0-1month: responds to voices by turning head, cries to express emotions and needs, bonds with caregiver, responds to familiar voices, able to sense touch
4-10 weeks: smiles socially, coos, shows memory, gestures, points, reaches, wiggles

3 months: babbles, makes noises, recognizes familiar faces, waves, kicks, smiles

4-5 months: giggles and laughs, examines fingers, sits when propped, smiles in recognition

6-8 months: plays imitation games, plays peek-a-boo, rolls over, begins teething, crawls, cries to communicate, sensitive to parental moods, sits up unaided, begins to pull self up, reaches for and grasps objects

9-11 months: screams to get own way, responds to many different sounds, acquires receptive language, creeps, feeds self with spoon, stands alone, cruises, experiments with environment, acts intentionally

12 months: first words, first steps, begins sense of separate self, explores with hands and fingers, talks to self in mirror


Social-Emotional: almost totally egocentric, lacks inhibitions, insists on own way, independent, refers to self by name, curious, active, strong sense of ownership

Language: uses some two word phrases, babbles, repeats adults’ words, points to communicate, obeys verbal requests, understands simple phrases, uses 5 to 50 words

Physical/Motor: awkward coordination, walks with feet wide apart and arms out, backs into chairs, constantly in motion, loves to push/pull, carries, dumps, scribbles, turns pages two or three at a time

Intellectual-Cognitive: points to objects in book, matches similar objects, imitates simple tasks, short attention span, follows one direction, action-oriented, builds towers of three or four blocks


Social-Emotional: self-centered, unable to share, insists on routines, easily frustrated, impulsive, pushes/shoves, finicky eater, refers to self by name, dawdles, likes people

Language: uses two- or three-word sentences, has difficulty in pronunciation, constant talking, can’t articulate feelings, may stutter, can match words with objects, repeats words and phrases, uses 50 to 300 words

Physical/Motor: uses whole-body action, pushes, pulls, pokes, depend on adults for dressing, can help undress, bladder/bowel control begins, feeds self, grasps cup with two hands, lugs, tumbles, unsteady, expresses emotions bodily, sensory-oriented, has difficulty relaxing

Intellectual-Cognitive: uses touch and taste to investigate, likes to fill/empty things, limited attention span, only understands simple concepts, colors and numbers are meaningless, needs own name used, does one thing at a time, remembers routines, names familiar objects in books


Social-Emotional: imitate adults, want to please adults, easily prompted/redirected, can be reasoned with, begins to share and take turns, exuberant, talkative, humorous, plays cooperatively with others, asserts independence often, sympathizes, often frustrated

Language: talkative, can listen to learn, increases use of pronouns and prepositions, uses sentences of three or more words, talks about non-present situations, uses 300 to 1,000 words

Physical/Motor: well-balanced, nimble on feet, alternates feet in stair climbing, jumps up and down with ease, uses toilet alone, rides tricycle, unbuttons/buttons, has some finger control with small objects, washes hands unassisted, can balance on one foot

Intellectual-Cognitive: enjoys making simple choices, alert, excited, curious, asks “why?” constantly, has a lively imagination, has short attention span, carries out two to four step directions, can’t combine two activities, names and matches colors, understands numbers one and two, understands size/shape comparisons


Social-Emotional: mood changes rapidly, bossy, boastful, belligerent, assertive, argumentative, shows off, noisy, hits, grabs, insists on desires, explosive, easily excitable, impatient, shifts loyalties to friends often, exaggerates, teases, tattles, has food jags

Language: has more words than knowledge, plays with words, has high interest in poetry, able to solve conflicts with words, responds to verbal directions, loves being read to, asks “when, why, and how”

Physical/Motor: dynamic, acrobatic, active until exhausted, can jump own height and land upright, hops, skips, throws large ball, kicks, hops on one foot, jumps over objects, walks on straight line, walks backward, turns somersaults, copies a square, draws stick figures, holds paint brush and pencil, has sureness and control of finger activities


Social-Emotional: self-confident, sensitive to ridicule, has to be right, persistent, may get silly or wild, enjoys group play, aware of rules, defines rules for others, sociable, insists of fair play, respects authority, asks permission, remains calm in emergencies

Language: uses big words and complete sentences, can define some words, spells some simple words, takes turns in conversations, asks questions to learn answers, enjoys dictating stories, makes up songs, confident in own knowledge, thinks out loud

Physical/Motor: completely coordinated, likes to use fine-motor skills, learns how to tie bow, draws a recognizable person, cuts on line with scissors, can color within lines, rides a two-wheeler, balances on beam, jumps rope, sometimes roughhouses or fights

Intellectual-Cognitive: curious about everything, likes to display knowledge, increased attention span, can count ten objects, rote counts to 20, sorts like objects, knows address and town, makes a plan and follows it, understands smallest/largest, knows what a calendar is used for, may be able to tell time

Reference: Beginnings & Beyond: Foundations in Early Childhood Education by Ann Miles Gordon

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