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January 15, 2020

The 10 Most Important Skills for a Preschooler’s Development

A child’s preschool years are a time of critical growth in all developmental areas: adaptive, cognitive, language, physical and social.

Most children are at least three years old when they begin preschool and remain in preschool for approximately two years before entering kindergarten. 


Here in this article, we’ll introduce you to the skills developed during a child’s preschool years and how preschool teachers help children to develop into their greatest potential.

private christian preschool students are playing


At our preschool in Harrisonburg, VA, our nurturing teachers personally invest in every student to make sure your child receives a holistic developmental foundation that will prepare them for their next steps in life. 


During a child’s first five years, their brains develop faster and more significantly than during any future time in their life. 

That’s why supplementing your at-home parenting with the expert support of a preschool teacher—as well as providing your child with social interactions with preschool classmates—is such an invaluable investment in your child’s future.




private christian preschool students in classroom


Preschool provides your child with the opportunity to broaden and deepen their essential skills which will ready them for a life of learning and empower them to make positive contributions to the world around them. 

Here are ten skills your child should develop in preschool:

  1. Emotional Development
    Your child’s preschool experience should contribute to helping them to understand his or her feelings as well as understand the feelings of others. 
    This includes both learning to recognize feelings and to manage those feelings and their associated behaviors.
  2. Social Skills
    Through collaborative play and learning alongside each other, preschool children learn how to respect and get along with others which further develops their language skills, self control and overall social skills. 
    Teachers guide children through resolving conflicts that may arise during creative play or structured learning projects. 
  3. Early Literacy Development
    By the age of three, children can begin to learn to write their names and read simple words.
    The practice they receive during preschool sets them up for success in literacy development in kindergarten and elementary school.
  4. Listening Skills
    To be able to follow directions and to understand what is being taught to them, a child’s development of their listening skills is crucial to their overall social and academic learning. Preschool environments promote activities that grow your child’s listening skills.
  5. Communication Skills
    Your child’s ability to ask questions, express their feelings and convey their needs, both through spoken words and through body language are of utmost importance to their ability to succeed socially and academically.
    Preschool activities and their teacher’s feedback are designed to hone all of these communication skills.
  6. Fine Motor Skills
    Preschool-level craft activities which require children to use markers, work with scissors, sculpt objects and other dexterity-focused creative play develops children’s fine motor skills which will be necessary for more complex projects as they get older.
  7. Attention Span
    We all can sympathize with how difficult it is for young learners to sit still and pay attention for more than a few minutes.
    The structured but nurturing environment of a preschool is key for children to develop their attention spans in preparation for the more challenging classroom environments ahead.
  8. Early Math Skills
    Learning to recognize numbers and begin counting things during preschool helps children to begin to comprehend how mathematics is used in the world and provides their foundation for each subsequent year’s more complex mathematical curriculum.
  9. Problem-Solving Skills
    Every aspect of life demands problem-solving skills. Foundational to success in school, personal relationship and in even life’s simplest of activities, problem-solving skill development should begin in preschool.
    Teaching and stretching children’s problem-solving skills can occur through personal interactions, games and assignments.
  10. Creativity
    When a child is encouraged to self-express through creativity, they build confidence in themselves and can approach challenges from new perspectives.
    Creative activities help children to develop their individual sense of self and can be a way for the adults in childrens’ lives to celebrate each child’s uniqueness.



Teacher and preschool students in private christian preschool


At preschools where children are given a great deal of personalized attention, such as ours at Cornerstone Christian School in Harrisonburg, VA, teachers ensure your children are supported in every area of their learning.

According to the individual and unique interests of each child, preschool teachers design lessons, educational games and other activities that engage and grow your children’s love for learning and support your child’s development in all of the skills described above.


Preschool teachers also ensure that the Early Learning Standards of their state are applied to classroom curriculum. 

These are standards which state what children are expected to know and to be able to do by a certain age. You can view more the Virginia Department of Education’s early childhood curriculum and instruction

Here are a few examples of the ways preschool teachers help children to develop age-appropriate skills:

Thinking Skills Development:

    • Ask children questions that will expand their thinking
    • Provide opportunities to explore engaging materials 
    • Suggest ways children can make their thinking and playtime more challenging or complex

Language Skills Development:

    • Introducing new vocabulary
    • Asking questions that require more than a yes or no answer to stretch your children’s use of spoken language
    • Reading stories and encouraging children to make up their own storylines
    • Designing collaborative games that require conversations or other language exchanges among classmates

Reading Skills Development:

    • Supporting children in learning the alphabet
    • Providing engaging materials that illustrate examples of writing
    • Singing songs, playing rhyming games and reading books with fun language
    • Labeling items in the classroom to help children connect written words with spoken language

Writing Skills Development:

    • Helping children to practice writing letters of the alphabet and spelling their names
    • Encouraging children’s writing by providing a fun assortment of paper and writing tools
    • Giving children different kinds of paper and writing tools, like crayons, markers, and pencils
    • Encouraging children to write as part of their everyday activities
    • Teaching children to spell words of objects they encounter in the classroom

Math Skills Development:

    • Providing assorted engaging objects for children to count and sort
    • Point out numbers that exist throughout a child’s day: inside the classroom, outdoors and on food packages during snack time
    • Encourage children to compare and measure different objects



At our Christian Pre-K school in VA, we offer students a variety of ways to grow as individuals and to feel a true sense of belonging as a member of their class. 

Cornerstone Preschool operates in accordance with the regular Cornerstone Christian School calendar. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m.–3:05 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Scheduling within that time period is flexible, based on the needs of students and their parents. Children who are 5 and older can also attend Cougar Care, an afternoon daycare program which is available from 3:05 to 5:30.


Visiting us in person is the best way to understand the investment of a lifetime that you can make for your child’s future through enrollment in our Christian school. 

Let us host you for a private visit, or, stop by during one of our open houses. If you have any questions before your visit, you can contact our Development Director Stephanie Shafer directly by email at or by phone at (540) 432-9816

We look forward to welcoming you!