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: Recognizes geometric shapes

Age: 12-15 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 12-15 Months.

Places circle in puzzle

Situations for Observation of Skill

During playtime provide a simple shape puzzle and stacking rings and introduce them to the child, so she wants to explore them.

Elicitation Strategy

No elicitation needed if the child spontaneously plays with both toys. If not the adult can place the toy in front of the child and hand her the circle puzzle piece or a ring for the stacking toy. The adult can also demonstrate by placing a puzzle piece (not the circle) or a ring.

Behavior Observed

The child will understand that a piece can go in a puzzle or a ring on a post, although perhaps not accurately. The circle requires no manipulation, so is the easiest.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Help early childhood educators and parents understand that the simple puzzles and stacking toys have the purpose of teaching children spatial relations, fine motor skills, and shapes. They can help the child by talking about the characteristics (shapes, sizes, position, etc.) and by taking turns in play with the toys. This provides a model for what to do with the pieces.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

©2015 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit