(reposted with permission from HighScope.)

Within HighScope’s eight preschool content areas are 58 key developmental indicators (KDIs) which define important learning goals for young children.

Each KDI is a statement that identifies an observable child behavior, reflecting knowledge and skills in areas such as language and literacy, math, creative arts, and physical development. HighScope teachers keep these indicators in mind when they set up the learning environment and plan activities. (Please click here for Infant-Toddler Key Developmental Indicators)

Preschool KDIs Quick Menu:

Approaches to Learning

  • Initiative: Children demonstrate initiative as they explore their world.
  • Planning: Children make plans and follow through on their intentions.
  • Engagement: Children focus on activities that interest them.
  • Problem solving: Children solve problems encountered in play.
  • Use of resources: Children gather information and formulate ideas about their world.
  • Reflection: Children reflect on their experiences.

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Social and Emotional Development

  • Self-identity: Children have a positive self-identity.
  • Sense of competence: Children feel they are competent.
  • Emotions: Children recognize, label, and regulate their feelings.
  • Empathy: Children demonstrate empathy toward others.
  • Community: Children participate in the community of the classroom.
  • Building relationships: Children build relationships with other children and adults.
  • Cooperative play: Children engage in cooperative play.
  • Moral development: Children develop an internal sense of right and wrong.
  • Conflict resolution: Children resolve social conflicts.

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Physical Development and Health

  • Gross-motor skills: Children demonstrate strength, flexibility, balance, and timing in using their large muscles.
  • Fine-motor skills: Children demonstrate dexterity and hand-eye coordination in using their small muscles.
  • Body awareness: Children know about their bodies and how to navigate them in space.
  • Personal care: Children carry out personal care routines on their own.

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Language, Literacy, and Communication

  • Comprehension: Children understand language.
  • Speaking: Children express themselves using language.
  • Vocabulary: Children understand and use a variety of words and phrases.
  • Phonological awareness: Children identify distinct sounds in spoken language.
  • Alphabetic knowledge: Children identify letter names and their sounds.
  • Reading: Children read for pleasure and information.
  • Concepts about print: Children demonstrate knowledge about environmental print.
  • Book knowledge: Children demonstrate knowledge about books.
  • Writing: Children write for many different purposes.
  • English language learning: (If applicable) Children use English and their home language(s) (including sign language).

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  • Number words and symbols: Children recognize and use number words and symbols.
  • Counting: Children count things.
  • Part-whole relationships: Children combine and separate quantities of objects.
  • Shapes: Children identify, name, and describe shapes.
  • Spatial awareness: Children recognize spatial relationships among people and objects.
  • Measuring: Children measure to describe, compare, and order things.
  • Unit: Children understand and use the concept of unit.
  • Patterns: Children identify, describe, copy, complete, and create patterns.
  • Data analysis: Children use information about quantity to draw conclusions, make decisions, and solve problems.

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Creative Arts

  • Art: Children express and represent what they observe, think, imagine, and feel through two- and three-dimensional art.
  • Music: Children express and represent what they observe, think, imagine, and feel through music.
  • Movement: Children express and represent what they observe, think, imagine, and feel through movement.
  • Pretend play: Children express and represent what they observe, think, imagine, and feel through pretend play.
  • Appreciating the arts: Children appreciate the creative arts.

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Science and Technology

  • Observing: Children observe the materials and processes in their environment.
  • Classifying: Children classify materials, actions, people, and events.
  • Experimenting: Children experiment to test their ideas.
  • Predicting: Children predict what they expect will happen.
  • Drawing conclusions: Children draw conclusions based on their experiences and observations.
  • Communicating ideas: Children communicate their ideas about the characteristics of things and how they work.
  • Natural and physical world: Children gather knowledge about the natural and physical world.
  • Tools and technology: Children explore and use tools and technology.

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Social Studies

  • Diversity: Children understand that people have diverse characteristics, interests, and abilities.
  • Community roles: Children recognize that people have different roles and functions in the community.
  • Decision making: Children participate in making classroom decisions.
  • Geography: Children recognize and interpret features and locations in their environment.
  • History: Children understand past, present, and future.
  • Ecology: Children understand the importance of taking care of their environment.

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