North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Skills for ages 42-48 Months

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Language Development and Communication

Understands opposites (e.g., long/short)

Understands basic time concepts (e.g., before/after; morning/ afternoon)

Understands wide variety of questions including “how” and “when” questions

Understands passive declarative sentences (e.g., “The cat was chased by the dog”)

Takes 4 turns in a true conversation on a topic

Participates in a narrative describing an event

May interrupt in conversations, but is beginning to understand taking a turns in a group

Seeks out peers for conversations, rather than adults

Answers “when” and “how” questions

Responds to requests for clarification most of the time

Asks “why” and "how"

80% intelligible

85% of children use: Initial sound: /kw/ Medial sound: /d/ Final sound: /f/

75% of children: No longer substitute a front sound for a back sound (e.g., tat/cat)

75% of children: No longer replace an affricative with a continuant or stop (e.g., sip/chip)

75% of children: No longer reduce consonant clusters (e.g., gape/grape)

75% of children: No longer deletes unstressed syllables

Produces complex sentences with prepositional phrases (e.g., The dog is behind his house), “wh” clauses (e.g., “I went where the horse live”), simple infinitives (“I want to go to bed")

Cooperates in coordinated dramatic play, creating a narrative with a complex theme or story

Builds structures with blocks and add props to act out stories or scenes

Produces the following morphemes: Articles, Irregular past tense, Regular past tense, Third person regular verbs, Contracted copula, Irregular third person singular verbs (“she has” “she does”)

Names all primary colors

Names examples in a category (e.g., animals, fruits, vegetables, jobs, etc.)

Knows more complex relational words (e.g., in front of, behind, beside)

Asks adult to define word meanings

Understands relationship between related pictures

Sequences events in stories

Recalls 3-4 elements of a story

Predicts what will happen next in an unknown story

Asks what specific words are in text

Identifies rhymes and rhyming sounds in familiar words

Attends to beginning sounds in familiar words

Tries to write own name, but does not understand that the letters represent the sounds in name

Recognizes own name in print

Identifies 5-10 alphabet letters, especially those in own name

Matches uppercase letters

Knows that alphabet letters make words

Makes letter-sound matches of a few letters

Memorizes the letters in own name and tries to write them

Demonstrates awareness of uses for writing, and uses writing for these functions in "real" life and in play (e.g., scribble phone messages, make signs for block buildings, create cards, make tickets, etc.)

Uses drawing to stand for writing to communicate a message

Begins to write the letters of own name; marks begin to resemble actual letters in the child’s name, although some letters, such as those with diagonal lines (e.g., K, N, M, Y), are difficult

Organizes marks that serve as writing “words” in a linear fashion, and in rows

As likely to start at the right side of a page as the left when "writing"

Rotates a piece of paper and writes down the side rather than go back to the left and start a new line

Starts to copy simple horizontal and vertical letters, like E, F, L, H, T; letters with angles (K, N, M, Y) are more difficult

May make letters in segments, for example a line for the I in T, then two short lines emanating from each side of the top of the line

Strings letters or mock letters together, then asks what it says

Cognitive Development

Combines blocks or 8-12 puzzle pieces to make a representation

Recalls 1-2 characters and events in a story that was recently read

Describes familiar objects without seeing them

Describes how and why things work or are done

Discusses how others’ feelings, attitudes, and beliefs are different from his own

Lies intentionally if she thinks the lie will keep her out of trouble

Enjoys group singing and dance

Examines non-realistic art and envisions what it could represent

Creates silly songs and dances

Tries to imitate rhythms

Uses tools with play dough (cookie cutters, rollers, scissors)

Uses glue, sparkly materials to make art projects

Begins coordinated, complex dramatic play among several peers

Acts out simple stories

Cooperative dramatic play with peers

Shows interest in being part of a group and sits in facilitated group for 20 minutes

Plays group games or activities without constant supervision

Plays simple board or card games with several children

Participates in circle time for 15-20 minutes

Preference for same sex peers

Knows the rules for home, school, and community

May ask embarrassing questions about differences observed in people (race, weight, disability)

Counts up to 10 and knows “how many” up to 5

Understands that the last number stated is the total

Counts on from a number if they count up to that number first

Instantly recognizes amount up to four and names the amount

Compares amounts in each of two sets by counting (up to 5 items)

Adds up to two sets of objects up to 5

Uses graphics to add and subtract small numbers

Write numbers

Identifies amounts of dissimilar items (small numbers)

Matches related items and determines if they are the same number

Knows to count to compare small amounts if only one attribute is involved (may be confused if objects are of different sizes)

Recites the days of the week

Length: Compares length or height of three objects by placing them side-by-side

Time: Knows today/ tomorrow, day/night

Copies simple repeating patterns

Recognizes a simple pattern (two different attributes)

Duplicates an ABAB pattern, but may need to create it next to the original

Fills in a missing element of a pattern

Names examples of objects, animals, foods, etc. in a class (e.g., fruits)

Matches a wide range of colors

Knows holidays and related weather or season

Knows how to classify, label, and sort familiar objects by a specific category (e.g., hard v. soft, large v. small, heavy v. light)

Recognizes and names variations of the circle, square, triangle, and rectangle

Matches combinations of shapes to each other

Combines two or more shapes to create a new shape or to represent an object in the environment

Creates a shape from toothpicks or similar items

Learns a simple route from a map placed in direct relation to the child’s space

Notices patterns, similarities, and differences in nature (bark on trees, veins in leaves)

Makes simple predictions (how far a stone can be thrown)

Aware of community helpers, recognizes and identifies

Time: Knows the time of day for daily activities

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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