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Cognitive Development

Cognitive Development Domain

The Cognitive Development domain focuses on children’s ability to acquire, organize, and use information in increasingly complex ways. In their search for understanding and meaning, young children play an active role in their own cognitive development. Children will apply prior knowledge to new experiences and use this information to refine their understanding of concepts and form new ones.

Relationships

For young children, cognitive development is supported and encouraged through their relationships with others. This happens through daily activities, routines, and interactions with adults and other children. They typically learn a great deal about themselves and form ideas about family roles and community helpers based on their daily experiences in their own home and community.

Schooling

Thinking becomes increasingly complex as children grow older. During the preschool years, children become more effective thinkers and begin to start following the scientific method. For example, they:

Children’s creativity blossoms when they are given opportunities to work with creative open-ended materials. Through the process of exploring their world and a variety of materials, children develop an appreciation for different forms of art, the natural world, people and cultures.

Construction of Knowledge: Thinking and Reasoning

Goal CD-1: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions children use their senses to discover and construct knowledge about the world around them.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Discover the world around them by actively exploring objects (putting toys in mouth, watching, waving, banging objects, dumping, picking up and dropping objects).
  • Turn head or move toward sounds.
  • Notice consequences of their actions (open and shut cabinet door, drop Cheerios and watch them fall).
  • Actively explore objects by handling them in many ways (moving, carrying, filling, pouring, smelling, and putting in mouth).
  • Explore space with their bodies (fit self into large box, crawl under table, climb over objects).
  • Link actions together in simple combinations (put cover on pot, put doll in crib and rock).
  • Explore and experiment with objects and materials to learn about their properties.
  • Experiment with safe tools to learn how they work (wooden hammer with pegs, sifter, funnel).
  • Put together multiple combinations of actions and objects (put toothpaste on brush and brush teeth).
  • Share simple concepts they have discovered with their senses through play (imitate something they have seen an adult do, show they understand how to sort by sorting toys as they are playing).
  • Intentionally explore and investigate objects, tools, and materials to learn about their properties (weigh an object, observe something from the top and from the bottom).
  • Share something they have discovered through their senses using play, art, language, and other forms of representation. (“This smells like the flower at Grandma’s.”
  • Group familiar objects that go together (shoe and sock, brush and paint, hammer and nail).
  • Intentionally explore objects, tools, and materials and make simple comparisons about their properties (compare the weight of two objects on a balance scale).
  • Express knowledge gathered through their senses using play, art, language, and other forms of representation in a way that communicates their thoughts to others (dance like a thunderstorm).
  • Distinguish appearance from reality (the person behind a mask is still the same person; recognize that a make-believe story was not real).
  • Organize and use information through matching, grouping, and sequencing.

Construction of Knowledge: Thinking and Reasoning

Goal CD-2: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions children recall information and apply it to new situations and problems.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Search for objects that they saw someone hide or that are partially hidden.
  • Respond differently to familiar vs. unfamiliar people, objects, and situations (reach for new interesting toy instead of old familiar toy; move toward familiar caregiver but hide head on parent’s shoulder when new person comes near).
  • Anticipate routine events (smile, wave arms and legs, move toward adult holding bottle).
  • Repeat an action to make something happen again or to reach a goal (make sounds when music stops, bounce up and down to get adult to continue “horsey ride”).
  • Observe and imitate sounds, movements, and facial expressions, including things they have seen in the past or in other places.
  • Search in several places where an object has been hidden recently.
  • Notice a change in familiar objects, places, or events (reach to touch hair when parent comes home with new haircut, look for furniture that was moved).
  • Perform routine events and use familiar objects in appropriate ways (carry clean diaper to changing table, talk on phone, “water” plants with pitcher).
  • Explore how things work and how to cause an effect by performing actions time after time, such as repeatedly pushing the button to make the character pop out of the toy.
  • Try a number of solutions to everyday challenges or problems until finding a strategy that works. May repeat a strategy even if it is not working.
  • Imitate behaviors they have seen in the past or in other places.
  • Identify objects and people in pictures by pointing or looking.
  • Use simple pretend play actions (pretend to sleep and eat).
  • Search for objects in several places, even when not seen recently.
  • Show they remember people, objects, and events (tell about them, act them out, point out similar happenings).
  • Show they remember the order in which familiar events happen (finish a phrase in a story or song, get ready to go outdoors after snack).
  • Try multiple times to cause an effect or solve challenging problems, combining actions and behaviors used before. (ask another child to help remove a lid with them after trying unsuccessfully themselves).
  • Repeat simple problem solving strategies to find solutions to everyday problems.
  • Choose objects to represent something else with similar features during play (block for cell phone, large sheet for tent).
  • Perform more complex action after watching an adult (activate sound from toy, open a latch).
  • Recognize whether a picture or object is the same as or different from something they have seen before.
  • Apply what they know about everyday experiences to new situations (look for the seatbelt on the bus).
  • Describe or act out a memory or a situation or action, with adult support.
  • Express expectations based on past experiences (“We brush our teeth after we eat.”)
  • Make predictions about what will happen using what they know.
  • Use multiple strategies to solve problems, including trial and error, simple tools, or asking for help (try to fix a broken toy by taping it back together).
  • Introduce ideas or actions in play based on previous knowledge or experience.
  • Ask questions about why things happen to build their understanding of the cause and effect.
  • Demonstrate their ability to apply what they know about everyday experiences to new situations.
  • Describe past events in order, including details or personal reactions.
  • Describe how a past event relates to something happening currently or in the future. (“We found worms at Grandpa’s, too!”)
  • Make predictions about what will happen and explain their thinking.
  • Try to solve problems they have solved in the past in new ways, using what they have learned.
  • Introduce detailed or complex ideas or actions into play, based on previous knowledge or experience.
  • Use reasoning to come to conclusions (including conclusions regarding cause and effect) about familiar situations and materials, based on information gathered with their senses.

Construction of Knowledge: Thinking and Reasoning

Goal CD-3: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions children demonstrate the ability to think about their own thinking: reasoning, taking perspectives, and making decisions.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Show awareness of others’ reactions to people, objects, and events.
  • Show awareness of another person’s actions by establishing joint attention (look at an object, then at caregiver, and back at object).
  • Show awareness of others’ feelings about things by looking to see how they react.
  • Show awareness of another person’s actions and intentions by imitating actions or looking to adult to meet another’s need.
  • Notice and respond to others’ feelings and behaviors (hand a toy to another child as a play invitation).
  • Observe and imitate adult actions and adjusts interactions based on those observations (after seeing adult set table, put napkins on table).
  • Use words like “think,” “remember,” and “pretend.”
  • Talk about what they and other people want or like.
  • Use language to identify pretend or make-believe situations. (“Let’s pretend we’re going on a trip.”)
  • Use words like “think” and “know” to talk about thoughts and beliefs.
  • Recognize that beliefs and desires can determine what people do (e.g., a person will look for a missing object based on where they think it is rather than where it actually is).
  • Compare differences between pretend and real experiences; use language to identify pretend or make-believe situations. (“That’s a pretend story.”)
  • Express understanding that others may have different thoughts, beliefs, or feelings than their own. (“I like ketchup and you don’t.”)
  • Use language to describe their thinking processes with adult support.
  • Explain how they draw conclusions based on evidence they have gathered.

Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal CD-4: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children count with understanding and use numbers to tell how many, describe order, and compare.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Indicate they want “more” with signs, sounds, or looks.
  • Show interest in obvious differences in quantity by looking at or reaching for objects (reach for a basket with three balls rather than a basket with one ball).
  • Use words or actions that show understanding of the concepts of “more” and “all” (ask for more food, stop asking for more blocks when told they have “all” of the blocks).
  • Explore quantity (filling and dumping containers).
  • Recognize the difference between two small sets of objects (6 or under) that include a different number of objects (point to which set of crayons has more).
  • Use words or actions that show understanding of the concepts of “more,” “all,” as well as “none” (become upset when told there is no more play dough).
  • Count to 5 with the support of an adult.
  • Understand the meaning of “one.”
  • Place items in one-to-one correspondence during play and daily routines (one spoon at each plate; one doll in each toy car).
  • Make a small group (1-3) with the same number of items as another group of items (take 3 balls from a basket after the teacher shows the group that she has 3 balls and asks each person to take the same number of balls).
  • Rote count by ones to 10 with increasing accuracy.
  • Count up to 5 objects arranged in a line using one-to-one correspondence with increasing accuracy, and answer the question “How many?”
  • Compare two groups (containing up to 5 objects each) and compare them in terms of more, less, fewer, or equal.
  • Show they understand that adding objects to a group will make a bigger group and taking away objects will make a smaller group.
  • Rote count by ones to 20 with increasing accuracy.
  • Look at a group of up to 5 objects and quickly see and say, or sign the number of objects.
  • With guidance and support, match numerals 1-5 to sets of objects.
  • Count the number of items in a group of up to 10 objects and know that the last number tells how many.
  • Use fingers, objects, and drawings to show adding and taking away up to 5.
  • Explore simple addition with support. (When adding a group of 3 and a group of 2, counts, keeping track on fingers, “One, two, three...” and then counts on, “Four, five!”)
  • Verbally count backward from 5 using fingers and use that skill to subtract a given number. (When asked how many would be left if we took 2 fingers away, counts, “Five, four, three!”)
  • Recognize numerals up to 10 and attempt to write them during play and daily activities.
  • Use and understand the terms “first” through “fifth” and “last” in their play and daily activities. (“The engine is first, and the caboose is last.”)

Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal CD-5: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children demonstrate concepts about position, as well as identify and describe simple geometric shapes.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Discover different shapes by exploring (put rings in mouth, roll balls).
  • Attempt to put objects into other objects (put blocks into a bucket).
  • Explore space with their bodies (fit self into large box, crawl under table, climb over low walls).
  • Put basic shapes into a shape sorter using trial and error.
  • Match square shapes and circle shapes.
  • Respond to and begin to use words describing positions (in, on, over, under, etc.).
  • Name or match a few shapes.
  • Stack or line up blocks that are the same shape.
  • Demonstrate and begin to use the language of the relative position of objects in the environment and play situations, such as up, down, over, under, top, bottom, inside, outside, in front, behind, between, next to.
  • Build and describe 2-dimensional shapes, such as making circles and triangles with blocks and play dough.
  • Find shapes in the environment and describe them in his/her own words.
  • Create 2-dimensional shapes and 3-dimensional structures to create symmetry (are the same on both sides) or to represent real-world objects. (“We are building a castle and we need a round block for the tunnel.”)
  • Name basic shapes, such as circle, triangle, square, and rectangle, and describe their characteristics using descriptive and geometric attributes. (“That’s a triangle; it’s pointy.” “It’s a circle because it’s round.”)
  • Recognize that a shape remains the same shape when it changes position.
  • Take a shape apart to make new shapes, such as finding two triangles in a square.

Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal CD-6: Through their explorations, play and social interactions, children compare, sort, group, organize, measure, and create simple patterns using concrete objects.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Discover objects of different sizes and weights by exploring (put toys in mouth, pick up large objects).
  • Participate in activities that compare the size and weight of objects.
  • Show awareness of different categories during play (put balls in a box and dolls in a bed; give one friend all the cars and another friend all of the trucks when playing in the block area).
  • Use size and amount words to label objects, people, and collections (big truck, a lot of cookies, little baby).
  • Group objects into categories (cars with cars, plates separated from cups).
  • Recognize objects that are different but go together (such as shovel and pail or cup and plate).
  • Use simple measurement tools with guidance and support to measure objects (a ruler, measuring cup, scale).
  • Compare the size or weight of two objects and identify which one is longer/taller/heavier that the other. (“That rock is heavier than this one; I can’t lift it.” “A cow is bigger than a cat.”)
  • Identify familiar objects as the same or different.
  • Sort familiar objects into categories with increasing accuracy (tools for woodworking and utensils for cooking; rectangle blocks on one shelf and square blocks on another shelf).
  • Recognize simple repeating patterns and attempt to create them during play (repeat a movement pattern during a song, make a line of blocks in alternating colors).
  • Identify and use measurements tools, such as ruler, scales, measuring cups, thermometer, clock, as well as non-standard objects (measure length of shadow using shoes).
  • Directly compare more than two objects by size, length, or weight. (“That rock is heavier than these others; I can’t lift it.” Look at three strings that are different lengths and select the longest string).
  • Sort a group of up to 10 objects using two attributes (color, size, shape, quantity) with increasing accuracy (sort blocks by shape and color).
  • Arrange up to 5 objects in order according to characteristics or attributes, such as height (put 4 water toys in order from shortest to tallest).
  • Sort objects onto a large graph according to one attribute, such as size, shape, or color and name the category that has the most, least.
  • Identify, repeat, extend, and describe a simple pattern in the context of play or daily activities, routines, play, or in nature. (“Look, that zebra has a white stripe, black stripe, white stripe, black stripe!”)

Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal CD-7: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children use mathematical thinking to ask questions and solve problems.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Differentiate primary caregiver from others.
  • Begin to cluster objects that share physical similarities (i.e. balls grouped together and blocks grouped together).
  • Match relational parts, such as a teapot and its’ lid or a pan with a spoon to stir.
  • Use observation and emerging counting skills (1, 2, 3) during play and other daily activities.
  • Match objects by shape, color, or size.
  • Match object to picture of object.
  • Match objects that have the same function (a brush and a comb or a bowl and a plate).
  • Seek answers to questions by using mathematical thinking during play and daily activities (determine who is taller by standing next to classmate; find two smaller blocks to replace larger block).
  • Use observation and counting (not always correctly) to find out how many things are needed during play and other daily activities (figure out how many spoons are needed for snack, find enough dolls so each person has one when playing in the dramatic play area).
  • Use drawing and concrete materials to represent mathematical ideas (draw many circles to show “lots” of people, put Popsicle® sticks in a pile to show the number of children who want crackers for snack).

  • Seek answers to questions during play and daily activities using an increasing variety of mathematical strategies.
  • Use observation and counting with increasing accuracy to answer questions such as “How many do we need?” and “How many more do we need?” during play and other daily activities (count new children to see how many more plates are needed for snack; return extra drinks to cooler at picnic to arrive at the correct number).
  • Use drawing and concrete materials to represent an increasing variety of mathematical ideas (draw shapes to represent pattern; stack differently colored blocks to represent classmates’ answers to a survey question).
  • Begin to explain how a mathematical problem was solved. (“I saw that there was always a blue flower after a red flower so I knew to put a blue one next.” “I counted four friends who didn’t have cookies so I got four more.”)
  • Gather mathematical information (quantity, measurement of objects, etc.) to answer questions of interest.

Scientific Exploration and Knowledge

Goal CD-8: As a result of their explorations and participation in simple investigations through play, children observe, describe, and demonstrate respect for living things, the environment, and the physical world.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Show curiosity and explore the natural world using all their senses (rub hands over grass, lift face to feel wind, pat family dog, splash water).
  • Show curiosity in observing and exploring the natural world indoors and outdoors with focus, using all senses (notice and play with rocks brought in from a walk, smell flowers, catch falling snow, shuffle through leaves).
  • Point to objects and actions they find interesting in the world around them.
  • Collect groups of items (put rocks and pinecones in a bucket).
  • Show curiosity and investigate the world of nature indoors and outdoors (roll in the grass, scratch frost on window).
  • Help adult with the care of living things (water plants, feed classroom pet).
  • Cause toys they are playing with to move and provide simple descriptions. (“My train go fast!”)
  • Collect items that may share an attribute.
  • Classify things into groups but may overgeneralize (call all small animals “puppies”).
  • Use one word descriptions (hot, soft, bumpy).
  • Observe and choose simple clothing for weather (mittens and boots when snowy).
  • Demonstrate interest in the natural world and the outdoor environment (plays in dirt and sand, ask questions about things seen outdoors).
  • Participate in activities that help to care for the environment, with guidance and support (picks up trash, recycle paper).
  • Participate in the care of living things with guidance and support (water plants, help to feed classroom pet).
  • Notice and describe characteristics of plants and animals, such as appearance, similarities, differences, behavior, and habitat.
  • Investigate the effect they can have on motion (push, pull, build ramp for a toy car with blocks, put foot in the path of moving toy).
  • Notice and describe properties of materials and changes in substances (water freezes into ice, pudding thickens, clay hardens).
  • Compare and sort objects or materials according to one or more attributes.
  • Observe and state simple weather patterns (sunny, rainy, cloudy, snowy).
  • Demonstrate respect, wonder and appreciation for the environment by participating in activities that help to care for the environment. With support explain that their actions and actions of others can change the environment (gathering cans for recycling, planting trees).
  • Take responsibility for the care of living things (independently feed pet as daily chore, water plant when leaves drop, help weed vegetable garden).
  • Describe basic things plants and animals need to live and grow (sunlight, water, food). Identify changes that take place over time.
  • Collect items from nature (rocks, leaves, insects) and classify them using physical characteristics (color, size, shape, texture).
  • Provide simple rationale for future movement and speed of an object based on past experience. (“Last time I made the ramp really high the marble went really fast.”)
  • Observe and use words to describe physical changes and their possible causes, such as solid turning to liquid.
  • Sort objects or materials by attributes and describe the attributes used to sort (size, color, shape, sound).
  • Notice and describe weather conditions, position of the sun and moon at different times, and seasonal changes.

Scientific Exploration and Knowledge

Goal CD-9: As a result of their explorations and participation in simple investigations through play, children demonstrate their ability to use scientific inquiry by observing, manipulating objects, asking questions, making predictions, and developing generalizations.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)

  • Gather information through sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.
  • Explore body movements to make something happen (kick a mobile).
  • Use multiple senses to focus intently on objects, displays, materials, or events.
  • Use all senses to examine the environment carefully (reach out to touch rain, stop playing to watch shadows, gaze at moon).
  • Manipulate objects to make things happen (kick a ball, push a button on a toy) and delight in repeating and seeing similar results.
  • Explore objects and materials, handling them in many ways to discover more things they can do with them (moving, carrying, filling, dumping, squishing and pounding wet sand).
  • Say, “Look!” for others to share in discoveries.
  • Make simple scribbles, sounds, or movements to describe what they are seeing and experiencing.
  • Use simple tools to investigate objects (magnifying glass, ramps for rolling balls, or spoon for digging) or to obtain a desired object (i.e. ruler to guide ball back from under shallow cabinet).
  • Try out different materials to create a structure.
  • Investigate differences between materials (sand, water, “goop,” moving air).
  • Notice and comment on changes in materials when mixing and manipulating (paint, playdough, food ingredients).
  • Ask, “What’s that?”

  • Represent what they learn during scientific exploration through simple drawings, building, movement, or other methods, with adult support.
  • Use simple tools and measuring devices, such as balance scales, sifter, and rulers to explore the environment, with guidance and support.
  • Observe objects, materials, and phenomena and describe what they notice (temperature, texture, size, weight, color, etc.).
  • State a purpose when constructing something new. (“I’m gonna build a bridge for my dump truck.”)
  • Test a variety of materials and configurations to design an end product.
  • Ask questions to find out more about the natural world.
  • With adult support, make simple predictions about what will happen next.
  • Use simple descriptions and scientific vocabulary during experiments and experiences, with adult prompting and support (describe changes taking place while mixing, and using words such as “question,” “experiment,” and “measure”).
  • Represent what they learn during their scientific explorations through drawing, 3-D models, diagrams, movement, or other methods.
  • Identify the five senses as ways they can learn more about the world and uses their senses to do so.
  • Use an increasing variety of tools to investigate the world around them, solve problems, and complete tasks, extending what they can observe and do through their senses alone (measuring tools, magnifying glasses, balance, prism, droppers).
  • Compare objects, materials, and phenomena by observing and describing their physical characteristics.
  • Ask questions and identify ways to find answers (look in a book, use the computer, try something and watch what happens).
  • Make predictions, providing a rationale based on past experiences and then carry out simple investigations to test their predictions. Gather data and communicate simple conclusions (with adult support, predict which objects will sink or float, make two column chart labeled by picture of object sinking and another floating, and draw the objects in appropriate columns after observing which ones sink).
  • Follow a simple visual plan or model to construct something new.
  • Make adjustments to their constructions or creations to improve function, stability, or appearance.
  • Use scientific process words (predict, experiment, compare, measure) and scientific content words (plant, animal, magnet, weather) in discussions during science experiences.
  • Use the computer and other technology, if available, to explore how their actions can cause an effect.

Social Studies, Family, and Community Connections

Goal CD-10: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children demonstrate an understanding of relationships, roles, and what it means to be a participating member of their families and the diverse groups/communities they belong to.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Observe actions of children, adults, animals, and objects nearby.
  • Seek out parents, siblings, and caregivers for play and for meeting needs.
  • Express enjoyment or show preference for familiar people with sounds, expressions, and/or movement.
  • Imitate routine actions of their caregivers (rock a baby doll, push a lawnmower, “read” a magazine).
  • Know whom they can go to for help and emotional ‘refueling,’ (periodically seeking out primary caregiver before going back to play with peers).
  • Bring toys to share with primary caregiver.
  • Recognize children and others they spend a lot of time with (make sounds, say name).
  • Sit next to another child when playing with own toys.
  • Intently watch and imitate other children and adults (try to swing a plastic bat they have seen an older child use).
  • Use play to show what they know about relationships and roles in families and other familiar contexts.
  • Talk about what others do during the day. (“Mommy at work. Gramma at home.”)
  • Help with daily routines (put napkins out for lunch).
  • Seek out familiar playmates to sit next to when playing.
  • Talk about close family members, name their relationships to each other, and describe family routines. (“Marika is my sister.” “My grandma takes care of me at night.”)
  • Adopt roles of family and community members during play, given support and realistic props.
  • Identify self as a part of a specific family, preschool class, or other familiar group (e.g., point to picture and say, “That’s my family.” or “I’m in Ms. Emily’s class.”)
  • With prompting and support, participate as a member of a group, such as a classroom community (vote for name of class pet, wait turn to paint when easels are full).
  • Talk about “fairness” and demonstrate a willingness to take turns and share with others.
  • Talk about a wide circle of family members and other people important to the family, their relationships to each other, and their shared experiences.
  • Adopt roles of a wide variety of family and community members during dramatic play, using props, language, and actions in a way that demonstrates their understanding of the roles.
  • Identify themselves as individuals and as belonging to a family, as well as other groups such as their preschool class or faith community).
  • View themselves as contributing members of various groups with both rights and responsibilities (share, take turns, follow rules, take responsibility for simple jobs).
  • Participate in creating and following expectations/rules and routines.
  • Demonstrate confidence in expressing individual opinions and thoughts, while respecting those of others.

Social Studies, Family, and Community Connections

Goal CD-11: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions children identify and demonstrate appreciation of similarities and differences between themselves and others.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Notice faces and facial features.
  • Notice differences between primary caregivers and others.
  • Respond differently to adults and children.
  • Compare their own physical features with those of others by looking and touching.
  • Explore similarities and differences among people by listening to their voices, feeling their hair, touching their faces, and watching their expressions.
  • Describe people who are similar and different based on characteristics such as age, gender, and other physical characteristics.
  • Show awareness of similarities and differences among people and families by taking on different roles during play.
  • Show acceptance of people who are different from themselves as well as people who are similar.
  • Explore differences in backgrounds and traditions during play and planned activities, given support and guidance (try on various traditional outfits in the dramatic play area).
  • Name several similarities and differences between themselves and others as well as benefits of those similarities and differences.
  • Show acceptance of differences through exploration of varying customs and traditions, past and present (how people dress, how people speak, food, music, art, etc.).
  • Demonstrate an understanding that there are diverse families and backgrounds and all have value (talk positively about how other children have different family structures than their own; share family traditions/routines, ask questions to learn about the traditions of others).
  • Demonstrate respect for the thoughts and opinions of others, even when different from their own.

Creative Arts and Expression

Goal CD-12: Children engage in a variety of creative activities for enjoyment and self-expression including play, visual arts, music, expressive movement, and drama.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Explore sensory properties of art media (smear paint, pat and pound dough).
  • Use toys and household objects in a variety of different ways during play (wave, then scrunch, then throw a scarf).
  • Imitate and make a variety of sounds with simple instruments, toys, and their own voice.
  • Express feelings, such as joy by moving their bodies (kick feet when excited, hug soft toy).
  • Explore art materials freely (make marks, squeeze clay, tear paper).
  • Use hats and clothes for dress-up make-believe.
  • Use materials purposefully to create sounds (bang blocks together, ring bell, shake can to make contents jingle).
  • Move to music in their own way (such as swaying to music with feet wide apart).

  • Experiment and create 2D and 3D art with clay, crayons, markers, paint, and collage materials.
  • Create representations of familiar objects and scenes using play materials, language, scribbles and other actions.
  • Make up simple nonsense songs, sign, chant, and move to music (twirl around and fall down, “march” by lifting knees high).
  • Talk or sing to themselves for comfort or enjoyment and express ideas and feelings through music and movement.
  • Explore the properties of art materials and use them for constructing, painting, drawing, and sculpting.
  • Choose to participate and use visual art, music, movement, and dramatic play to communicate and express feelings, ideas, and experiences.
  • Show creativity and imagination when using materials, singing, moving, and assuming roles during pretend play.
  • Use words and actions to imitate a variety of familiar stories, roles, and new understandings from topics of study (set up a store in the dramatic play area and act out roles of shopkeeper and customer).
  • Show awareness of different musical instruments, and rhythms, as they make music or participate in music activities.
  • Show awareness of various patterns of beat, rhythm, and movement through music and movement activities.
  • Explore ways to move imaginatively with and without music, such as stretching, galloping, twisting, bending, swaying, marching, and clapping.
  • Demonstrate enjoyment and confidence in their ability to freely plan and create artwork of their own design individually and collaboratively, including drawings, paintings, collages, and sculptures.
  • Describe experiences, ideas, emotions, people, and objects represented in their artwork.
  • Draw or build representations of familiar people, places, and new understandings from topics of study with a variety of materials.
  • Plan and act out scenes based on books, stories, everyday life, and imagination alone or with others, creating and engaging in increasingly detailed and extended scenarios in their dramatic play.
  • Recall and imitate different musical tones, rhythms, rhymes, and songs as they make music and participate in a variety of musical and rhythmic experiences, including singing, clapping to the beat, listening, and using musical instruments.
  • Recall and imitate patterns of beat, rhythm, tempo, and dynamics of music, as they create expressive movements or participate in movement activities.

Creative Arts and Expression

Goal CD-13: Children demonstrate an appreciation for different forms of art including visual arts, music, expressive movement, and drama.

Developmental Indicator Continuum

Infants
(Birth - 12 months)
Younger Toddlers
(8 - 21 months)
Older Toddlers
(18 - 36 months)
Younger Preschoolers
(36 - 48 months)
Older Preschoolers
(45 - 60+ months)
  • Show wonder or fascination with objects, activities, or experiences (pay attention to bright or contrasting colors, look at caregiver singing lullabies, show bodily excitement when they hear music).
  • Hold, touch, and experience different textures (fuzzy blanket, smooth skin, rough carpet).
  • Show interest or pleasure in response to images, objects, and music (say, “Aaah” and reach for a brightly colored picture, look at or reach toward fluttering leaves).
  • Participate in and explore all possible media (use finger paint, glue scraps of paper on another paper, dance to music).
  • Express delight in different forms of art (choose to look at a book with colorful photographs).
  • Participate in and use simple words to describe art, music, movement, drama, or other aesthetic experiences (talk about colors in a painting).
  • Express pleasure in different forms of art (call something “pretty,” express preferences, or listen to music again).
  • Participate in and use words to describe art in terms of color, texture, space, sound and movement.
  • Show appreciation for a variety of art, including that of their own culture and community, as well as others.
  • Participate in and use art-specific vocabulary to express ideas and thoughts about artistic creations more clearly. (“We need a stage for our puppet show.”)
  • Demonstrate value and respect for their own artwork and that of their peers.
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