Skip to main content

The Hood Magazine

Preschool Readiness Checklist

Jun 27, 2016 09:45AM ● By Hood Magazine
By Youth Enrichment Services 


As children's attention span, memory and language skills develop, they also become increasingly more mature, communicative, and intellectual—qualities they'll need for preschool.

Many preschool teachers agree that a child's preschool readiness depends more on her individual personality and temperament—a combination of mental, physical and emotional traits—than her so-called "academic" abilities. Even so, a developmental checklist can help you and your child get ready for this big step!

Preschool readiness checklist

Social skills

  • Initiates and maintains independent play
  • Can separate from you for several hours, such as an afternoon at a friend’s house or a sleepover at Grandma’s
  • Enjoys participating in group activities
  • Can express emotions and needs
  • Responds well to consistent routines

Motor skills

  • Becoming proficient in gross motor skills, such as jumping in place, standing on one foot, running and kicking
  • Rides tricycles
  • Improves hand-eye coordination when playing with building blocks and simple puzzles
  • Begins to improve pencil control by using fingers rather than the whole fist to grasp
  • Begins to show left/right-handedness

Reasoning & Concept Development

  • Matches like objects or matches objects by shape and color
  • Develops object permanence and understands that objects continue to exist even when out of sight
  • Shows interests in tinkering with objects by taking things apart and putting them back together
  • Remembers short sequences of events of 2 to 3 steps

Language skills

  • Uses language to communicate with others for a variety of purposes
  • Tells simple stories
  • Uses sentences with two phrases or concepts


  • Holds a book properly and turns pages
  • Understands that words convey the message in a story
  • Recognizes the first letter of their own name
  • Enjoys reading books with others 


  • Draws with a variety of writing instruments
  • Scribble-writes in a linear fashion
  • Makes marks and refer to them as “my name”


  • Identifies some shapes such as circle, square and triangle
  • Shows interest in numbers and recites some number words
  • Can count along with help, although might make mistakes


  • Asks questions about objects, events and animals observed in their environment
  • Considers and offers explanations of how things might work
  • Shows interest in different animals and the sounds they make
  • Uses descriptive terms such as "fast" and "slow," "hot" and "cold" 

Creative arts & music

  • Knows a few color words
  • Drawings have basic resemblance to objects and people
  • Likes to imitate sounds and rhythm; might have a favorite song
  • Uses realistic toys in pretend play or to imitate household routines
  • Engages in dramatic play with others, such as playing house

Social studies

  • Recognizes common features of the home and neighborhood, such as trees, houses and streets
  • Shows interests in people such as siblings, family members and friends
  • Shows interests in common jobs and professions such as firefighter, doctor and nurse
Read our new issue now!