PLAY: Four-year-olds’ play is cooperative and involved. Play continues from day-to-day and week-to-week with elaborate rules and imaginative plot lines. Four-year-olds develop a great sense of imagination and they begin to build solid, vertical structures together.
Cooperative play is when children play together and actively take part in the same activity.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL: Social and emotional development includes establishing empathy, processing verbal and nonverbal social cues, and the implementation of appropriate conflict resolution skills. Four-year-olds are progressing toward independent verbal conflict resolution skills. This age group understands that they are each caring and contributing members of a classroom community.
PHYSICAL (Fine Motor and Gross Motor): Gross Motor: Four-year-olds take more risks, such as climbing and jumping from higher structures. They begin to incorporate running into their play and running increases for longer periods of time. Fine Motor: Four-year-olds begin to develop a three-point grip with writing instruments. They begin to master their scissor skills.
LANGUAGE: Four-year-olds speak in full and complex sentences. They continue to love rhyming. Phonemic awareness begins at this age. Four-year-olds are excited about words, letter and sound correspondence and they are eager to ‘read’ environmental print. Environmental print is language found outside in the world around them. Four-year-olds begin ‘reading’ stop signs or searching for the letter of their first name in a sign they see.
COGNITIVE: Four-year-olds demonstrate positive and curious approaches to learning. They enjoy solving problems and show flexibility and inventiveness in thinking. Four-year-olds continue to make connections and recall past events. They begin to use images to symbolically represent something not present as they engage in dramatic play.
LITERACY: Four-year-olds become interested in letters and sounds, and begin to understand that letters make words. They continue to love rhyming. Phonemic awareness begins at this age. Four-year-olds are excited about words, letters and sounds. They are eager to ‘read’ environmental print. Four-year-olds demonstrate knowledge of print through the appreciation of books, while expanding their comprehension skills.
MATH: Four-year-olds understand number concepts and operations, such as counting, expressing and measuring numbers, and one-to-one correspondence, and matching quantities to numerals. Four-year-olds are able to make basic patterns.
SCIENCE: Four-year-olds start using scientific inquiry skills. They demonstrate knowledge of living things, an understanding of the Earth’s environment and they can describe physical properties of objects and materials.
SOCIAL STUDIES: Four-year-olds begin to demonstrate knowledge about themselves. They show a basic understanding of people and how they live, as well as exploring change related to familiar people or places. Four-year-olds start to develop their connection to the world around them. They may begin to understand what city and state they live in.
CREATIVE: Four-year-olds develop their own sense of creativity. They use materials in a variety of ways, to create a multitude of masterpieces. An example of an art project at this age is junk building with recycled materials. Projects are often multi-step and occur over a series of days. Four-year-olds incorporate music, drama and movement to enhance their play.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: Four-year-olds speak in full and complex sentences. They engage in conversation using social rules with more advanced and expressive vocabulary to communicate.