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Child Development Tracker

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Approaches to Learning


Supporting Activities

Mister Rogers

Have fun experimenting with water! Water Play

Mister Rogers

Make your own car out of masking tape and egg cartons! Show and Tell

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day is a great way for them to learn new skills. Try these read-aloud concept books for babies.

Research shows that if children start school with a strong set of attitudes and skills that help them "learn how to learn," they will be better able to take advantage of educational opportunities. While some learning skills come naturally to children, others can be developed through a supportive environment.

Tips for building learning skills:

  • Let them choose.
    Give kids a chance to make simple choices, such as what to wear or what to eat for a snack.
  • Help them finish what they start.
    Children experience great satisfaction when they try and finish new things. Give them a bit of support when they need it, but be careful not to take over completely.
  • Nurture creativity.
    Encourage children to ask questions, try different ways of using materials, or offer them a wide range of new experiences.
  • Don't rush activities.
    Whether at home or in preschool, children need extended periods of time to really get involved in activities and to experience the "engagement" that is such an important foundation for learning.
  • Provide encouragement.
    All children start life eager to learn, but if adults are critical, that eagerness may disappear by the elementary grades. Look for achievements to praise and acknowledge your child's progress whenever possible.

One-year-olds are in the act of discovering the world. They enthusiastically use their senses to purposefully explore everything they can. They find pleasure in causing things to happen and in completing basic tasks. They also enjoy sharing interesting learning experiences with adults, and may use gestures and simple sounds or speech to ask adults questions. Since language skills are still developing, one-year-olds rely more heavily on nonverbal, physical strategies to reach simple goals.

Initiative, Engagement, and Persistence

  • Indicates preferences non-verbally or with simple language (e.g., points to an apple and pushes banana away).

  • Focuses attention on interesting sights or sounds, often in shared experiences with adults (e.g., sits on father's lap looking at a picture book).

  • Shows pleasure in completing simple tasks (e.g., drops clothespins into a bucket and smiles and claps when all are inside).

  • Increasingly tries to help with self-care activities (e.g., feeding, undressing, grooming). When reading with adults, may want to hold the book or try to turn the pages. Collects information about the world using the senses.

Curiosity and Eagerness to Learn

  • Actively participates in a variety of sensory experiences (e.g., tastes, touches, pats, shakes).

  • May seek information from adults by pointing to an interesting object, and then giving a questioning look, making a vocal sound, and/or saying a single word. In the second half of the year, children will be able to combine words to ask simple questions (e.g., says, "What that?" or "Who coming?").

  • Shows physical and vocal pleasure when exploring objects and other things. Finds pleasure in causing things to happen (e.g., picks up bells and rings them, then smiles broadly when each one sounds different).

Reasoning and Problem-solving

  • Tries a variety of physical strategies to reach simple goals (e.g., when a cart gets stuck while being pushed through a door, he or she turns the cart a different way and tries again).

  • Uses gestures and (toward the end of the year) simple language to get help when "stuck" (e.g., extends arms toward grandfather and says, "Up Up!" when trying to get into large chair).

  • Discovers aspects of the physical world using early language skills and purposeful exploration with the senses (e.g., turns a plastic bucket over and over, raising and lowering the handle thoughtfully).

Invention and Imagination

  • Pretends one object is really another with simple physical substitutions (e.g., picks up a wooden block and holds it to his or her ear like a phone).

  • Uses objects in new and unexpected ways (e.g., puts saucepan on head, laughs uproariously).

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