Four Year Old Milestones: Social, Cognitive, and Gross Motor
Four year olds have many milestones that help indicate proper development. According to the CDC, four year olds have a variety of milestones that caregivers and parents should be looking for. These milestones include social and emotional, language and communication, thinking and problem solving, and gross motor development.
There are many weekly activities that can promote child development in all of these areas. Preschool Gymnastics offers challenges and encouragement to developing not just the physical, movement based milestones, but also many of those under the social, emotional, language, and thinking umbrellas.
Social and Emotional Milestones
Four year olds are social creatures. Most would rather play with others than by themselves. Gymnastics offers the perfect place to play with others! It also teaches cooperation in many ways. Children are helpers in the class, gather small props or supplies, listen to instructions, encourage their classmates, and adhere to standards of behavior.
In addition, four year olds love trying new things. They are so excited when new drills are introduced - and even more excited when they are successful at new skills!
List of Four Year Old Social and Emotional Milestones
- Enjoys doing new things
- Plays “Mom” and “Dad”
- Is more and more creative with make-believe play
- Would rather play with other children than by himself
- Cooperates with other children
- Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
- Talks about what she likes and what she is interested in
Language and Communication Milestones
Following instructions is a very important skill taught and reinforced in preschool gymnastics classes. Students are given many opportunities throughout the duration of class to follow through on instructions given by the coach.
During warm up, familiar songs are used to teach the routine of stretching. Students also love to answer the question "where is your butterfly going?" at this age. The stories they generate are priceless.
List of Four-Year-Old Language and Communication Milestones
- Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using “he” and “she”
- Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “Wheels on the Bus”
- Tells stories
- Can say first and last name
Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving) Milestones
Gymnastics introduces four year olds to counting, colors, and numbers. Each class period when students warm up and stretch, they count to 10 as a class. Sometimes counting forward, other times counting backward, sometimes even counting in Spanish - counting is a very important part of every gymnastics class.
Gymnastics also teaches the concept of time. Rotations are the same length each class period, so athletes start to predict what is going to happen next and when. They also get so used to the routine sometimes they try to tell the coach what is coming next!
Lastly, grip strength is necessary for using scissors and handwriting. Many activities incorporated into preschool gymnastics develop grip strength. Yes, holding onto the bar and swinging do help with grip strength, but many preschool gymnastics programs also include side stations with Legos, clothespins, or velcro that help develop fine motor strength.
List of Four Year Old Cognitive Milestones
- Names some colors and some numbers
- Understands the idea of counting
- Starts to understand time
- Remembers parts of a story
- Understands the idea of “same” and “different”
- Draws a person with 2 to 4 body parts
- Uses scissors
- Starts to copy some capital letters
- Plays board or card games
- Tells you what he thinks is going to happen next in a book
Movement and Physical Development Milestones
Yes, gymnastics is a physical sport and has obvious physical benefits including developing flexibility and muscular strength. However, there are also many physical growth motor skills that gymnasts practice on a regular basis. Preschool gymnasts will run, climb, and jump every class. They begin working hurdles from one foot to two feet. They also practice balance in a variety of ways including on wobble spots, across the balance beam, or during direct instruction.
List of Four Year Old Gross Motor Milestones
- Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
- Catches a bounced ball most of the time
- Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food
In conclusion, there are many important four year old milestones. As a parent or caregiver, it is important to keep an eye on all areas of development. Finding weekly activities that promote development in all areas will give your child a head start towards lifelong learning.