North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

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

Subdomain: Scientific Exploration and Knowledge

Goal: Children observe and describe characteristics of living things and the physical world

Skill Progression: Observe and describe characteristics of living things and the physical world

Age: 42-48 Months

You may choose a different domain, go back, or click on a skill below for more information.

Makes simple predictions (how far a stone can be thrown)

Situations for Observation of Skill

Go to the park or on a nature walk. Conduct experiments in nature.

Elicitation Strategy

Ask questions to encourage the child to make a prediction (e.g., “What do you think will happen to this stick if I drop in in the creek?”)

Behavior Observed

The child is able to apply principles she has learned to what is seen in nature (e.g., sticks float, rocks sink, squirrels climb trees, etc.).

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Talking about nature teaches children to be interested in science. Early childhood educators and parents can talk about the clouds and weather, look at the moon and stars at night, search for birds and insects in the yard or park, and so on. Encourage parents to take nature walks, visit the zoo or natural history museum, go on a field trip for pumpkins or picking berries, visit a petting zoo, and so on. Talk about similarities and differences, categories of things, why certain events occur, etc.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

©2015 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit