North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Cognitive Development (CD)

Subdomain: Construction of Knowledge: Thinking and Reasoning

Goal: Children demonstrate the ability to think about their own thinking: reasoning, taking perspectives, and making decisions

Skill Progression: Making decisions

Age: 33-36 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 33-36 Months.

Beginning to select friends

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe the child in a group play situation or discuss with him who his friends are.

Elicitation Strategy

In a group play situation, children will naturally gravitate to their preferred play partners. Some may choose to play alone, but when children need a partner for a task (like playing ball), they typically show a preference. The adult can also ask the child, “Who would you like to have a play date with?” or “Who would you ask to a party?”

Behavior Observed

Girls will typically choose to play with girls and boys with boys at this age. See how the child moves in the group and who is selected as a play partner most frequently.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Children not only have a preference for activities, they have a preference for people. Making friends is an important milestone. Encourage parents to ask children who they want to have over for a play date, not just arrange a play date for convenience (or parent preference). Children pick as friends those who they are like in some way, those who they admire, and those who are fun to be with.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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