North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Skills for ages 24-27 Months

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Language Development and Communication

Understands vocabulary related to familiar items, people, and routines

Understands size (e.g., big, little)

Takes 2-3 turns in conversations by adding new information

Initiates a topic and responds with new information

Dependent on the adult to scaffold the conversation

Begins to cooperate in games, songs, and finger plays

Points to an object when asked, “Which one is…” (a cow, big, etc.)

Asks “What that” questions for information

Uses three types of questions: 1) Word + intonation (e.g., “Drink?”) 2) What + noun with implied action (e.g., “What doggie (doing)?" 3) Where + noun (“Where blanky?”)

Combines noises to make sound effects (e.g., “zoom-zoom,” “Brrring,” “Bang”)

Additional research needed

Produces two-and three- word phrases; makes simple statements (e.g., “More juice.” “Me do”) and asks questions about objects, people or events (“What that?”)

Uses negative sentences for nonexistence (no cookie), rejection (no nite-nite) and denial (no break)

Produces possessives

Plays house and acts out going to bed, cooking, eating, and other daily routines

Responds to adult’s suggestions for expansions of play

Produces regular possessives (e.g., mommy’s) emerge

Combines 2-3 words

Produces and between nouns (e.g., “I want juice and cookies.”)

Produces number words: Knows numbers one and two and knows “one more”

Understands and uses comparative words (e.g., big, little)

Uses pronouns (e.g., he, me) and possessives within a statement (e.g., that mine, your hat)

Protests when adult misreads a word in a familiar book; offers correct word

Recites whole phrases from favorite stories

“Reads” to dolls, stuffed animals or self

Discusses characters and events in books in ways that show understanding of the story

Fills in words in the text when the reader pauses, says the next word before the reader does, or reads along with the reader when a predictable, familiar book is read

Points to and labels pictures on billboards, cereal boxes, etc. in the environment

Listens with interest to books with alliteration (uses same sounds in beginning and other parts of words)

Repeats the alliterative words with these sounds more easily /w, p, b, d, t, m, n, h, y/

Imitates horizontal stroke

Experiments with different ways to draw and write, such as “magic” drawing boards, making impressions in sand, drawing on computer app. with finger, etc.

Imitates drawing a horizontal line

Includes curved marks in writing

Cognitive Development

Experiments with putting things together and taking them apart

Recognizes familiar signs, books

Use the word “pretend” when doing dramatic play

Dramatizes roles in familiar routines using props to remember actions performed by others in real life situations

Decides which role to play and what actions to perform

Increases activity level with fast rhythms

Experiments with materials, objects, and instruments

Engages in “music babble” as he sings and dances

Makes circles inside of circles, radiating lines from circles, and repetitive line formations

Engages in sensory art such as play dough, finger paints, etc.

Dramatizes different roles in familiar routines, up to three steps

Names own and others’ possessions

Shares toys, demonstrates some prosocial behavior with peers

Retrieves objects from different parts of the home

Knows cultural expectations for behaviors within the family

Play may be highly gender stereotyped

Prefers play with peers to that of adults

Notices obvious disabilities and points or makes comments

Counts first three count words

Demonstrates one-to-one correspondence (give one to each person), but doesn’t know amount

Understands the concept of one

Gives one out of many items

Correctly nests four or more small square boxes

Stacks five circular rings in correct size order

Size: Recognizes size differences (big, little)

Time: Understands now, today, in a minute; understands and talks about sequence of events in the day

Tries to imitate songs and finger plays, dance moves, and rhythms with instruments

Beginning to think about how things in the world are alike (rocks, trees, flowers, etc.)

Knows clothing for different occasions

Matches basic shapes of different sizes

Experiments with combining shapes in different configurations

Lines blocks up to make

Identifies where the rooms are at home

Observes and reacts to living things in the environment (chases butterflies) and explores surfaces (rolls in grass)

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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