Parenting Resources

10 Essential Preschool Skills

Before you send your child off to begin a lifetime of school-based learning, there are some essential skills that should be learned in the preschool years. Most of these skills can be learned right at home, with the help of a few simple preschool education tools. Here are the top ten skills your preschooler should be developing.

1. Attention Span.  One of the hardest things for small children to learn is the ability to sit still and listen for more than a few minutes.  This is an essential skill for success in school.


2. Early Reading Skills.  According to Dr. Ken Grizzle of the University of Wisconsin, “A child’s ability in kindergarten and first grade to be able to recognize that words they hear are made up of sounds and that those sounds can be manipulated to create different words plays an important role in early word reading.”

3. Early Writing Skills.  Letting your child scribble may seem like fun and games – but it’s actually the beginning of writing ability.

4. Early Math Skills.  Developing an understanding of numbers and counting is essential to the later development of more involved mathematical skills.

5.  Listening Skills.  Preschoolers need to develop the skills they need to listen, to truly hear, and to comprehend instructions and explanations.

6.  Problem-solving Skills.  Essential in academics as well as in everyday life, preschool is the time to start teaching problem-solving abilities.  Educational toys and activities are the perfect tool for teaching basic problem-solving.

7.  Communication Skills.  The ability to express needs, ask questions and express feelings both verbally and non-verbally are essential to later success.

8. Creativity.  “The critical role of imagination, discovery and creativity in a child’s education is only beginning to come to light,” says Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq, founder of the International Child Art Foundation.  Allowing plenty of tools and chances for artistic and creative play is the best way to foster this essential skill.

9.  Social Skills.  Early development of the social skills necessary to thrive in a school environment is one of the easiest to forget, but still one of the most important.

10.Fine Motor Skills.  Working with things like scissors and crafts help preschoolers to develop the fine motor skills required to succeed with more complex projects in the future.

How can parents help children develop these skills?  With a few simple tools and techniques:

  • Read to your child from an early age
  • Spend time engaged in the learning process with your child

  • Provide a wide range of creative and problem solving activities for your child

With a good, strong foundation comprised of these basic but essential preschool skills that make up the basics of literacy, mathematics, creative and critical thinking and learning skills, your child will be ready for a successful school career.