What Are Preschoolers Like?
Today’s preschoolers are not like the children of previous decades. Many have already experienced one, two, or three years of child care. They have watched hundreds of hours of television. Many are technologically sophisticated. Many have experienced the trauma of family divorces or the psychological effects of abuse. Both collectively and individually, the experiential backgrounds of preschoolers are quite different from those of previous generations. These factors raise a number of imperatives for you and preschool teachers:
- Observe and assess children so that you know and understand what they know and are able to do.
- Conference and collaborate with families in order to discover their children’s unique experiences, abilities, and needs.
- Develop programs to meet the needs of today’s children, not yesterday’s children. As children change, we must change our programs for them.
Physical and Motor Development
One noticeable difference between preschoolers and infants and toddlers is that preschoolers have lost most of their baby fat and taken on a leaner, lankier look. This “slimming down” and increasing motor coordination enables preschoolers to participate with more confidence in the locomotor activities so vitally necessary during this stage of growth and development. Both girls and boys continue to grow several inches per year throughout the preschool years. The table below shows the average height and weight for preschoolers. Compare these averages with the height and weight of preschoolers you know or work with.
Preschool children are learning to use and test their bodies. The preschool years are a time for learning what they can do individually and how they can do it. Locomotion plays a large role in motor and skill development and includes such activities as moving the body through space—walking, running, hopping, jumping, rolling, dancing, climbing, and leaping. Preschoolers use these activities to investigate and explore the relationships among themselves, space, and objects in space.
Preschoolers also like to participate in fine-motor activities such as drawing, coloring, painting, cutting, and pasting. Consequently, they need programs that provide action and play, supported by proper nutrition and healthy habits of plentiful rest and good hygiene. Good preschool programs provide for these unique physical needs of preschoolers and support their learning through active involvement.
Average Height and Weight of Preschoolers
|Age||Height (inches)||Weight (pounds)||Height (inches)||Weight (pounds)|
© ______ 2008, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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