You may be wondering, what a 3-year-old should learn in preschool? Or what “what are the goals for a preschool teacher?” Before laying out your curriculum, it’s important to remember that helping children learn and stay on track with development is priority one. Designing a learning schedule is vital for ensuring you can assess all areas of development in each individual and develop various lesson plans to aid all aspects of learning.
Let’s take a look at some learning and milestone objectives for preschool students.
Physical Goals for Preschoolers
There are certain things that the children in your care will be expected to be able to do by the time they reach primary school. This comes down to you (and the parents, of course), as their teacher to design appropriate activities for them to develop according to the goals you set. Some are basic and can be accomplished rather quickly while others take a lot more work.
1. Gross Motor Skills Development
A motor skill is defined as any action that a child makes that involves the use of his or her muscles. The term ‘gross motor skill’ is one in which refers to larger movements made by the limbs or whole body.
Activities you can develop to promote the continuing development of these gross motor skills in your preschool class are:
- Move like an animal — for example, ‘move like a gorilla’ or ‘move like an elephant’
- Use balloons — blow some up before class starts and then have the children use them however they’d like
- Play hopscotch — most playgrounds already have hopscotch drawn out but if not, grab some chalk and mark a board out
- Be an athlete — treat this like a very active game of charades
- Alphabet yoga — challenge the children to hold a pose for every letter (A = airplane, B = banana and so forth)
2. Fine Motor Skills Development
Opposite to gross motor skills, fine motor skills are the smaller, more complex movements made by the fingers in conjunction with the hands and forearms.
Some activities you could plan to develop these further are:
- Make pasta necklaces
- Threading beads on pipe cleaners
- Weaving string around cardboard shapes
- Building 3D models with blocks
- Stacking cups
3. Hand-Eye Coordination Development
Hand-eye coordination refers to the movement of both eye and hand in conjunction with each other to complete a task like reaching for and picking up a cup from the table, or catching a ball.
There are plenty of activities that you can integrate into your lesson plans to ensure this skill develops appropriately. These include:
- Playing catch
- Balloon batting
- Rolling a ball to each other
- Object relays — ask the children to stand in a line and then pass a ball or balloon between their legs and then over their heads to each other
4. Recognize The Importance of Physical Activity
As you know, giving your children plenty of chances to run around and express their sporty side not only has fantastic physical benefits but also contributes to their confidence and social skills.
It’s important at preschool age to teach each child to recognize the value that physical activity can have on their lives. Ensure that you make it fun so they grow up wanting to keep active.
Social Goals for Preschoolers
Developing social competence should be one of your main objectives as a preschool teacher. Why? It’s so the children you are educating learn valuable communication skills and have a fulfilling school career.
5. Understand School Rules
Social competence in children — especially at this age — is assessed by looking at their ability to follow the school rules.
Usually, these will be pretty simple for all ages to follow. However, you will need to get to know each child as an individual to properly determine how well they can abide by these rules, instead of looking at the entire class as one entity.
6. Take Turns and Share
Sharing is caring — we’ve all heard that phrase and it could not be truer.
Allowing children to play and take turns with certain toys or equipment is a great way to promote sharing and teamwork skills.
In most professions, and primary school life and beyond, teamwork plays a huge part in it all. Collaborative working is increasingly popular within large corporations now, and if children aren’t taught to share from an early age, they will struggle in numerous career paths in the future.
7. Enjoy Roleplay and Dramatic Play
Plan time for your class to enter into roleplay, as well as dramatic play.
Even though all of the 16 play types are integral to the development process, these two, in particular, are essential because they enable children to begin to see the world from other perspectives.
For example, if a child dresses up as a fireman, they will behave in a way that may be completely different from their usual personality. Encourage this! They are starting to learn that other people may not share their point of view.
Cognitive Goals for Preschoolers
All your cognitive goals should foster curiosity and excitement for learning and will aim to help preschool children in developing problem-solving skills and simple numeracy.
8. Ask and Answer Relevant Questions
Being able to ask a question that’s relevant to the topic of discussion is rather a complex skill but, with the right lesson plans in place, most preschool children should be able to do this.
No elaborate plan needs to be involved here, just give the children plenty of time to ask questions after you’ve finished speaking.
9. Follow 3-Step Directions
Once the children in your class step up into primary school, they will be required to follow far more complex directions. To prepare them for this, make sure your lessons incorporate simple 3-step directions initially.
When everyone is happy following these, introduce increasingly difficult directions and see how it goes.
10. Understand Personal Accomplishments
It’s vital that preschool-age children can recognize when they have accomplished something good and understand what the actual achievement is, how they got there, and why they should be proud of themselves.
11. Understand ‘Similar’ and ‘Different’ Concepts
Teaching children how to recognize why something is similar or how it is different from another item will heighten their ability to understand when they are being lied to — unfortunately, a skill that we must carry with us for life.
12. Recognize Numbers
As a preschool teacher, you will have various methods you use to teach children number recognition.
Remember to assess each child as an individual because everyone will succeed at their own pace. Be mindful of anyone who may be struggling, as this may hold them back once they enter primary school.
Language Goals for Preschoolers
Hopefully, you will already be identifying language development as the main goal because language is what allows learning to blossom and become exciting.
13. Identification and Writing of Their Name
This is a paramount goal before going to primary school and one which should be encouraged right from the word go.
Make sure they write their name on all worksheets and coloring pages etc. so they have a lot of experience with this before entering into ‘big’ school.
14. Speak in Fairly Complex Sentences
At preschool age, children will begin to speak in pretty complex and detailed sentences.
You, as their teacher, are there to support this by encouraging discussions and questions throughout the day.
15. Recite Alphabet
By now, preschool children should be able to recite the alphabet — both alone and as a group.
Don’t forget to factor in time for the children to begin writing out the alphabet so they can fast track their way into the wonderful world of our language.
16. Communicate Feelings Effectively
When language develops, so does their ability to communicate exactly how they are feeling.
Always be there to listen and respond appropriately should you be required. This skill should be kept at the forefront of your mind as it will help them greatly later on in life when relationships come into the mix.
17. Get Involved in Group Discussions
This goes hand-in-hand with number 19!
Being able to talk within a group and discuss ideas or different views or opinions is a fantastic way to address social competencies, as well as meeting certain language goals.
Chances are you have already implemented a lot of group activities into your plans, but you can always add in more to be on the safe side.
18. Vocabulary Expansion
Widening the children’s vocabulary is paramount for the continuing development of their literacy skills.
If you don’t already implement reading time into each day, then this is the perfect time to start! Reading ensures the children can expand their vocabulary quickly and efficiently.
Now you might be thinking that we didn’t specifically talk about literacy or reading. Many of the basic goals discussed help build the foundation for literacy and reading in the coming years. As per WebMD, kids will learn to read simple books around the middle of first grade. In the early years, it’s important that the teachers and parents spend ample time reading to the children.
These 21 goals and objectives should set you and your preschoolers up nicely for a successful year and a fulfilling school career! Make sure you check out our one-to-one correspondence activities and our list of toddler songs.