North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Language Development and Communication (LDC)

Subdomain: Learning to Communicate

Goal: Children understand communications from others.

Skill Progression: Understand communication from others

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List of Skills by Age

1-2 Months

Distinguishes between parents’ voices and other sounds

Discriminates native language from a foreign language

2-4 Months

Discriminates between familiar and unfamiliar voices

4-6 Months

Searches for sounds/voices with his eyes

6-8 Months

Distinguishes friendly and angry talking

Responds to own name with head turn, eye contact, or smile

8-10 Months

Follows simple requests paired with gestures

Understands some frequently used words

10-12 Months

Recognizes and responds to up to 50 words in addition to sounds and gestures

Responds to “no”

Responds to “where is..?”

12-15 Months

Searches for objects named, but not present

Finds objects named from a group of different objects

Understands “where” questions (e.g., “Where is the blankie?")

15-18 Months

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

18-21 Months

Understands “what” questions

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

Understands some emotions words (happy, sad, mad)

21-24 Months

Understands labels for most common objects, animals, etc.

Understands a variety of action words (e.g., sleep, play, eat, etc.)

Responds to yes/no questions with head nod or shake (e.g., “Do you want juice?” may not nod “yes” until later)

24-27 Months

Understands vocabulary related to familiar items, people, and routines

Understands size (e.g., big, little)

27-30 Months

Follows two-step related directions

Identifies objects by function

Knows smaller body parts

Knows amount words (one, all)

30-33 Months

Understands basic spatial words (e.g., in, on, out, off)

33-36 Months

Understands descriptive words (e.g., hot, dirty, broken, wet)

Identifies colors

Understands spatial concepts (e.g., under, beside)

Understands categories

Knows gender

36-42 Months

Understands words for shapes, sizes, and position (in front of, behind, top, bottom)

Understands descriptive terms (e.g., hard, soft, rough, smooth)

Follows two-step unrelated directions

Understands “why” questions

42-48 Months

Understands opposites (e.g., long/short)

Understands basic time concepts (e.g., before/after; morning/ afternoon)

Understands wide variety of questions including “how” and “when” questions

Understands passive declarative sentences (e.g., “The cat was chased by the dog”)

48-54 Months

Understands basic number concepts

Understands vocabulary related to own experiences and culture

Understands time concepts related to days, months, holidays, etc.

54-60 Months

Understands “what happens if…?”

Understands terms related to a broad range of topics, including environmental features, math and science topics, community components, cultural differences, current events, etc.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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