Four and five-year-old children are strong individuals capable of being strong contributors in a group. They function well independently, making good choices for themselves and following through to completion on tasks. They are considerate of others and know when and how to share, as well as when and how to take turns. They can be patient and show some level of self control. They can follow directions and rules and construct games and rules of their own.

Not only can children this age understand language fully, they can also read social situations and facial expressions accurately. They should be conversing freely with teachers, parents, classmates, and even unfamiliar adults. They should contribute to group discussions and should be able to stay on topic. They write stories by dictating them aloud to teachers or writing phonetically. They use vocabulary to express feelings and emotions. They also exchange information on whatever topics are of interest to them. They should have a good understanding of comparative relationships (over/under, above/below, next to/across from). They should know all of their body parts by name.

Many children this age are reading fluently and many are not yet ready to do so. There is no premium on early decoding skills. All of the tools necessary for becoming a reader are readily accessible every day at PAMDS. All children this age do look at books independently and all classes are read to every day. Children this age often write their own books phonetically or by dictating to a teacher. They read and write labels and schedules of their own.

There should be evidence of determination to solve problems without seeking adult assistance. They should be able to sit for snack and for lunch with a modicum of civilized behavior. Basic manners and graciousness should be automatic responses.They should play openly with classmates and respond to adult authority. They should be fully functional members of the class and the school.

The symbolic thinking of four to five-year-olds is quite sophisticated and they can make believe with objects. They can construct and interpret representations. They can count to 100 (and beyond) because they have place value understanding. They can quantify accurately and are capable of advance sequencing. They understand addition and subtraction with manipulative mathematical materials.

Socially, they should feel respected and respectful at home and at school. This developmental stage is characterized by children who love to become the role models and teachers for younger children. The teachers at school can capitalize on this trait, especially since younger children love nothing more than learning directly from older children. Parents with multiple children should be able to use this collaborative tendency for harmony at home, too.

On the playground, they should be able to climb, hop, skip, hang from a bar, and be learning to ride a bike. At home they should be dressing themselves with a minimal amount of assistance. They should be relatively independent in the bathroom and remember to wash their hands. They should also be able to cough and sneeze into their elbows, blow their own noses, throw away the tissues, and wash their hands.