North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

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

Subdomain: Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal: Children identify and use common shapes and concepts about position during play and other activities.

Skill Progression: Composes geometric shapes

Age: 36-42 Months

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Builds three-dimensional structures using one type of item (e.g., a cube) and/or multiple types of items (e.g., a rectangular prism, cube and arches)

Situations for Observation of Skill

Have a variety of shape blocks. Ask the child what she wants to build. Provide suggestions if needed (e.g., an airport, farm, zoo, town, etc.). Play with the child as a play partner.

Elicitation Strategy

Add on to what the child is building to suggest new ideas that might require different shapes. “I need a top for my window.” “What blocks do we need to build a tower?”

Behavior Observed

The child will build in all directions, even if there is no representational intent.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Children at this level are experimenting with space in their constructions. Encourage parents to help children explore the options with blocks or other materials from around the home. Canned foods can be stacked, lined up, etc. Empty boxes can become blocks. Experimenting with real objects helps children translate what they learn from blocks to the real world.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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