Parents everywhere are familiar with the term “milestone.” From social, cognitive, physical, and academic perspectives, milestones are used to mark a child’s progress, as well as compare it to where they should be at. Milestones are not set-in-stone indicators for success, because every child develops at their own pace. Your first child might have started talking before they were one but started walking much later, and the reverse might be true for your second kiddo. If a child doesn’t hit a milestone right when they’re supposed to, this doesn’t need to be immediate cause for concern — however, milestones are still a great way to track the progression of their development.

At Growing Kids Learning Centers, we are highly knowledgeable in child growth and development, and we formulate our curriculum, learning environments, and daily schedules to help each child continue to thrive. Enrolling in preschool at our South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Elkhart, Valparaiso, Goshen, Bristol, or Chesterton locations is one of the best ways you can help your child continue to hit those milestones. Learn more in our blog, and place your child in Northern Indiana’s best preschool and educational childcare programs!

Language Comprehension

By the time a child enters kindergarten, they should be able to both respond to questions, as well as ask their own. It’s pretty typical for your toddler to repeat “Why?” about as frequently as they take a breath, though sometimes, kids might need a little bit more direction (such as saying “do you have any questions about _____?”). Kids at this age should also be able to speak clearly, though many preschool-aged children have some minor to moderate struggles with certain letters and sounds. If this is the case with your own child, talk with their pediatrician and see if any language interventions may be necessary.

Why It’s Important: Teachers judge a lot of understanding off of verbal communication, especially at an age where written concepts are still forming. If your child can’t communicate what they understand (or what they don’t), teachers may have a difficult time addressing their academic needs most appropriately.

Print Awareness

Children don’t need to necessarily know the entire alphabet by the time they enter kindergarten, but they do need to know at least some of the letters. Print awareness also includes holding a book the right way — children in preschool should have a general sense of line direction (we read from left to right), and know to turn the pages from the right to the left.

Why It’s Important: Even if your child isn’t reading at this point in time, they’re continuing to develop concepts to prepare them for the moment it clicks. It’s like how before playing sports, they need to know what the ball is and what it’s like.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are tough to grasp (literally), but are essential for entering the academic world and society as a whole. By the time your child enters kindergarten, they should be able to pick up a writing utensil (crayons work too!) and make marks on a piece of paper. Pouring something into a glass, practicing cutting with scissors, velcroing shoes, and painting with a paintbrush are all ways to help develop these skills.

Why It’s Important: These days, knowing how to type, hold a pencil, and use an iPad or other touch screen are all necessary skills for people to know, all of which require fine motor development.

We’ll continue with some more milestones in our next blog, but in the meantime, know that the preschool programs at Growing Kids Learning Centers are designed to help your child thrive. Preschool is the most important grade, and so much of this is because it helps children get on track for the rest of their school years (and life) to come. Enroll with Growing Kids Learning Centers today!