North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

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

Subdomain: Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal: Children identify and use common shapes and concepts about position during play and other activities.

Skill Progression: Composes geometric shapes

Age: 48-54 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 48-54 Months.

Builds, copies, and describes a shape

Situations for Observation of Skill

During center time, have children create art pictures from shapes. Have a variety of shape blocks, including different types of triangles and sizes of shapes. Play a game, “How many shapes can you make.” Give the child the appropriate number and variety of blocks.

Elicitation Strategy

Tell the child he gets to make a construction with the blocks using as many different shapes as he can. “You can also MAKE shapes from the blocks you have. See how many shapes you can make.” Demonstrate what you mean. “For example, I have blocks that are squares on top, and combined them to make a rectangle. So I have used two squares and made one rectangle.” After the constructions are finished, have the child describe the shapes in his structure and slowly take it apart as he counts the shapes he used and created.

Behavior Observed

Observe the child’s planning and experimentation as he works with the blocks. Note if the child only builds with simple shapes, uses symmetry, or experiments to create shapes of different blocks.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

When building, children often do not think about the combination of shapes, they just experiment to see what works or looks symmetrical or pleasing to them. The early childhood educator or parent can help children see the emerging shapes and relationships among parts of shapes as they build. Challenge children to combine shapes to make what is needed instead of just using square and rectangular blocks. “How could you use these two blocks to make the one you need?”

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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