North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Skills for ages 15-18 Months

Click on a skill below for information about observing the skill, elicting the skill, and interventions related to the skill.
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Health and Physical Development

Supine/Prone established

Climbs into adult chair to sit or stand up

Picks up a toy from the floor while standing by squatting down at the knees, getting the toy, then standing back up

Walks with legs closer together

Throws underhand while sitting

Maneuvers low climbers and baby slides

Walks sideways

Walks while pulling or pushing toys

Begins to run stiffly, but falls easily

Walks into a ball to try to kick it

Makes rocking boat “go”

Skills combined into Reach/Grasp/Release

Reach: Reaches with lead and and assist hands

Small objects transferred from hand to hand, rather than palm to fingers

Holds crayon using fisted grasp

Reach: Alternates reach with first one hand, then the other

Grasp: Holds crayon using fisted grasp

Increasing strength and differentiation of use of both sides of the hand allows use of tools, such as a mallet

Stacks small items

Spontaneously scribbles on paper or other surface

Makes random marks in different directions

Uses fisted grasp on spoon

Tries to put shoes on, usually gets half way

Holds toothbrush with help

Indicates wetness by actions

Feeds self with spoon, turns in mouth, spilling

Minimal loss of food during chewing

Eats most meats and raw vegetables

Chews with mouth closed

Lifts cup to mouth with one hand, may tip or drop cup

Helps with taking off coat

Lifts foot for adult to put on pants or shoe

Unties shoes

Washes hands with soap with help and direction

Dries hands with help

Brings comb to hair

Indicates discomfort when soiled

Sits on the toilet for one minute alone

Visits the bathroom with adults and watches them

: Plays with toilet paper, flushing, and washing hands

Walks up stairs with one hand held

Language Development and Communication

Identifies objects named in pictures by pointing

Points to at least 3 body parts

Follows single step directions

Understands that a questioning intonation implies a response is needed

Uses gestures and/or words for social interaction or to tell others what to do (e.g., blows kisses, fingers to lips for “shhh”, shrugs shoulders) approximately two times per minute

Produces jargon

Repeats words heard in conversations

Responds to requests for clarification (e.g., “huh,” “what?”)

Points to request actions or information

Uses single words with intonation to request actions (e.g., “up”)

Attempts to combine consonants and vowels into words

Reduces consonants (“boo” for “blue”)

Final consonant deletion evident (“be” for “bed”)

Eliminates some initial consonants

Accurately imitates some words

Uses commands ("Stop it" "Don't")

Protects own things (“Mine”)

Pretends to sleep, eat, etc. with actions directed toward self

Incorporates familiar objects that adults have used into play (e.g., phone, comb, wash cloth, etc.)

Produces primarily nouns

Produces holophrastic speech (i.e., one word may mean many things)

Produces mostly nouns, including different types of labels (e.g., names of objects, family members, pets, activities, etc.)

Generalizes nouns to other similar objects

Produces a few verbs (e.g., kiss, kick, open, sleep)

Uses some descriptive words (e.g., cold, full, all gone, broken, some, more)

Uses positional words (e.g., down, up)

Carries a book around while walking

Holds a book open to look at it independently

Gets a book and gives it to the adult to read

Shows familiarity with text by saying words associated with a picture

Chooses books for adult to read by recognizing the picture on cover

Imitates animal sounds

Spontaneously scribbles on paper (or other surface) - no understanding of true writing

Holds crayon in fist

Imitates adult’s scribbles

Cognitive Development

Uses a variety of objects together in different ways in trial-and-error

Recognizes and identifies familiar places and pictures of objects and people by pointing

Reflects thinking in problem solving with toys

Represents self and others in dramatic play

Makes decisions about activities and sequences of actions within activities

Imitate sounds, words, and movements

Pays attention to details of objects and people

Dances in different directions and in circles

Makes random scribbles with crayon or marker, begins to use fingers in grasp some of the time

Pretends to sleep, eat, talk on phone (Auto-symbolic play)

Parallel play with peers

Interacts with new adults and children

Vocalizes to parents from a distance

Uses words “mama” and “dada” and maybe names of family members

Stares longer at persons of another race (recognizes difference)

Approaches other children (recognizes similarity in size, faces, and play preferences)

Knows a few random numbers

Recites numbers with no meaning

Stacks three or four blocks

Size: Compares sizes

Time: Associates objects with events that occur (coat on is followed by going out)

Imitates patterns of movement and singing

Matches objects

Knows body parts

Sorts objects into one group

Places square in a puzzle

Puts together a simple inset puzzle when pieces show whole objects beneath the piece (banana, orange, etc.)

Uses spatial concepts up/down

Gets an object from another room

Turns a familiar picture or book right-side up

Explores the characteristics of animals, plants (pets the cat, pulls a flower petal)

Varies behaviors to see what the results will be (splashes in water)

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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