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Preschool Child Skills Checklist

by Julie Vickers, studioD

Your preschooler is cheerful, curious and energetic and seems to learn at least one new skill every day. She may show developing talents in chosen activities such as artwork, and it is also likely that she talks non-stop! However, despite your child's obvious developmental progression, you may still wish to check that she has reached the milestones that are appropriate for her age, especially if she is about to begin preschool. A skills checklist enables you to identify age-appropriate developmental milestones in areas such as language, cognitive development and physical skills.

Identify the areas of development that you would like to assess. For example, you might want to assess your child's hand-eye coordination skills, language use, counting skills or social skills. Use an online guide such as the American Academy of Pediatrics Developmental Checklists Birth to Five Guide that is available at the Preschool Learning Center website to help you identify specific areas of skills development.

Write a list of the chosen areas of development on the first page of a notebook. Allocate a few pages of the notebook to each developmental area and then write each developmental area as a heading to specify and separate the different categories.

Refer to your chosen online developmental guide and underneath each heading write a list of developmental milestones that are appropriate to that category and the age of your child. For example, if you have chosen language development as a category and your child is aged between 3 and 4 years, you could write "speaks in sentences of about five to six words" as an identified milestone. If you have chosen cognitive development as a category and your child is four years old, you could write one of the milestones as "correctly names at least four colors."

Create an easy-to-read code that you can use when you wish to make a note about your child's progress or development. For example, you could use the letter "A" to mean that your child has achieved a specific milestone, the letters "P" and "A" to signify partial achievement and the letter "D" to imply that your child is experiencing some difficulty with a particular skill or concept.

Set aside a few minutes each week to browse your notebook and identify any significant achievements or developments that you have noticed when playing with your child or observing her at play. Alternatively, if you notice that your child has made progress in one of your chosen areas of assessment, make a quick note in your notebook by using your coded letter scheme and, if you wish, write more about the incident after your child has gone to bed.

Items you will need
  •  Notebook
  •  Pen or pencil


  • Developmental guides present the typical achievements of children within a specific age range. According to the Child Development Institute, you should remember that the given time frames are averages and "some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range."
  • Use your notebook as a guide to make a more elaborate and treasured keepsake such as a scrapbook or journal that records your child's development and achievements. Fill the scrapbook with dates of your child's milestone attainments, drawings and art work. Write down any humorous or memorable anecdotes.


  • Avoid programs or activities that claim to quickly raise your child's IQ or rapidly accelerate her development. According to the Child Development Institute, you can promote healthy child development by enjoying time with your children, reading to them and helping them learn through play activities, games and discussions.

About the Author

Mother of three and graduate of the London Metropolitan University, Julie Vickers is an early years teacher and writer who also loves to craft and create! She writes on topics such as education, health and parenting for websites such as School Explained and has contributed learning sessions on child development and behavior for the Education Information and Learning Services website.

Photo Credits

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