The Executive Function sub-domain covers goals four through nine of the Idaho Early Learning Guidelines.
Scroll down to see the age group you are most interested in. Click on the goal to learn more about the goal's:
- developmental growth
- child indicators
- caregiver strategies
There is an option to download the information at the end of each goal. When you click the link you will be brought to a new page where you can download the goal as a PDF.
0 - 8 Months
Developmental Growth: Will respond to pleasurable experiences and repeat actions that stimulate pleasure.
Child Indicators: Seeks out and acquires desirable objects within reach. Wiggles, rolls, or crawls to get to a desired visible object. Shows interest in objects presented to them by kicking, swatting, reaching, cooing, or increased breathing. Shows interest in facial expressions and people (laughing, talking, crying).
Caregiver Strategies: Provide opportunities for baby to see others’ faces directly. Respond to baby’s attempt to reach and play with objects. Provide a variety of safe toys and objects within baby’s reach to help them explore. Play with baby while they show interest in objects (describe the object and their actions and your own actions). Talk to baby; sing songs and rhymes.
Developmental Growth: Briefly sustain attention to caregiver’s actions and objects in the environment.
Child Indicators: Attends to and holds the attention of caregivers (smiles, babbles, sustains eye-contact). Focuses on a face or object from a wide variety of stimuli (watches their own face in a mirror, stares at a rattle). Directs attention towards objects or people by reaching for, grasping, or staring at them. Examines a face, toy, or rattle for a brief period of time. Repeats simple motions or activities (swat at a mobile, consistently reaches for objects). Reaches for or moves body to resolve a frustration or challenge.
Caregiver Strategies: Encourage child to explore your face naming body parts. Play repetitious games with child (“So Big,” or other games from the family’s culture). Respond and play with child during the course of everyday routines and free time. Provide space and times where child can play or work at tasks without interruptions. Respond to child’s cue for stimulation (smile, talk, touch the child) and for the child’s cues for limiting stimulation.
Developmental Growth: Respond to and adapt to trusted people in their environment.
Child Indicators: Seeks responses from others. Depending on temperament; has more regulated sleeping, feeding, and waking cycles? Seeks and displays comfort with family members. Expresses temperamental indicators of regularity, intensity, persistence, sensitivity, adaptability, activity level, approaches to newness, mood, and distractibility. Begins to develop coping skills to help self-regulate.
Caregiver Strategies: Recognize and respond to individual temperaments and needs among children. Be responsive and nurturing to child’s needs rather than follow a strict schedule. Observe and respond to child’s cues. Support child and mediate for them in stressful situations. Strive to match care giving strategies with the needs of an individual child.
Developmental Growth: Interact with people and objects that are in their immediate range of motion.
Child Indicators: Repeats simple motions or activities (mouths objects, bangs things). Notices objects and people in their environment. Tracks people and objects by moving head. Looks where interesting object was seen or heard, after it disappears. Notices objects and people who move out of sight and return. Behaves in a consistent way to elicit desired response (kicks a mobile). Picks out nuances of visual and vocal cues. Baby turns head or makes noise when sees bottle or breast.
Caregiver Strategies: Introduce toys, songs, and rhymes to baby. Facilitate play when baby shows interest in objects. Incorporate baby’s body into songs and rhymes (lifting legs up and down with marching rhymes or playing “Pat-a-Cake”). Take baby outside and point out nature; allow baby to see and hear new things.Talk softly while feeding (e.g., “That milk feels warm on your tummy.” “You were hungry.”). Incorporate these strategies into every day routines. Respond to baby’s cues of interest or concern (baby turns head toward the sound of water running; show baby the faucet and turn the water on and then off saying, “on,” “off.”).Use a variety of sensory activities to respond to and stimulate the baby’s interest (let baby feel the softness of a washcloth and warmth of the water as you wash the baby’s face).
Developmental Growth: Begin to anticipate routines through relationships with people and objects.
Child Indicators: Tracks people and objects by moving head as an adult or object moves. Turns to familiar adult’s voice. Prefers familiar adults to strangers. Anticipates familiar events or routines (feel of changing pad means a diaper change, cradled near breast means feeding).Smiles and wiggles to engage and respond to family members. Memory is short term and based in emotional relationships and sensory experience. Behaves in consistent ways to elicit a response (kicks a mobile). Shows surprise and delight by games such as Peek-a-Boo, holding and examining objects, or pushing and pulling objects.
Caregiver Strategies: In child care settings, provide a primary attachment adult for each child. Interact with child in consistent and predictable ways. Provide child with toys and objects that respond to child’s actions (makes a sound when shaken, moves or changes when touched). Talk to child about what is happening. Consistently respond with words and/or touches when child cries.provide a variety of objects that address all the senses, for child to explore (materials of various textures, odors, tastes, etc.). Initiate simple games such as Peek-a-Boo or moving objects back and forth with each other. Respond to child’s initiation for interaction with people and objects.
Developmental Growth: Initiate, sustain, and replicate brief interactions and expressions.
Child Indicators: Looks at objects and faces. Responds to adult facial expressions with same expression (sticking out tongue, pursing lips). Mimics sounds. Stares, smiles at, or shows concern or puzzlement to a caregiver. Wiggles, kicks, increases rate of breathing in response to observation. Babbles in tandem with caregiver‘s sounds.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide time, action, and physical support. Initiate and respond in reciprocal interactions. Describe what the child is doing to the child. Exaggerate facial expressions. Hold facial expressions for a sustained time as you engage the baby.
6 - 18 Months
Developmental Growth: Carry out simple goals to obtain a desired object or activity.
Child Indicators: Uses two to three steps to solve a problem. Uses several trial and error attempts to solve a problem. Starts to use objects to solve problems
Caregiver Strategies: .Support child’s efforts for problem-solving and self-sufficiency. Provide safe experiences for child to explore indoor and outdoor environment. Place toys and books at child’s level. Expand on child’s ideas by describing what you see (e.g., “You are rolling the ball - can you roll it to me?”).
Developmental Growth: Focus on stimulating activities and return to them after distractions.
Child Indicators: Persists with a task or challenge (pulling up to a low table). Returns to a desired task even when distracted, (banging a toy, dumping a container, pulling up, or trying to walk). Remembers where favorite toys are stored. Focuses on the reader or storyteller for brief periods of time.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide child with opportunities to explore different characteristics of an object (a toy with several parts; a face with eyes, ears, nose, and mouth). Describe and name what child is looking at (e.g., “That’s a big boat!” “There is a horse.”). Observe child to learn which activities increase or sustain their interest. Facilitate play and activities between children. Provide opportunities for child to choose toys to play with and books to read. Provide opportunities for child to take reasonable and safe risks (stretch for an object beyond reach). Provide many opportunities for active exploration; discourage watching television or videos. Recognize child must repeat activities many times while learning new skills.
Developmental Growth: Explore familiar people, objects, and situations with varying levels of adult influence and assistance.
Child Indicators: Responds to modeling (can copy hand-clapping). Demonstrates responses to interactions; is engaged in trusting relationships. Visually and vocally checks in with caregiver; exhibits social referencing. Uses self-calming strategies and seeks trusted adult for coping. May test limits of safety-seeking information by looking toward caregiver.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide a variety of sensory experiences with a reassuring tone. Provide physical and emotional safety for child. Support child by mediating stressful situations through warmth and nurturing as child ventures further from the caregiver. Model consistent and loving care giving responses to support the relationship.
Developmental Growth: Sustain play with objects. Use trial and error experimentation.
Child Indicators: Throws, empties, dumps, gestures. Recognizes similarities and differences. Adjusts play that varies slightly (“Peek-a-Boo” with a variety of objects). Seeks person or object that moves out of sight. Experiments to see if similar objects will cause a similar response (shakes stuffed animal in the same way as a rattle to hear noise). Displays recognition and excitement about a toy or game from a previous day. Applies knowledge to new situations (bangs on a bucket as if it were a drum). Shows preference for specific objects.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide many and varied safe toys and objects for child to play and experiment with. Rotate toys and objects as child appears to lose interest in them. Sing songs, chant finger plays, and recite rhymes to child. Play music that includes rhythms and rhymes. Look at and talk about favorite picture books with child while they remain interested. Recognize child’s need for repetition as they learn new skills and add complexity to already learned skills.
Developmental Growth: Build on experiences and emotions to expand memory through routines and relationships.
Child Indicators: Shows attachment to primary caregivers/parents through preference or clinging to parents and familiar people. Object memory is short term and based on what is visible and accessible. Experiments to see if similar objects cause similar responses (shakes stuffed animal in the same way as a rattle to hear noise). Displays recognition and excitement about games or toys from the previous day. Applies knowledge to new situations (bangs on bucket as if it were a drum). Recognizes differences between familiar people and strangers. Realizes that objects exist when they are not seen for a short time. Anticipates the return of a face when playing Peek-a-Boo and the trajectory of a moving object. Looks for a hidden object after seeing it hidden/moved in two-to- three places (object permanence).Looks for a familiar person, toy, or pet, when asked. Uses transitional object to support transitions and separations (favorite toy or blanket).Greets people with “Hi.” Waves bye-bye when leaving.
Caregiver Strategies: Support closeness with caregiver/parent with hugs and attention. Provide opportunities for child to try same action on different objects (shake a rattle, shake a stuffed animal, shake a ball). Comment when child applies knowledge to new situations using descriptive language. Sing songs and recite chants with sequences, stories, and repetitive phrases. Organize toys in a certain way and ask child to copy (e.g. stack blocks or putting toy animal in barn).Play simple hide and search games using toys or objects.Watch for activities that occur regularly (when the food arrives for lunch). Display photos of child in familiar situations, doing familiar activities, and with family members. Point out aspects of the pictures. Create rituals for arrival time for the child, parent, and staff. Create “good-bye” rituals for the child, parent, and staff to facilitate separation issues at departure time.
Developmental Growth: Initiate, sustain, and replicate
Child Indicators: Waves bye-bye. Plays imitation games (clapping and marching, jumping to music). Prefers objects frequently used by caregiver (keys, cell phone). Offers objects to others (though they may quickly take the object back). Imitates actions from daily routines of the family or early childhood program (rocks a baby doll, puts on a hat, feed the caregiver).
Caregiver Strategies: Provide scripts and cues, especially during routines. Provide time, action, and physical support. Play games with imitation and/or copying action (e.g., “Hop like a …” or “Do what I do” or repeating sounds or gestures). Plan times for music and activities (marching, clapping, drumming). Play and repeat simple games (Hide and Seek, Chase). Provide safe common objects for play (bowl and spoon, baby dolls, and blankets).
16 - 38 Months
Developmental Growth: Carries out more complex goals using multiple strategies and pursues a larger range of activities with assistance.
Child Indicators: Uses many trial and error attempts at to solve problems. Starts to transfer problem- solving strategies across situations. Seeks adult’s help in getting an object or solving a problem. Sees the world primarily from their own perspective.
Caregiver Strategies: Setup a safe physical environment for child to explore, try, and have successes. Allow enough time for toddlers to try activities and to explore, including the natural world. Provide descriptions to give child more information (e.g., “You found a caterpillar! Look how it moves. Where do you think it is going?”).
Developmental Growth: Maintain attention and extend favorite activities by repeating them frequently
Child Indicators: Shows interest in favorite activities over and over again. Persists in the face of difficulty and seeks assistance to complete difficult tasks. Completes simple projects (three- to-five-piece puzzles, can stack blocks on top of one another). Continues to try a difficult task for a brief period of time (can build a block structure for 3 to 5 minutes). Insists on some choices (what to wear, completing a project). Seeks and accepts assistance when encountering a problem. Listens and participates in story time (turning pages of book or using hand motions, such as claps).
Caregiver Strategies: Provide uninterrupted time for child to engage in sustained activities. Respond to child’s requests for assistance. Limit environmental distractions to help child sustain attention to activities (turn television off while child plays in room). Talk with child about their activities using open-ended questions (e.g., “How did you do that?” “Tell me more.”). Try new tasks with child and describe task, step-by-step. Provide and support child’s choices during daily activities (choosing a book or toy; or deciding between two shirts to wear). Play games requiring active inhibition or require child to start/stop, slow down/speed up or wait for enticing action (e.g. Ring Around the Rosie, Red Light Green Light, Freeze Dance or Musical Statues). Help child feel safe and capable of trying something new or taking reasonable risks in a variety of settings. Direct concerns about child’s frequent unresolved frustration to a medical or developmental expert (in partnership with the family).
Developmental Growth: Begin to take some risks exploring familiar people, objects, and situations with differing needs for adult assistance. Are more capable of coping with stressful situations
Child Indicators: Demonstrates open, uninhabited self-expression. Develops a relaxed rhythm with caregivers in daily routines. Responds to externally-driven interactions, relationships, and inhibitions. Seeks information from others through observation and relationships. Begins to regulate strong emotional expression (tantrums, acting impulsively). Demonstrates some coping skills in the face of adversity.
Caregiver Strategies: Start to recognize child's learning, coping, and reactive styles. Help child to identify (label) their emotions and those of others (emotional scaffolding).Model appropriate behaviors and responses for child. Model language, labels, feelings, thoughts, and experiences for child. Support child's learning to adapt by mediating stressful situations.
Developmental Growth: Expand on previous learning to evoke new experiences with people and objects in their familiar environment
Child Indicators: Enjoys repetition, stories, scripts, rhymes, and songs. Is egocentric and has favorite objects that are hard to share. Substitutes similar objects (stacks boxes like blocks). Realizes certain behaviors can precede events (If mom puts the pot on the stove, she is fixing something to eat, or if she puts her coat on, she is leaving.). Alters behavior based on a past event and builds on it (this didn’t work; I’ll try this instead). Relates an experience today to one that happened in the past (don’t go near the fence where the big dog lives).
Caregiver Strategies: Provide many and varied safe toys and objects for child to play with. In groups, ensure that there are enough duplicates to avoid undue frustration for children. Allow a favorite object that the child does not have to share (transitional object, blanket, or stuffed animal). Explain what is going to happen next during transition. Notice and articulate for child when they express a fear or look for a repeat experience. Read familiar books and sing familiar rhymes and songs. Read favorite book repeatedly. Rotate toys as child appears to lose interest. Later, re-introduce the toy to spark renewed interest. Provide ample time for free play with toys and objects. Provide experiences with nature and the outdoors that provide ever-changing objects and environments.
Developmental Growth: Begin to use prior relationships and experiences to expand understanding and problem-solving.
Child Indicators: Generalizes actions to similar objects (stacks boxes like blocks). Realizes that behaviors can precede events (if mom puts a pot on the stove, she is going to cook something to eat; when mom puts on her coat, she is leaving). Anticipates separation and reunion. Alters behavior based on a past event and builds on it (I did this and it didn’t work, so I will do this instead.). Relates an experience today to one that happened in the past (hand washing prior to mealtime). Looks in several places for a desired object, or when asked to find an object (e.g., “Go see if your other shoe is under your bed.”). Enjoys simple hide-and-seek games. Begins to understand that a parent goes away to work but will come home. May over generalize terms such as hot/cold/sweet/sour/big/old based on limited experiences. Talks to self, saying words repetitively (referred to as rehearsal; where child tries out putting thoughts into words).
Caregiver Strategies: Think out loud and talk about ideas with child using descriptive language (e.g., “You remembered where the puzzle piece fits.”). Invite child to share thoughts and ideas about the world around him/her. Provide materials that are similar but produce different results (crayons, markers, paint). Narrate child’s play by describing what you see and hear. Demonstrate, explain, and provide opportunities for child to think about and avoid negative or problem situations. Play safe, simple, hiding and finding games. Incorporate storytelling into every day routines (at naptime tell child individual stories about their morning, what they did, what happened, etc.). Offer a window where child can watch family members arrive and depart. Help child understand the passing of time by describing a sequence of events (we get up from our nap, have a snack, play on the playground, then mommy comes to get you.). Offer sensory experiences paired with descriptive vocabulary (e.g., “The snow is cold.” “The rain is cool.” “The soup is warm.” “The book is big.” “The door is tall.” “Your dad is tall.”).
Developmental Growth: Sustain and replicate interactions and expressions with more sequences and complexity. Begin foundational symbolic play.
Child Indicators: Imitates a single action from a finger play dance movement. Demonstrates a sequence of behavior after observing another child or adult. Imitates parent or caregiver’s familiar behavior or gestures (pulls clothes from dryer, puts hands on hips, strikes a familiar pose). Uses imitation, which leads to functional play (pouring water in the bathtub or pretending to hammer nails in the sandbox).
Caregiver Strategies: Provide tools, props, and opportunities for imitative tasks and behavior. Model placing toys in a certain way and ask the child to copy (e.g. stack blocks or putting toy animal in barn). Chant finger plays, recite rhymes, and sing songs with hand gestures. Play song games with movement (e.g. I’m a little Teapot, Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, or Head, Shoulder, knees and Toes). Play simple imitation games (e.g. Follow the Leader or Do What I Do). Provide everyday tasks for toddlers to do (set the table, put blocks in a tub for cleanup). Support play with open-ended materials (cups, measuring spoons, pitchers, dolls).
36 - 60 Months
Developmental Growth: Develop schemas for how things work and attempt more complex tasks requiring problem- solving strategies.
Child Indicators: Waits briefly for desired object or turn and knows they will have a turn. Develops analogical thinking; schemas for what has worked and what to try. Increases intentional, goal directed activities.
Caregiver Strategies: Help child understand sequences (e.g., “What do we do first?”). Provide a varied set of props, toys, and materials to encourage pretend play. Include realistic props to encourage role-play. Provide open-ended loose parts for children to re-purpose and create their own props. Assist child in explaining plans and the outcomes of plans. Extend child's explanations and stories with open-ended questions. Encourage child to look at the possible outcomes of plans
Developmental Growth: Use trial and error skills and attention for more complex tasks.
Child Indicators: Sustains focus on tasks of interest to them, when few distractions exist. Remains engaged in an activity for at least 5 to 10 minutes, much of the time. Completes favorite tasks repeatedly. Manages tasks with sequences of three to four steps. Persists in trying to complete a task after previous attempts have failed (completes a puzzle, builds a tower).Uses at least two different strategies to solve a problem. Uses self-talk to guide action when solving a problem. Participates in basic routines of daily living (meal time, circle time, or nap routines). Finds hidden object by searching in more than one place.
Caregiver Strategies: Be available and respond when child encounters problems, without being intrusive. Comment positively on child’s persistence and concentration, when appropriate. Provide opportunities for physical and mental challenge (e.g. climbing structures, balance beams, complex puzzles, constructing with intricate manipulatives, and classification activities). Play simple board games that require taking turns (e.g. Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Memory, Hoot Owl Hoot, or Feed the Woozle). Try child’s suggested interventions when problems are encountered; talk with them about what worked and what did not. Ask what child would like to try first when solving problems. Help child focus attention (e.g., “Look at this!” “See the picture?” “Look at the orange cat.”). Change your voice, point to pictures, ask questions, and repeat words. Help child stay on task, break activity into manageable pieces, give visual and spoken cues, and help them return to tasks.Modify expectations for persistence to meet individual variations for temperament, age, stage, or ability.
Developmental Growth: Display different levels of initiative and confidence in exploring a wider variety of social and physical settings. Can recognize emotional states in themselves and others and problem solve around emotional issues, with adult assistance.
Child Indicators: Chooses personal strategies to control emotional responses. Seeks shared experiences. Begins to allow peers to impact how they see themselves. Explains and problem-solves issues of emotion (label emotions of self and others). Can observe and respond to a friend or family members’ ideas, likes, or dislikes.
Caregiver Strategies: Recognize child’s increasing range of complexity in emotional expressions and processing. Support child's learning to adapt by mediating stressful situations for them. Model language, labels, feelings, thoughts, and experiences for child. Continue to respond to child’s individual temperament traits to support interactions and transitions.
Developmental Growth: Take more risks by extending previous learning to the exploration of new settings, people, and objects.
Child Indicators: Plays beside others and uses common materials. Begins to plan play themes corporately with others. Plays with shared meaning and evolving scripts. Shows interest by asking about new things and people around them. Seeks out and engages in new experiences and with toys that are unfamiliar. Tells others about events that happened in the past. Represents things in the environment with available materials; moving from simple to complex representations. Thinks out loud and talks themselves through a situation. Works out problems mentally or remembers past experience as well as using trial and error.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide many and varied safe toys and activities for children to play with alone and in adult- mediated groups. Talk with child about what they have seen, heard, and done. Rotate toys as child appears to lose interest. Later, reintroduce toy to spark renewed interest. Provide opportunities for child to explore nature and the outdoors. Go on field trips and invite experts in to share their knowledge. Provide time for and materials to process experiences and information. Help child remember experiences with photos, mementoes, found objects, and written stories. Ask open-ended questions to encourage reflection (e.g., “What if?” “How else…?”). Expose child to differences in people and clarify understanding. Interpret a peer’s intentions or point of view as part of conflict resolution.
Developmental Growth: Connect current behavior and past experience to new situations, relationships, and problem-solving.
Child Indicators: Explains events that happened in the past. Represents things in environment with available materials; moving from simple to complex representations (recreate picture of a house, build road with blocks, or make a tree with modeling clay). Thinks out loud and talks themselves through a situation. Works out problems using information from prior experiences rather than through trial and error. Tells a story or recounts an event from photographs of self and others (e.g., “We made a big tent with boxes and blankets.”). Points to objects that are out of place. Points out objects in complex pictures and puzzles. Completes a sequence of three to six pictures or pieces of a sequence puzzle. Sings and chants along with repetitive lines in songs, poems, and stories. Uses words for yesterday, today, and tomorrow even though the timing may be incorrect. Tells others about their acquaintances and experiences without considering the other person’s lack of knowledge with the topic or person.
Caregiver Strategies: Engage child about what he/she has seen, heard, or done. Provide child with time to respond in conversation where they want to offer experiences and information. Help child remember experiences using photographs, mementos, and re-told stories. Ask open-ended questions that encourage reflection (e.g., “What if...?” “How else could you do this?”). Provide play interactions with other children and props that elicit previous experiences. Use photos to prompt routines such as hand washing, brushing teeth, and putting away toys. Encourage children to tell you stories. Write stories down to read with the child. Sing songs and tell/read stories with repeating lines or sequences of activities. Play “remember when” games, family stories. Play name word games and sing name songs to help children know one another’s names. Rotate toys and activities based on input from children and their comments about past experiences.
Developmental Growth: Use imitation as a foundation for symbolic play and sequencing.
Child Indicators: Imitates sequences of action (songs with gestures, movement games). Uses phrases or plays out plots from favorite books or movies. Sings and gestures to songs with both actions and words (Wheels on the Bus, folk songs with gestures).
Caregiver Strategies: Encourage child to participate in everyday tasks (stirring, pouring, and wiping up). Incorporate songs with movement into the daily schedule. Use longer action songs with sequences of motions (use a slow pace as children first learn to do both words and actions. Use picture cards to help child see actions they can imitate.
60 Months - Kindergarten
Developmental Growth: Anticipate activities and sustain activity using rules of the game and negotiation.
Child Indicators: Knows that rules and negotiation will help them get a turn in a group of children. Wants others to follow rules of games. Anticipates an activity (after class, a friend comes to play, and we will build with blocks and play outside). Uses narratives to plan, review, and fantasize. Uses intentional, goal directed activities. Displays a willingness to try increasingly complex tasks.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide many and varies activities and materials where child makes choices within boundaries. Offer environments where child can succeed independently. Provide time for child to play with and complete activities of their choosing. Plan an environment where child can make choices within boundaries.
Developmental Growth: Maintain interest in activities and persist through challenges to complete project. Can complete projects in cooperation with peers or adults.
Child Indicators: Maintains interest in a project or activity until finished, even over multiple days. Sets goals and follows through on plans, with assistance. Sustains attention while peers and adults are the focus of attention (pays attention during storytelling or “show and tell”). Works on a task over a period of time, leaving and returning to it (block structure). Shifts attention back to the activity at hand after being distracted. Focuses on projects despite distractions. Accepts reasonable challenges and continues through frustration. Cooperates with a peer or adult on a task.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide opportunities for child to set and pursue goals. Plan projects for child to work on over time (planting seeds and nurturing them to watch them grow). Play games that require selective response and inhibition (e.g. Mother May I?, What Time is it Mr. Fox?, and Says).Play card games and board games (e.g. Concentration, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, or Uno).Provide opportunities for child to take on activities and responsibilities that last more than one day (feeding the gerbil this week). Provide adequate time and support for child to complete increasingly complex games or tasks. Adapt expectations for persistence to meet the differing needs of child requiring modification.
Developmental Growth: Can recognize and identify a wider variety of emotions. They can better interpret complex emotional states and recover more easily from strong emotions, with adult assistance.
Child Indicators: Begin to understand there is a variety of expressions and reactions to shared experiences (de-centering). Recover from strong emotions.
Caregiver Strategies: Recognize child's increasing level of complexity in emotional expressions and processing. Support child by mediating stressful situations and prompting child to reflect upon and interpret their distress.
Developmental Growth: Consider multiple approaches to new situations and tasks. Cooperate with peers and adults to assess new situations and tasks.
Child Indicators: Engages in activities and solve problems cooperatively. Uses a variety of methods to express thoughts and ideas (discussions, art activities). Demonstrates long-term memory of meaningful events and interesting ideas. Recognizes others’ feelings and begins to consider them in problem-solving. Applies past learning to new activities and object through trial and error testing out of hypotheses. Shows interest in and asks many questions about new things and people. Desires to solve problems on their own. Prefers to choose activities and are self-sufficient in following through with the choice.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide many and varied toys and activities for children to play with in groups and on their own. Make materials accessible for self-sufficiency, free choice, and self-expression. Provide time for child to engage in meaningful play. Talk with child about what has been seen, heard, or done. Provide opportunities to recall past experiences in planning new activities and setting goals.Provide time to process experiences and information. Ask open-ended questions to encourage reflection. Help child recognize emotions in their peers and talk through conflicts. Provide opportunities to engage group activities (science and cooking projects). Expose child to different cultural traditions. Support child with special needs who may need clarification of others’ motives and intentions.
Developmental Growth: Mediate current behavior, exploration, and problem-solving by remembering past experiences.
Child Indicators: Uses a variety of methods to express thoughts and ideas discussion, art activities). Demonstrates memory of meaningful events and interesting ideas using explanations and creative expression. Describes or acts out a memory of a situation or action. Seeks information for further understanding. Uses multiple sources of information to complete projects and acquire new information, with assistance. Plans activities and sets goals based on past experience. Demonstrates beginning understanding of what others are thinking, their intentions, or motivations. Collects and categorizes objects from field trips or travels (rocks, shells, photos). Tells stories about the past or future and elaborates on stories told by others.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide opportunities for child to express thoughts through writing, speaking, or creative arts. Provide opportunities for child to recall past experiences in planning new activities and setting new goals. Provide opportunities for child to share the lessons learned from his/her experiences (story time). Play guessing games (e.g. I Spy, 20 Questions, or What’s inside?). Support children who may have difficulty understanding others’ motives and intentions with adult- mediated negotiations and conflict resolution strategies. Help child to understand children’s differing actions, and what they might represent or mean. Provide display space for collected items and encourage dictated labels or stories to explain significance. Ask about a certain trip or event, what happened, what came first, and what might happen next. Maintain portfolios of child’s work so they can see past and present examples of their work. Encourage child to choose items to put in their portfolios. Encourage child to hypothesize and carry out experiments and document results (water, sand, natural environmental relationships).
Developmental Growth: Use fantasy and pretend play more elaborately and use more perspective taking and experimentation with cultural roles and competencies in cooperation with others.
Child Indicators: Engages extensively in pretend role-play with peers and alone with a variety of objects. Narrates their play and speaks for dolls and other imagined people, taking on several roles in play. Likes games or songs with imitation (“Simon Says”).
Caregiver Strategies: Provide many and varied experiences for concerts, art, and theatre shows. Offer a wide variety of props, resources, and tools for making music, art, and drama. Provide many and varied pretend play materials, props, and dress- up clothes). Provide opportunities to see and imitate different kinds of work. Provide real and pretend activities involving work that adults do (cooking, cleaning, raking leaves).
Grades 1 - 3
Developmental Growth: Develop plans for complex tasks and complete them autonomously, seeking adult and peer feedback.
Child Indicators: Plans and carries out activities within structured and unstructured settings, with adult and peer feedback. Uses hypothesizing and observation to solve problems and create solutions. Uses if/then and trial and error thinking to address problem- solving and creating projects or play themes. Seek feedback from adults and peers. Uses results of trial and error and reflection to revise plans without undue stress.
Caregiver Strategies: Acknowledge individual ways of learning. Create an environment that allows for a range of experiences that are simple to complex. Provide opportunities to explore many perspectives, including cultural perspectives. Allow child to problem solve for themselves and with peers. Expand or elaborate with child as they need help. Introduce new props, concepts, and activities to stretch skills. Assist child in documenting their plans and results (pictures, graphs, stories, notebooks).
Developmental Growth: Solve problems based on previous experience that allows for different strategies to sustain and complete difficult problems.
Child Indicators: Adapts in response to a difficult problem. Develops models for problem- solving based on prior experience. Tries variations on previous schema for problem-solving.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide sufficient time for closure and transition between projects. Recognize child's ability to adapt problem-solving techniques. Provide many and varied opportunities for child to use their own strategies to pursue goals, with adult assistance. Provide opportunities for child to work on projects in peer groups. Provide activities with different levels of complexity and varying time requirements.
Developmental Growth: Can better take the perspective of others and can support others appropriately. Negotiate within a group process that involves diverse ideas.
Child Indicators: Act on behalf of others action related to perspective taking. Are competent negotiators in a group process that involves diverse ideas. Show the ability to choose compatible playmates.
Caregiver Strategies: Allow child to work out conflicts and problems. Provide support, as needed, and reflection and debriefing to expand understanding. Provide alternative perspectives and options for future problem-solving. Provide reassurance and safety for child in stressful situations. Be responsive to the individual child’s cares and needs.
Developmental Growth: Use complex mental models of how the world works and increased perspective-taking skills; resulting in strategic problem-solving. Increasingly use conventions and rules to interpret new situations.
Child Indicators: Can have multiple perspectives, including those of others. Can consider the past, present, and future and reason about what might happen. Can imagine multiple solutions. Uses multiple sources of information for further understanding. Can consider more than one element of something at the same time. Can generalize learning and use imagination in new settings and with new activities (effective problem-solving). Self-sufficient in problem-solving though peer and adult help is often needed. Generalizes skills used in previous situations to solve new problems.
Caregiver Strategies: Provide many opportunities for child to explore more complex subjects and processes. Allow children to work in groups to solve problems. Allow child to come up with own solutions and to consider multiple solutions. Question child to help them see multiple solutions and ask child to talk about their thought process. Acknowledge child's imagination and abilities. Help child resolve conflicts with peers on their own. Provide opportunities for child to explore different cultures and new activities. Provide opportunities for hands- on learning of different processes (building, cooking, art, music, etc.).
Developmental Growth: Interpret past behavior through conventions and current experience.
Child Indicators: Usually considers what others are thinking, their intentions, or motivations. Can recall at will. Plans activities and sets goals based on past experience. Uses concepts of time, including functional vocabulary. Sequences events and objects, using both forward and backward sequencing. Use conventional methods of measuring time to aid memory. Uses a wide vocabulary to facilitate the encoding/ retrieving of memory. Chooses objects/documents for a journal or portfolio of special events or artwork. Uses “What happened when?” and “What if” thinking to solve problems and gain information.
Caregiver Strategies: Support child's autonomous exploration. Provide many and varied opportunities to use concepts about time, including vocabulary. Involve child in planning experiments and selecting themes and field trips. Encourage child to draw on past experience to set goals and find solutions to problems. Encourage child to work with groups and to play games where rules, negotiation, and conflict resolution demand problem-solving. Introduce familiar and unfamiliar cultural experiences and customs. Read to child using books with increasing complexity. Encourage journals, photos, drawings, and collections to document travels or interests. Provide access to fiction and nonfiction books and resources for concept development and information searches.
Developmental Growth: Imitate, explain, and add to behaviors they observe.
Child Indicators: Creates word play and rhymes. Elicits adults’ explanations of what they are doing (as authorities) rather than simply imitating them. Imagines themselves in different roles and expands the roles beyond what they have directly observed.
Caregiver Strategies: Expose child to many and varied adult models and roles (stories, visitors, field trips). Provide opportunities for child to re-enact historical events or retell stories. Provide engaging literature rich with word play, rhymes, and contradictions. Provide many and varied activities that draw on child's imagination (musical experience, literature, science, nature).