North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Emotional and Social Development (ESD)

Subdomain: Learning About Feelings

Goal: Children identify, manage, and express their feelings.

Skill Progression: Emotional expression

Age: 15-18 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 15-18 Months.

Demonstrates exaggerated facial expression as a game to get a response from an adult

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe during adult-child playful interactions.

Elicitation Strategy

Encourage the adult to engage in “silly” play, dancing, singing, and rough-housing. When the child is excited about performing, introduce funny faces, such as sticking out the tongue, puckering the lips, or making exaggerated emotional expressions.

Behavior Observed

The child is starting to show off and loves making people laugh. The child will try to imitate the adult’s expressions. This ability demonstrates that the child is gaining the ability to control her behaviors and emotions.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Silliness is fun. Explain to parents how children learn from observation and imitation. Practice involving turn-taking with the face, voice, and body parts supports the child learning to control actions and behaviors.

 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