Children are expected to engage in academic performance at younger ages now than in the past 10 years. Attending preschool (ages 3 to 5 years) is now much more the norm. Preschool services in the public schools began with serving children with identified special learning needs that might make their entrance into kindergarten delayed or problematic. Head Start and other preschool programs that were put into place to serve the economically disadvantaged who also might face challenges upon entering kindergarten. Now public schools are offering preschool programs to all 4 year olds. Consequently, although it is not required by law to have a child enrolled in a school program until age 7, many children are now entering the academic arena at age 4.
The expectations for reading, writing and math (core subjects) change with the growth of the child. All areas of development impact a child’s ability to achieve academic milestones. If a child has difficult with visual perceptual skills, learning to read can be impacted. Falling behind in basic reading skills then effects the ability to learn concepts in other academic areas such as science and social studies. Children who have poor social skills or sensory processing disorders can become anxious and withdrawn in school. They spend time and energy trying to figure out what is expected of them socially, or trying to make their bodies feel safe and good, rather than on learning academic material.
The Developmental Milestones Guide provides information cognitive, language, social, motor, visual perception and sensory motor areas of development that can impact academic performance. Now included in the newly expanded edition is a section on academic development, outlining the goals common for every age group.