North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Skills for ages 18-21 Months

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Language Development and Communication

Understands “what” questions

Understands some pronouns (my/mine, you, me)

Understands some emotions words (happy, sad, mad)

Attempts to converse with jargon and real words

Responds to “what” questions

Directs conversation primarily to self and adults

Responds to “What is…” questions

Occasionally requests clarification (“huh?”)

Speech may be less than 50% intelligible to unfamiliar persons

Produces consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) combinations, using consonant sound /p, b, m, n, t, d, h, w/

Additional research needed

Produces language to express refusal; “No” is common

Produces verbs

Produces two-word phrases or telegraphic speech (words imply a whole sentence)

Starts to construct actions and events by searching for needed props (e.g., spoon for bowl, driver for car)

Omits grammatical markers, such as “a” or “the”

Produces two-word utterances; produces telegraphic speech, using only key words (e.g., “Car go”)

Produces the following vocabulary: Agents (e.g., mama) Actions (e.g., run) Objects (e.g., cup) Recurrence (e.g., more) Cessation (e.g., stop) Disappearance (e.g., all gone)

Uses relational words to relate one word to another object or person to something else: Existence (this, more, all gone) Action relational (up, down, bye-bye) Location relational (where object is located) Possession relational (mine)

Points to pictures and says, “What’s that?”

Manipulates a variety of interactive books

“Reads” a book independently for several minutes

Shows empathy for characters or situations depicted in books

Makes associations across books

Notices print rather than just pictures in a book; may point to labels under pictures

Listens to songs and nursery rhymes and imitates words

Makes marks on paper with no organization

Experiments with vertical and horizontal straight lines-- alone, next to, or on top of other lines

Produces writing lines differently than drawing lines

Uses whole arm to make marks

Scribbles include horizontal and vertical movements

Repeats adult’s words and intonation

Cognitive Development

Uses real and pretend objects together functionally

Attempts to tell about remembered experiences using words, jargon, and gestures

Remembers action sequences with objects

Play begins to reflect thoughts and feelings

Follows the lead of others, doing what they do or following their directions

Decides what to do by what will be approved or disapproved of by adults

Remembers short action sequences

Moves, shifts, and combines objects in different ways

Listens to music, sings and dances

Discriminates loud and soft sounds

Makes circular marks on paper

Uses stamps to make a picture

Tries to imitate adult's drawing strokes, but without representational intent

Uses objects symbolically in dramatic play (pretends a block is food)

Constantly demands adult’s attention

Imitation and turn taking increases with peers

Knows where to put away toys in the home

Moves away from adults

Seeks play with siblings, peers, or other familiar persons

Play and toys may be gender stereotyped

Recognizes own clothing, toys, and personal belongings

Uses one-to-one correspondence when counting two objects

Demonstrates basic understanding of one-to-one correspondence, by putting one or more items into separate compartments

Knows “one more”

Looks at two sets of items with a large difference in amount and knows which has more

Nests 4 nesting blocks or bowls

Explores and identifies objects that are big/small, heavy/light, and tall/short, with assistance

Size: Nests objects (relates sizes)

Copies patterns using sounds or physical movements, with adult prompting and guidance

Makes collections of things that are alike in some way (toys with wheels)

Matches familiar objects (picks out socks from shirts)

Groups objects into two groups

Matches animal sounds to animals

With prompting and guidance, begins to slide, rotate, and flip objects to make them fit

Puts together two pieces to form a whole geometric figure

Knows locations (there, here) and puts things where they belong

Stacks 4 small blocks (interest in building tall tower)

Locates objects that are alike (rocks, flowers) and makes collections of objects that are alike in some way (leaves, grass, flowers)

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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