Pre-K Benchmarks
4 Year Old
A wonderful description of a four year-old would be a bundle of non-stop
energy. Four year-olds are faster, more aware of and confident in what
they can do. Four year-olds are beginning to understand the difference
between fact and fantasy. Fears begin to pop up, but so does a sense of
humor and incredible imaginary play. Their stories often become very vivid
and lively with the addition of fantasy creatures or events. Four year-olds
are trying to become more independent. They are continually testing limits
and boundaries set by adults. They tend to become stubborn and
argumentative. Friends become very important to a four year-old. At this
early age cliques can form, and feelings of "nobody likes me, nobody
wants to play with me" are being felt. Four year-olds often want just one
special friend that only he or she plays with. It is difficult for them to
understand that sometimes their friend may want to play with someone
else. Four year-olds are wonderful to be around. They are eager to learn.
They love to sing songs, listen to silly stories, and repeat finger plays.
They like to make up stories, tell nonsense jokes and laugh.

Four year-old children include the developmental benchmarks of the three
year-old with the addition of the following skills.

Language Skills:
Has a large vocabulary; knows thousands of words
Uses adjectives and prepositions correctly
Uses past tense correctly
Understands and uses prepositions: on, in, under, between, next to
Can rhyme words: for example bike, hike; shoe, blue
Can recite short poems, fingerplays and songs - especially loves silly ones
Answers correctly who, what, where, when and why questions
Can tell his or her own name (first and last), can name siblings, usually
knows parents' names
May know telephone number and address
Knows most of the letters of the alphabet (usually uppercase)
Can write most letters and name
Can recognize some printed words. Can recognize classmates' written
Loves to create silly words, and plays with words
Displays ninety five percent intelligible speech
Can recall and talk about past events, people and places
Can state his or her own gender and gender of family members and
Cognitive Skills:
Has an attention span of about ten to fifteen minutes
Can stack graduated cubes from largest to smallest
Can build a pyramid with six to nine blocks
Puts together a four to twelve piece puzzle easily.
Able to tell how many objects are in a group from one to four by looking at the group
Can distinguish between sizes; tallest, smallest, biggest, littlest, equal
Beginning to make sense of time; "yesterday" "today," "Last Birthday"
Counts by rote to 20 – 30 and beyond
Some can rationally count up to about ten items - like taking ten crackers
out of the basket at snack time
Can match sets to numerals up to four
Understands one-to-one correspondence
Matches shapes, colors.
Fine Motor Skills:
Holds a large pencil, crayon or marker using the tripod grasp
Writes some letters and draws some shapes
Copies and draws a cross and square
Can draw a human figure with arms, legs, head, eyes, ears, and fingers
String small beads on thread or yarn
Able to button small buttons, and manipulate small hooks and fasteners
Correctly uses scissors and cuts continuously following a line
Large Motor Skills:
Run, turn corners quickly, avoid obstacles, stop and start
Able to gallop
Walk on a balance beam or straight line
Can climb ladders and playground equipment
Walks up and down stairs, alternating feet
Can jump over obstacles five to six inches high
Can swing on a swing by pumping his or her legs
Hops easily on one foot
Balance on one foot
Ride a tricycle or other wheeled toy with great ease and dexterity
Bounce and catch a ball
Throw a ball overhand
Social and Emotional Skills:
Attention span increasing (10 – 15 minutes)
Enjoys group times
Able to express feelings of anger, hurt, or jealousy.
Uses words rather than actions
Begins valuing a best friend; close friendships form
May pout or have real feelings of sadness if left out
Displays frequent and quick mood changes; tantrums still evident
May call other children names and tease them
Tattles on others
Likes to show off
May brag and tell outlandish stories
Loves dramatic play; dress up, make believe, house, role playing, puppet shows
Imaginary friends may pop up