Stages of Child Development: Development of Children During Ages Three to Six Years

Doorsteptutor material for IAS/Mains/Optional Public-Administration is prepared by world's top subject experts: Get detailed illustrated notes covering entire syllabus: point-by-point for high retention.

Download PDF of This Page (Size: 577K)

As children reach the age of bracket of three to six years, they get ready to be placed in preschools. Perhaps this is the reason why at this stage, they are at times said to be in the preschool stage. Thereafter, as children reach the age range of six to eight years, they are considered to be in the Early Primary stage.

Development of Children During Ages Three to Six Years

  • During preschool years, children learn essential life skills like dressing up and feeding themselves and thus grow independent in a number of ways. This is also the time when children learn to separate from parents and family in preparation for school.

  • The sections that follow describe physical-motor, socio-emotional, cognitive and language development of preschool children.

Physical and Motor Development

  • Children in the age group of three to six years grow slower than infants but their growth is rather steady. The growth made by them in muscle development and coordination ensures that they can physically do a lot of things that previously they were unable to achieve.

  • Generally, three to six-year-old children gain about four to five pounds per year and grow approximately two to three inches per year. Now, they need less sleep than they did. At this stage, children’s muscular and skeletal growth progresses, and they become physically stronger.

  • Some of the gross and fine motor skills attained in this age are:

Gross Motor Development

  • Becoming more skilled at running, jumping, throwing, kicking

  • Catching a bounced ball

  • Pedaling a tricycle at around three years; becoming able to steer well at around age four years

  • Hopping on one foot at around four years, and later balancing on one foot for up to five seconds

  • Doing a heel-to-toe walk at around age five years

Fine Motor Development

Fine Motor Development

Fine Motor Development

  • Drawing a circle, square, triangle

  • Beginning to use children’s blunt-tip scissors and eventually cutting a straight line

  • Self-dressing with supervision

  • Putting on clothes properly

  • Managing a spoon and fork neatly while eating

  • Spreading with a knife

Socio-Emotional Development

  • In toddlerhood, children develop self-awareness. As children reach preschool age, their descriptions about themselves become more detailed and comprehensive. They are now able to associate a number of characteristics that define them.

  • They mostly focus on observable, concrete and physical characteristics about themselves. They often talk about their name, what they possess, their toys and their family members when they describe themselves. They also mention the achievements of these ages like, “I run fast”.

  • This is also an age where gender identity takes shape. Children of this age are able to classify themselves as male or female and show preferences for wearing clothes and dressing appropriate for their own gender. They use gender appropriate language and their play also tends to reflect gendered practices.

  • Preschoolers learn social skills needed to play and work with other children. As time passes, although four to five-year old’s may start playing games with rules, their rules are likely to change, and they are able to cooperate better with peers.

  • According to Erikson (1950), this is the stage when children want to take initiative in planning and doing things for themselves. Being able to do that brings positive feelings in children, but if children are constantly stopped from doing things on their own, they may develop guilt within themselves and this may be detrimental to their growing sense of self.

Some of the socio-emotional skills of preschoolers are:

  • describing oneself

  • emerging concept of self

  • talking about one’s feelings and emotions

  • complex emotions such as guilt, shame and pride emerge

  • telling stories and narrating events

  • display initiative, curiosity and exploration

Developed by: