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

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List of Skills by Age

1-2 Months

Demonstrates a range of basic emotions, including interest, distress, disgust

2-4 Months

Smiles with joy in face-to-face interaction

Objects when play is interrupted with negative vocalizations and facial expression

4-6 Months

Demonstrates emotions by making sounds of pleasure and displeasure combined with facial expressions

Demonstrates anger and wariness

6-8 Months

Demonstrates a variety of emotions, including sadness, anger, disgust, worry, fear, and curiosity

8-10 Months

Emotions expand to include surprise, shyness, fear of strangers, and intense concentration during problem solving

10-12 Months

Demonstrates social referencing by looking to adult to see how she should feel

12-15 Months

Demonstrates recognition that his action was not acceptable (showing guilt)

15-18 Months

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

18-21 Months

Demonstrates embarrassment and pride, smiles when engaged in a joint activity with adult

21-24 Months

Talks about emotions (happy, mad) and states (tired, hungry)

24-27 Months

Extensive emotional vocabulary, but still may hit or bite to express anger or frustration

27-30 Months

Produces complex (but subtle) facial expressions, depicting doubt, worry, confusion, exhilaration, and joy

30-33 Months

Talks about the emotions of others and the cause of their emotions

33-36 Months

Talks about past and future feelings as well as the causes and consequences of feelings

36-42 Months

Full range of emotions evident including envy, pity, modesty, and shame

42-48 Months

Exhibits jealousy and anger at others, but also shows silliness to get others to laugh

48-54 Months

Recognizes that all feelings are acceptable, but not all behaviors are acceptable

54-60 Months

Feelings easily “hurt” by others saying or doing something that offends him

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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