this age

This is a time when they are starting to grow into early childhood and become more independent. Their world begins to open up and they start to focus on more adults and children outside of your family. They are ready to explore their world and start asking a lot of questions.

90% of your child’s brain develops by age five. It’s during these years that their interactions with family and those around them help shape their personality and their own ways of thinking and moving. 

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preschool boy outside running into father's arms

Milestone Checklists

The small steps you take during these first five years make a big difference in your child’s future success. The milestone checklists for preschoolers through age 5 contain things most children do by this age in these areas:

  • Social & emotional development
  • Language & communication development
  • Cognitive development (learning, thinking, problem solving)
  • Movement & physical development
  • Plus, things to watch out for that might need a doctor’s attention

Pre-K Checklists

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4-Year Checklist

Milestones include: 

  • Sing a simple song like “Itsy bitsy spider” by memory
  • Understands the idea of counting
  • Plays board or card games
  • Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
Go to 4-Year Checklist
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Milestones include: 

  • Tells a simple story using full sentences
  • Can print some numbers and letters
  • Can use the toilet on their own
  • Swings and climbs
Go to 5-year Checklist

For an easy way to keep track of when your child should reach certain milestones, download the free Center for Disease Control Milestones Tracker app. The App also includes activities and learning tips for each age and an area where you can keep track of all your doctor appointments. 

Get Milestone Tracker App
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Children Develop at Different Rates

Although most children learn to do things and reach specific milestones by a certain age, not all do. Different children develop at different rates. But if they’re missing developmental milestones or struggling to learn, thy may need additional support to help prepare for kindergarten.

Build Up

Build Up Michigan can help you find programs and special education to help if you have a concern that your child has a developmental delay that is affecting their ability to learn. Find out more call



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More Resources for Parents

Get Development Tips and Tools

Find videos, milestone checklists, the Milestone Tracker app, the Milestones in Action photo and video library, and more from the Center for Disease Control.

Visit Pathways

Find resources by different age groups, videos for parents, and other toddler resources from

Find Development Activities

Find shows and videos to watch, play activities, ways to help your child thrive, ways to learn and grow at each milestone and more from PBS for Parents.

Get Positive Parenting Tips

Find positive things you can do as a parent broken out for every age group – in English and Spanish from the Center for Disease Control.