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: Spatial understanding

Age: 48-54 Months

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

Uses positional words (behind, in front of, beside) to describe the location of an object

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.

Elicitation Strategy

Ask the child to describe how she created a specific shape with blocks. For example, “Tell me how you made your structure. What did you do first? Tell me what you were thinking.” The adult can prompt use of spatial concepts, as well. “What would you have if you put this rectangle beside that rectangle?” “This half circle inside that crescent?”

Behavior Observed

Listen to how the child describes building her structure. Note the positional, directional, and relational vocabulary used and understood.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

When early childhood educators and parents ask children to explain their thinking and sequencing of actions, they can not only evaluate the final result, but also the thinking processes that went into the construction. If the child says, “I put this here. Then I put this one there…” encourage the child to use more specific terms. “Is that beside or on top?” The adult can also expand vocabulary. “Yes it is next to the block. That is also called beside.”

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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