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Young Toddlers (8-21 months)

Young Toddlers are at an important stage between infancy and childhood. Everything that happens is meaningful and they are learning and growing in many ways! While the young toddler may say "no" frequently, it is important for trusted adults to encourage and guide little ones by using words to describe what they want the child to do, such as "use your walking feet" or "be gentle and keep our hands to ourselves." Language is developing at a rapid rate so talking, singing and reading are wonderful ways to learn and enjoy! They may play beside, but not with, other children and view themselves as the center of the world. Since they are becoming increasingly able to physically explore their surroundings, it is important to keep them safe. Their emotions can be intense and may express a wider range of feelings such as jealousy, affection, pride or shame. Routines and consistent responses by adults provide encouragement and stability for this period of rapid growth.

Engaging activities for your 8 to 21 month child

About the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines

The Early Learning Guidelines are designed to be useful to a broad range of educational professionals, including parents. In this document, adults can refer to anyone who works with and cares for children: teachers, caregivers, early childhood educators, early interventionists, home visitors, parents, etc. The document also refers to “children” generically, which is intended to include infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children.

Domain Introduction – Each introduction provides a description of some of the most important ideas related to the domain. This introductory information aids in understanding what aspects of children’s learning and development are included in the domain.

– Each domain is further organized into sub-areas of children’s development. This makes it easier to find the goals related to specific areas of children’s learning.

– Statements describing a general area or aspect of children’s development by domain.
•Approaches to Learning includes 9 goals
•Social Development and Emotional Development includes 6 goals
•Communications, Language and Literacy includes 11 goals
•Cognitive Development includes 13 goals
•Health and Physical Development includes 7 goals

Developmental Indicator Continuum
– Each continuum includes the expectations for children’s learning and development at particular age levels. These are not requirements for what children should know or be able to do at the end of each period. The continuum is divided into overlapping age levels in each table format.
•Infants: Birth – 12 months
•Younger Toddlers: 8 – 21 months
•Older Toddlers: 18 – 36 months
•Younger Preschoolers: 33 – 48 months
•Older Preschoolers: 45 – 60+ months

Strategies of Components
– At the end of each component sub-areas, strategies are included to provide ideas for how adults can enrich the environment and support children’s development and learning described in the Developmental Indicator Continuum. At the end of each domain section, there are specific adaptions for working with children who have disabilities and those who are Dual Language Learners.

– More detailed information is provided in Appendix A: Supporting Children who have Disabilities and Appendix B: Supporting Dual Language Learners.

The “heart” of the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines are charts that describe Goals and Developmental Indicators for children’s learning and development. The Goals and Developmental Indicators describe expectations for what children will learn prior to kindergarten, starting with infancy and covering all ages through kindergarten entry.

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Approaches to Learning

Children are born with an inclination to learn. This is reflected in behaviors and attitudes such as curiousity, problem-solving, maintaining attention, and persistence.

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Communication, Language & Literacy

From birth, children are learning language and developing the ability to communicate. Talking, singing, reading, and responding effectively when children express themselves are great investments supporting learning.

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Cognitive Development

This fascinating area of development includes understanding how children aquire, organize, and use information in increasingly complex ways. Through play, skills are developed as the foundation for exploring and understanding more sophisticated concepts.

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Health & Physical Development

Physical growth, muscle development, nutrition, self-care, health and safety practices are included in this area. Safe and healthy practices suppport the ability to learn more effectively in all areas.

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Children's areas of development are all integrated. While organized among five domains, each with different components, no one area is more important than another and are interrelated. These guidelines provide understanding for how children develop and why it is important to provide playful activities and experiences that support early learning.

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