North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Cognitive Development (CD)

Subdomain: Construction of Knowledge: Thinking and Reasoning

Goal: Children demonstrate the ability to think about their own thinking: reasoning, taking perspectives, and making decisions

Skill Progression: Thinking and reasoning

Age: 18-21 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 18-21 Months.

Play begins to reflect thoughts and feelings

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe the child engaged in dramatic play with dolls or zoo animals or other toys that might elicit emotions.

Elicitation Strategy

Observe what the child does spontaneously first. Ask questions if needed, “Why is your baby crying?”

Behavior Observed

The child may pretend to sleep himself or be nurturing to the doll. With the zoo animals, the child may make the animals roar and say they are mad. The lions and tigers may fight each other.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Help early childhood educators and parents understand that dramatic play allows young children to experiment with emotions or emotions they have witnessed in a safe environment. They can pretend to be different people to feel happy, sad, mad, or scared in a safe environment. Dramatic play is just emerging at this age, so early childhood educators parents should encourage it by providing props and materials and by not judging the actions or feelings the child performs in the play. In play children are learning how to control feelings. The adult can play a complementary role to help the child explore feelings.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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