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.

There are areas of development that are important skills for children to have in order to build a strong foundation for learning. These areas of development include cognitive (thinking), communication (speech and language), social/emotional (interactions and feelings), independence (self-help), and physical (vision, hearing, and movement). It is important for children to learn and grow in all areas. The new Thrive from Home program was created to help parents and caregivers across the state provide their preschoolers with essential skill-building activities while at home.

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 helps to develop skills to strengthen the child's foundation for future learning. 

What Most Children Do at Age 3*

  • Copies adults and friends
  • Takes turns in games
  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals and people
  • May get upset with major changes in routine
  • May copy a circle with a pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Runs easily

What Most Children Do at Age 4*

  • Enjoys doing new things
  • Would rather play with other children than by him/herself
  • Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Wheels on the Bus"
  • Can say first and last name
  • Able to name some colors and numbers
  • Catches a bounced ball most of the time
  • Often can't tell what's real and what's make-believe

What Most Children Do at Age 5*

  • Hops; may be able to skip
  • Can print some letters or numbers
  • Likes to sing, dance and act
  • Is aware of gender
  • Can tell what's real and what's make-believe
  • Can play simple games such as Candy Land and Go Fish
  • Wants to be like friends
  • Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative

*Milestones checklists available to download in English and Spanish

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