Your Child's Cognitive Development 4-5 years
Support and encourage independence in mastering new skills
Your child at a glance
You will notice that your child’s memory improves, alongside a better understanding of concepts and reasoning. During this stage you are likely to notice your child:
- Showing a strong need to be independent
- Talking more to others and sharing personal family stories happily
- Engaging in vivid pretend play, playing out 'dramatic' scenes and perhaps having an imaginary friend
- Showing an increased understanding of the concept of time, starting to talk about 'today', 'tomorrow', 'last week' etc
- Being able to distinguish between two objects by evaluating their size, weight, etc
- Drawing, naming and talking about recognisable pictures
- Getting better at counting objects (not just counting from memory)
- Showing less egocentric behaviour, and towards five years starting to grasp moral concepts of right and wrong
Your child's story
You will notice during this stage that not only does your child remember songs and nursery rhymes, but she is also starting to play with words by creating her own rhyming words or making up words that have similar sounds. She will also be able to give reasons for things and find answers to simple problems. She can use simple reasoning and shows that her understanding of cause-and-effect relationships is becoming more sophisticated.
Your child will now be able to draw, name and talk about recognisable pictures, and his drawings will include increasingly more details (e.g. head, body, arms, legs and perhaps five fingers). He may trace numbers and capital letters, perhaps even writing some numbers and letters on his own. He will be able to match pictures of familiar objects, and you will notice that counting is becoming easier (counting objects, rather than just counting from memory).
Observing and listening to you and other adults is still important for your child’s learning, and her attention span is increasing. She will get a better understanding of concepts of time, and during this year she will develop the ability to talk about ‘yesterday’, ‘last week’, ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’. She can recall special events, for example remembering the time her grandparents came to visit a few weeks ago. Vivid pretend play is still an important activity for her entertainment and learning. Her thinking and behaviour is becoming less self centred, and she focuses on moral concepts such as 'fair', 'good' and 'bad' towards 5 years.
What you can do to support and encourage your child's development
Continue engaging in arts and crafts together. Give your child opportunity and space to talk about what she is drawing – often there is a story around it, and you can support her by asking her to draw what she has seen or done during the day
Display her paintings and drawings, as this helps her develop a positive view of her capabilities and that you place importance on what she does.
Keep reading together. It is still important for imagination to read and perhaps play out the stories, and of course your child will soon be learning to read himself. Also, keep supporting pretend play and role play with a dressing up box, kitchen bowls and utensils, etc.
When it comes to learning new things, it’s important that your child is allowed to gain new skills himself, at her own pace. Of course assist when needed, but try to offer encouragement and support for her efforts, helping her find her own way as much as possible. This is great for her confidence, and she will be immensely proud when discovering she can do something new herself. Letting her grow her own plants is great for learning about growth, care, and being able to ‘create’ something herself.