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3 to 5 YEARS

The Guidelines for children 3-5 years old reflect expectations for young children’s knowledge and behavior when they enter kindergarten. The Guidelines also incorporate and align to the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) for preschool and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework.

The Guidelines are designed to provide assistance to a wide variety of adults who care for children in unlicensed care in family, friend and neighbor settings, as well as in licensed child care, Head Start, special education, public pre-kindergarten, or private preschools. The Guidelines serve to inform early learning professionals and teachers in these settings about child development and learning.

This is more of a philosophical question, but do we want to exclude/include caregivers who are providing unlicensed care in family, friend and neighbor settings?  They can still help us reach out goal of every child ready for Kindergarten.

For some specific examples of these indicators within each domain and what you can do to support children, visit the Parents & Caregivers section for 3-5 years.

Download the Guidelines for children 3-5 years for complete descriptions of specific behaviors and suggested supports.

* Aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards

  • Physical Health Status: The maintenance of healthy and age appropriate physical well-being.
  • Possess good overall health, including oral, visual, and auditory health, and free from communicable or preventable diseases.
  • Participate in prevention and management of chronic health conditions and avoid toxins, such as lead.
  • Maintain physical growth within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended ranges for weight by height by age.
  • Get sufficient rest and exercise to support healthy development.*
  • Health Knowledge & Practice: The understanding of healthy and safe habits and practicing healthy habits.
  • Complete personal care tasks, such as dressing, brushing teeth, toileting, and washing hands independently from adults.*
  • Communicate an understanding of the importance of health and safety routines and rules.*
  • Follow basic health and safety rules and respond appropriately to harmful or unsafe situations.*
  • Distinguish food on a continuum from most healthy to less healthy.
  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods.
  • Participate in structured and unstructured physical activities.*
  • Recognize the importance of doctor and dentist visits.
  • Cooperate during doctor and dentist visits and health and developmental screening.
  • Gross Motor Skills: The control of large muscles for movement, navigation, and balance.
  • Develop motor control and balance for a range of physical activities, such as walking, propelling a wheelchair or mobility device, skipping, running, climbing, and hopping.*
  • Develop motor coordination and skill in using objects for a range of physical activities, such as pulling, throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing or hitting balls, and riding a tricycle.
  • Understand movement concepts, such as control of the body, how the body moves (such as an awareness of space and directionality), and that the body can move independently or in coordination with other objects.*
  • Fine Motor Skills: The control of small muscles for such purposes as using utensils, self-care, building, and exploring.
  • Develop hand strength and dexterity.
  • Develop eye-hand coordination to use everyday tools, such as pitchers for pouring or utensils for eating.
  • Manipulate a range of objects, such as blocks or books.
  • Manipulate writing, drawing, and art tools.
  • Social Relationships: The healthy relationships and interactions with adults and peers.
  • Communicate with familiar adults and accept or request guidance.
  • Cooperate with others.
  • Develop friendships with peers.
  • Establish secure relationships with adults.
  • Use socially appropriate behavior with peers and adults, such as helping, sharing, and taking turns.
  • Resolve conflict with peers alone and/or with adult intervention as appropriate.
  • Recognize and label others' emotions.
  • Express empathy and sympathy to peers.
  • Recognize how actions affect others and accept consequences of one's actions.
  • Self-Concept and Self-Efficacy: The perception that one is capable of successfully making decisions, accomplishing tasks, and meeting goals.
  • Identify personal characteristics, preferences, thoughts, and feelings.
  • Demonstrate age-appropriate independence in a range of activities, routines, and tasks.
  • Show confidence in a range of abilities and in the capacity to accomplish tasks and take on new tasks.
  • Demonstrate age-appropriate independence in decision making regarding activities and materials.
  • Self-Regulation: The ability to recognize and regulate emotions, attention, impulses, and behavior.
  • Recognize and label emotions.
  • Handle impulses and behavior with minimal direction from adults.
  • Follow simple rules, routines, and directions.
  • Shift attention between tasks and move through transitions with minimal direction from adults.
  • Emotional and Behavioral Health: A healthy range of emotional expression and learning positive alternatives to aggressive or isolating behaviors.
  • Express a range of emotions appropriately, such as excitement, happiness, sadness, and fear.
  • Refrain from disruptive, aggressive, angry, or defiant behaviors.
  • Adapt to new environments with appropriate emotions and behaviors.
  • Receptive English Language Skills: The ability to comprehend or understand the English language.

    Please Note: Children who are learning English as a second language understand more English initially than they can speak or write. Children should also continue to develop the ability to communicate effectively in their home language because such skills provide a foundation for learning English.
  • Participate with movement and gestures while other children and the teachers dance and sing in English.
  • Acknowledge or respond nonverbally to common words or phrases, such as "hello," "goodbye," "snack time," "bathroom," when accompanied by adult gestures.
  • Point to body parts when asked, "Where is your nose, hand, leg…?"
  • Comprehend and respond to increasingly complex and varied English vocabulary, such as "Which stick is the longest?" "Why do you think the caterpillar is hungry?"
  • Follow multi-step directions in English with minimal cues or assistance.
  • Expressive English Language Skills: The ability to speak or use English.
  • Repeat word or phrase to self, such as "bus" while group sings the "Wheels on the Bus" or "brush teeth" after lunch.
  • Request items in English, such as "car," "milk," "book," or "ball."
  • Use one or two English words, sometimes joined to represent a bigger idea, such as "throw ball."
  • Use increasingly complex and varied English vocabulary.
  • Construct sentences, such as "The apple is round," or "I see a fire truck with lights on."
  • Engagement in English Literacy Activities: Understanding and responding to books, storytelling, and songs presented in English.
  • Demonstrate eagerness to participate in songs, rhymes, and stories in English.
  • Point to pictures and say the word in English, such as "frog," "baby," "run."
  • Learn part of a song or poem in English and repeat it.
  • Talk with peers or adults about a story read in English.
  • Tell a story in English with a beginning, middle, and end from a book or about a personal experience.
  • Receptive Language: The ability to comprehend or understand language.
  • Attend to language during conversations, songs, stories, or other learning experiences.*
  • Comprehend increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.*
  • Comprehend different forms of language, such as questions or exclamations.*
  • Comprehend different grammatical structures or rules for using language.
  • Expressive Language: The ability to use language.
  • Engage in communication and conversation with others.
  • Use language to express ideas and needs.*
  • Use increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.*
  • Use different forms of language.
  • Use different grammatical structures for a variety of purposes.*
  • Engage in storytelling.
  • Engage in conversations with peers and adults.
  • Book Appreciation and Knowledge: The interest in books and their characteristics, and the ability to understand and get meaning from stories and information from books and other texts.
  • Show interest in shared reading experiences and looking at books independently.
  • Recognize how books are read, such as front-to-back and one page at a time, and recognize basic characteristics, such as title, author, and illustrator.*
  • Ask and answer questions and make comments about print materials.*
  • Demonstrate interest in different kinds of literature, such as fiction and non-fiction books and poetry, on a range of topics.
  • Retell stories or information from books through conversation, artistic works, creative movement, or drama.*
  • Make predictions based on illustrations or portions of story or text.*
  • Phonological Awareness: Awareness that language can be broken into words, syllables, and smaller pieces of sound.
  • Identify and discriminate between words in language.
  • Identify and discriminate between separate syllables in words.*
  • Identify and discriminate between sounds and phonemes in language, such as attention to beginning and ending sounds of words and recognition that different words begin or end with the same sound.*
  • Recognize patterns of sounds in songs, storytelling, and poetry.*
  • Alphabet Knowledge: The names and sounds associated with letters.
  • Recognize that the letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named.
  • Recognize that letters of the alphabet have distinct sound(s) associated with them.
  • Attend to the beginning letters and sounds in familiar words.*
  • Identify letters and associate correct sounds with letters.*
  • Print Concepts and Conventions: The concepts about print and early decoding (identifying letter-sound relationships).
  • Recognize print in everyday life, such as numbers, letters, one's name, words, and familiar logos and signs.*
  • Understand that print conveys meaning.*
  • Understand conventions, such as that print moves from left to right and top to bottom of a page.*
  • Recognize words as a unit of print and understand that letters are grouped to form words.
  • Recognize the association between spoken or signed and written words.
  • Early Writing: The familiarity with writing implements, conventions, and emerging skills to communicate through written representations, symbols, and letters.
  • Experiment with writing tools and materials.*
  • Recognize that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes, such as giving information, sharing stories, or giving an opinion.*
  • Use scribbles, shapes, pictures, and letters to represent objects, stories, experiences, or ideas.*
  • Copy, trace, or independently write letters or words.*
  • Dictate ideas to an adult.*
  • Identify information that is relevant.*
  • Reasoning and Problem-Solving: The ability to recognize, understand, and analyze a problem and draw on knowledge or experience to seek solutions to a problem.
  • Seek multiple solutions to a question, task, or problem.
  • Recognize cause and effect relationships.
  • Classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.
  • Use past knowledge to build new knowledge.
  • Know that problems can be identified and possible solutions can be created.*
  • Symbolic Representation: The use of symbols or objects to represent something else.
  • Represent people, places, or things through drawings, movement, and three-dimensional objects.
  • Engage in pretend play and act out roles.
  • Recognize the difference between pretend or fantasy situations and reality.*
  • Number Concepts and Quantities: The understanding that numbers represent quantities and have ordinal properties (number words represent a rank order, particular size, or position in a list).
  • Recognize numbers and quantities in the everyday environment.
  • Recite numbers in the correct order and understand that numbers come before or after one another.
  • Associate quantities and the names of numbers with written numerals.*
  • Use one-to-one counting and subitizing (identifying the number of objects without counting) to determine quantity.*
  • Use the number name of the last object counted to represent the number of objects in the set.
  • Number Relationships and Operations: The use of numbers to describe relationships and solve problems.
  • Use a range of strategies, such as counting, subitizing, or matching, to compare quantity in two sets of objects and describe the comparison with terms, such as more, less, greater than, fewer, or equal to.
  • Recognize that numbers (or sets of objects) can be combined or separated to make another number through the grouping of objects.
  • Identify the new number created when numbers are combined or separated.
  • Geometry and Spatial Sense: The understanding of shapes, their properties, and how objects are related to one another.
  • Recognize and name common shapes, their parts, and attributes.*
  • Combine and separate shapes to make other shapes.
  • Compare objects in size and shape.
  • Understand directionality, order, and position of objects, such as up, down, in front, behind.*
  • Patterns: The recognition of patterns, sequencing, and critical thinking skills necessary to predict and classify objects in a pattern.
  • Sort, classify, and serialize (put in a pattern) objects using attributes, such as color, shape, or size.*
  • Recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns.
  • Create patterns through the repetition of a unit.
  • Measurement and Comparison: The understanding of attributes and relative properties of objects as related to size, capacity, and area.
  • Compare objects using attributes of length, weight, and size (e.g., bigger, longer, taller, heavier).
  • Order objects by size or length.
  • Use nonstandard and standard techniques and tools to measure and compare.*
  • Describe the order of common events.*
  • Sequence a simple set of activities or events.*
  • Scientific Skills and Method: The skills to observe and collect information and use it to ask questions, predict, explain, and draw conclusions.
  • Use senses and tools, including technology, to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.*
  • Observe and discuss common properties, differences, and comparisons among objects.
  • Participate in simple investigations to form hypotheses, gather observations, draw conclusions, and form generalizations.*
  • Collect, describe, and record information through discussions, drawings, maps, and charts.*
  • Describe and discuss predictions, explanations, and generalizations based on past experience.*
  • Conceptual Knowledge of the Natural and Physical World: The acquisition of concepts and facts related to the natural and physical world and the understanding of naturally occurring relationships.
  • Observe, describe, and discuss living things and natural processes.*
  • Predict, explain, and infer patterns based on observations and representations of living things, their needs, and life cycles.*
  • Observe, describe, and discuss properties of materials and transformation of substances.*
  • Identify, predict, and extend patterns based on observations and representations of objects in the sky, daily weather, and seasonal changes.*
  • Observe and describe patterns observed over the course of a number of days and nights, possibly including differences in the activities or appearance of plants and animals.*
  • Recognize and investigate cause-and-effect relationships in everyday experiences – pushing, pulling, kicking, rolling, or blowing objects.*
  • Self, Family, and Community: The understanding of one's relationship to the family and community, roles in the family and community, and respect for diversity.
  • Identify personal and family structure.*
  • Understand similarities and respect differences among people.*
  • Recognize a variety of jobs and the work associated with them.*
  • Understand the reasons for rules in the home and classroom and for laws in the community.*
  • Describe or draw aspects of the geography of the classroom, home, and community.*
  • Recognize money and identify its purpose.*
  • People and the Environment: The understanding of the relationship between people and the environment in which they live.
  • Recognize aspects of the environment, such as roads, buildings, trees, gardens, bodies of water, or land formations.*
  • Recognize that people share the environment with other people, animals, and plants.
  • Understand that people can take care of the environment through activities, such as recycling.
  • Differentiate between past, present, and future.*
  • History and Events: The understanding that events happened in the past and how these events relate to one's self, family, and community.
  • Recognize events that happened in the past, such as family or personal history.*
  • Understand how people live and why they change over time.*
  • Music: The use of voice and instruments to create sounds.
  • Participate in music activities, such as listening, singing, or performing.*
  • Experiment with musical instruments.
  • Respond to rhythmic patterns and elements of music using expressive movement.*
  • Improvise movement and sound responses to music.*
  • Describe and respond to musical elements.*
  • Recognize a wide variety of sounds and sound sources.*
  • Express feeling responses to music.*
  • Recognize music in daily life.*
  • Creative Movement and Dance: The use of the body to move to music and express oneself.
  • Express what is felt and heard in various musical tempos and styles.*
  • Move to different patterns of beat and rhythm in music.*
  • Use creative movement to express concepts, ideas, or feelings.*
  • Demonstrate simple phrases of movement in time and space.*
  • Attentively observe a dance performance.*
  • Recognize dances from around the world.*
  • Art: The use of a range of media and materials to create drawings, pictures, or other objects.
  • Use different materials and techniques to make art creations.*
  • Discuss one's own artistic creations and those of others.*
  • Know that works of art can represent people, places, and things.*
  • Identify art in daily life.*
  • Understand that artists have an important role in communities.*
  • Drama and Theatre Arts: The portrayal of events, characters, or stories through acting and using props and language.
  • Use dialogue, actions, and objects to tell a story or express thoughts and feelings about one's self or a character.*
  • Use creativity and imagination to manipulate materials and assume roles in dramatic play situations.*
  • Respond to stories and plays.*
  • Initiative and Curiosity: An interest in varied topics and activities, a desire to learn, creativity, and independence in learning.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness in approaching tasks and activities.
  • Demonstrate eagerness to learn about and discuss a range of topics, ideas, and tasks.
  • Ask questions and seek new information.
  • Persistence and Attentiveness: The ability to begin and finish activities with persistence and attention.
  • Maintain interest in a project or activity until completed.
  • Set goals and develop and follow through on plans.
  • Resist distractions, maintain attention, and continue the task at hand through frustration or challenges.
  • Cooperation: An interest and engagement in group experiences.
  • Plan, initiate, and complete learning activities with peers.
  • Join in cooperative play with others and invite others to play.
  • Model or teach peers.
  • Help, share, and cooperate in a group.
 

Note: It is important to arrange for regular health and developmental exams with a health care provider. These are usually part of a well-child visit and can include vision, hearing and oral health screenings.

Questions? Concerns?

The Guidelines describe how a typical child develops but it is important to understand that each child learns and develops at his or her own individual pace. Since each child is different, caregivers should talk with a health care provider or other trusted professional about any questions or concerns. For more information about questions or concerns you may have, please contact us.