What do you know about middle and older preschoolers?
The most important thing you can remember is that they are changing. A young 3-year-old is developing coordination and fine motor skills; a pre-kindergartner is beginning to print letters and words. That’s quite a range of abilities. Here’s a quick snapshot of this age group.
- climb well, run easily, and jump with two feet.
- hold a pencil or crayon and draw various kinds of strokes.
- draw lines or scribbles but not representational pictures.
- can begin to use scissors but have little control over their cutting.
- play more individually than cooperatively.
- can take turns in games (but waiting a long time is difficult).
- turn pages in a Bible and can talk about familiar Bible stories.
- may move from activity to activity quickly but will circle back to repeat activities.
- move forward and backward, hop and stand on one foot, and go up and down stairs easily.
- draw circles, squares, and people (with 2-4 body parts).
- may copy a few letters, especially the initial letters of their names.
- play more cooperatively with other children.
- show more independence.
- begin to focus longer on an activity.
- like to retell Bible stories (and other stories).
- increase their vocabularies (maybe up to 2000 words).
- develop good hand-eye coordination.
- play cooperatively and may work together to create elaborate scenarios.
- exercise steady control of scissors, pencils, and crayons.
- want to know why and how.
- begin to copy words and can spell/print their names.
- begin to ask questions about God.
- enjoy classifying, sequencing, and sorting.
Teachers can provide activities that allow kids with different skills to be successful.
For example, young 3s can draw as you talk about their families; 4s can draw pictures of their families as you talk about them; pre-Ks can talk about and draw ways to help their families.
Teachers can adapt activities that allow their kids to be successful.
Pre-Ks can cut out pictures from magazine pages to make a collage. For 4s, teachers can draw circles around pictures as a guide for cutting. For 3s, teachers will need to cut out pictures beforehand.
Teachers should provide activities that allow children to make choices.
3s may want to come and go at an activity. Pre-Ks and 4s may want to stay for a while at one activity. Provide activities that allow a child to work as long as he chooses and decide when he is finished.
Teachers should use the Bible with 3s, 4s, and pre-kindergartners.
No matter what age, children can handle the Bible, turn the pages, and hear the stories and verses. Encourage 3s to use the Bible. Turn to a Bible marker with 4s. Point to words and names with pre-Ks.
Whatever age group you teach, provide experiences that allow kids to hear, know, and do God’s Word. You can help kids build strong spiritual foundations in their lives during the preschool years.
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