North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Skills for ages 27-30 Months

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Language Development and Communication

Follows two-step related directions

Identifies objects by function

Knows smaller body parts

Knows amount words (one, all)

Communicates about previous experiences when adult talks about them and asks questions

Conversations begin to be directed to other children, as well as self and adults

Answers variety of simple questions asked by another accurately

Starts to ask “who” and “where” questions

Speech is 60% intelligible

May delete one consonant from a consonant blend (e.g., top/stop)

Produces two- to four-word phrases or sentences (agent + action + object is the most common, along with agent + action + location)

Modifies nouns in an object position (e.g., Daddy is a big man.)

Demonstrates fantasy play, acting out a story or pretending to be an animal or a character seen on television or a movie

Produces vague stories about something that happened (“I falled”)

Produces the following morphemes: Present progressive verbing (adds"ing" to words) Prepositions (in, on) Regular plurarls (e.g., dolls, horses)

Produces have and do as auxiliary verbs (“Do you like apples?”)

Produces infinitive verb phrases with hafta, wanna, gonna. (e.g., “I wanna go”)

Knows first three count or number words

Uses at least one color description word

Uses over extension (uses one word too broadly) (e.g., all animals with four legs are dogs)

Expands use of relational words (in, on, under)

Uses action/event terms (e.g., bring, take/ snack, lunch)

Recites text from a familiar predictable book

Requests adult read the same book repeatedly

Recites text from a familiar, predictable book

Answers simple questions about the pictures in the book

Recognizes and identifies almost all common objects and pictures

Recognizes some familiar environmental signs or symbols

Claps with a drumbeat

Understands the difference between words with similar phonemes such as “pat” and “path”

Creates separated, tight scribble marks

Draws different strokes, dots, and circular shapes

Explains what he has drawn and what different colors convey

Indicates writing with small “chicken scratches”

Cognitive Development

Investigates how to manipulate things by tearing, stretching, unwrapping, etc.

Fills in missing words in familiar books, songs, rhymes, etc.

Uses the words “think,” and “know” to express understanding of something

Incorporates others into dramatic play and understands their intentions

Decides what others should do or say in dramatic play

Attends to more than one characteristic of objects at a time (sound and movement)

Attends to more than one characteristic of objects at a time (visual and sensory)

Experiments with different types of movements

Makes wild swings and kicks with arms and legs to tempo (fast/slow); dances on toes

Experiments with making marks on all different surfaces to see the results (walls, table, floor)

Squeezes, flattens, and puts chunks of play dough together and takes them apart

Begins fantasy dramatic play; uses dolls or action figures to “perform” sequences and talk to each other and interact

Shares toys, helps others, cooperates in games, shows empathic concern

Plays with others in a small group of children (even if in parallel play)

Notices and talks about differences in people’s size, eye color, skin color, hair, etc.

Counts up to 4 items in a collection

Identifies first in a sequence and sometimes the second

Identifies more than 3 as “many”

Uses words for a characteristic such as big/little, tall/short, heavy/light, but may not yet compare to objects based on the characteristics

Size: Knows size words (big, little), but may not be able to tell which of two things is bigger

Amount: Knows just one

Height: Recognizes taller on the height chart

Weight: Knows heavy

Time: Uses words implying past, present and future; uses morning, afternoon, night, tomorrow

Makes up simple non-repeating patterns with blocks, beads of different shapes or colors

Thinks many things are alive that are not, but beginning to understand alive and not alive

Names at least one color

Matches basic shape blocks with different orientation

Prefers whole items, does not recognize pieces make a whole (gets upset if a cookie is broken)

Begins building vertically and horizontally together with blocks

Knows words indicating spatial understanding (outdoors, upstairs)

Knows directional word (including up, down, out, in, over, under) with regard to movement

Makes simple predictions about what will happen (drop rock in water)

Uses tools to explore the environment (shovel in the sand)

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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