Pre K-2nd Grade

Pre-Kindergarten Behavior

What do I need to know about my child's education?

Each child is unique in emotional and behavioral development. Children may show behaviors that are ahead of developmental milestones in some areas and behind the milestones in other areas. Children also do not develop at a consistent rate. They may seem to show no growth for a long time and then show a lot of growth in a short span of time. The following social and emotional expectations are general and are to be used as a guideline to help you understand your child’s development.

what to expect from your child in pre-kindergarten

Children at this age...

  • show increased initiative and curiosity about their work and play.
  • choose to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities, using all five senses.
  • make choices and value decisions.
  • solve problems through play.
  • become more confident with trying new tasks and generating their own ideas.
  • are becoming increasingly flexible, imaginative, inventive and confident.
  • demonstrate comfort with open-ended questions and problems.
  • value the uniqueness of their own work.
  • show increasing engagement and persistence in their work and play.
  • grow in their ability to persist in and complete a variety of tasks and projects.
  • have increasing ability to set goals and develop and follow through on plans.
  • demonstrate growing capacity to maintain concentration in spite of distractions and interruptions.
  • begin to demonstrate the ability to follow a sequence of steps to create a finished project.
  • grow in the ability to plan individually, in small groups and with the whole class.
  • show increasing invention and imagination in their work and play.
  • experiment, explore and ask questions freely.
  • try new things and take risks.
  • problem solve using a variety of strategies.
  • grow in their ability to elaborate on their original ideas.
  • show increasing originality and flexibility in their work.
  • use more and more complex scenarios in play.
  • explore movement, music and a variety of artistic modes. 

Pre-kindergarten experience outcomes

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Early Childhood Standards of Quality define behavioral expectations for four year-olds, with the goal being to master them by the end of pre-kindergarten. Upon completion of a pre-kindergarten experience, your child should be able to...

  • demonstrate increasing confidence in expressing her feelings, needs and opinions.
  • manage transitions and follow routines most of the time.
  • adapt to different environments.
  • involve an adult in an activity and sustain the involvement.
  • invite another child to play and sustain the interaction.
  • show loyalty to another child.
  • show an increased sense of belonging and awareness of his role as a member of a family, classroom and community.
  • negotiate the resolution of a conflict with another child, using conflict resolution skills. (Independence is the goal, but if that is not possible yet, she should be able to negotiate a solution with adult assistance.)
  • identify an emotion and give a reason for it. (ex: Last night, I heard a thunderstorm, and I cried because I was scared.)

Learning to Resolve Conflicts

Adults can help children learn to settle disputes by using and modeling the steps below. Children can often do them independently by the end of pre-kindergarten.

  • Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions (calm voice, gentle touch, on their level)
  • Acknowledge each child’s feelings (You look really upset.)
  • Gather information from each participant (What’s the problem?)
  • Restate the problem (So, the problem is…)
  • Ask for solutions and choose one together (What could we do to solve this problem?)
  • Check back and give feedback (I see that your solution worked.)