top of page

Early Childhood Development

Newborn Baby Sleeping
Girl Coloring
Diverse Kindergarten

Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Stages of Development





















Key Developmental Characteristics of the Early Childhood Stages


Infancy Stage:

  • The need to build  trust and secure relationship with  the primary caregiver

  • The basic needs of care, love, comfort, attention, nutrition as children at this stage are reliant on others

  • Cries to signal need and discomfort 


Toddler Stage: 

  • Language development

  • Physical development and mobility

  • Exploration and seeking independence

  • Strong and multiple attachments

  • Sense of self as a ‘Me’ being

  • Self-absorption (Mine)

  • Heighten separation anxiety due to strong attachment to primary caregivers

  • Short attention span

  • Defiant behavior (‘no’)

Preschool Stage:

  • More structured language

  • Cooperative play

  • Heightened exploration

  • Seeks objectivity with ‘why’ questions

  • Role modeling adult

  • Simple project completion

  • Defiant behavior (stand my ground non-verbal posture and or defiant ‘why’ questions)

  • Group rules awareness

Stages of Development 3A.png
Kids in Slide
Playing with Animals
Crib Mobile
Art Class
Kids in Preschool
Brothers Playing
Play is the Work of the Child”-  Dr. Maria Montessori

When are children most happy? 

They are at their best beaming with smiles, laughter, and delight when playing, running around, exploring toys, sand, water, and other play objects and situations. 

A child through play can naturally reveal his/her inner world, interest, and capabilities, which helps educators understand the child better and engage and provide support in an individualized manner. Lev Vygotsky (early childhood theorist) bolstered this fact when he stated that, “A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that will tomorrow become his basic level of real action and morality.” 

If we take our minds back to when we were young, we all wanted to play and often wished we had been allowed to play longer when asked to stop playing.
Play is the genuine inclination of children, and like adults who feel inclined to work, children’s natural business and drive is play.

Play, as succinctly put by Dr. Maria Montessori, “is the work of the child.” When children are allowed to play, they have fun, learn, and thrive. Therefore, the teacher’s job is to provide opportunities for free-independent play and exploration hours, set a safe, stimulating play environment, observe play, correct behavior, and intervene for safety while approximating teachable moments.

In a nutshell, play is not an option, but a fundamental human right of children, as the United Nations recognizes. Play is food for children’s well-being and development; therefore, an early childhood developmental framework devoid of play is ineffective. Effective early childhood pedagogy is one based on play!



Types of Play


The following types of play help children to have fun, explore the environment better, learn and grow:

1.     Symbolic Play: A play scenario where children use objects and actions to represent other objects. A paper cone or banana becomes a phone on the ear. A child picks up an orange, and it becomes a ball to kick around. 

2.     Socio-dramatic Play: An advanced form of symbolic play that involves preschoolers using their imagination to make-believe (pretend play) roles and actions of others as they interact with others during play.

3.     Physical Play: Play activities that involve movement (crawling, walking, running) to explore the indoor and outdoor environments.

4.     Object Play: Play that involves the exploration of objects. Exploring objects requires hand-eye manipulation and all the senses to see how things work.

5.     Games Rule Play: Play activities that are guided by negotiated rules when play involves more than one person.

6.     Cooperative Play: A group play where children enjoy playing with others which fosters friendship, collaboration, emotional bonding of kindness and empathy, communication, negotiation, and problem-solving

Play symbol.jpg
Toddler boy.jpg

Preschool Themes


Themes help children to play and learn naturally and to experience the connectedness of learning activities. Children’s brains are not fully developed; therefore, repetition, pattern formation, interconnection to the basic form of the natural world they experience help with brain development and learning.
A child-centered curriculum employs a theme approach to learning, as themes help children’s brains form related patterns.

A theme-based program of activities spins an integrated web that shows a relationship between a single subject, its relationship with subsections, and daily fun, interactive play scenarios. Therefore, fun role-playing of firemen makes a connection with mechanics, trucks, water, shapes, colors, safe practices, drawing, letters (‘F’), numbers, writing, reading, social-emotional skills (kindness, empathy, listening).

Theme-based activities enable preschool teachers to be flexible and to take children’s interests and seasonal changes children can identify with easily into consideration. Springtime, Fall and the colorful leaves, winter and snow, spaceship as Nasa and SpaceX lift off.

Some Popular Themes

Amazing Me

Child Model

My 5 Senses

Finger Painting

My Family

Parents with Child


Farming Scene

Farm Animals

Free Range Poultry Farm



My Friends

Top View of Kids Playing


Community Helpers



Wild Flowers

Spring is Here

Colorful Tulips

Bugs & Insects

Brown Insect

Sports & Exercise

Children Playing

On the Beach

Colorful Beach

Sea life

Sea Turtle


Kids in the Museum


Rocket Launch


Public Transportation

Back to School

Back to School

Music & Sounds

Music Class


Park in the Fall

Fairy tales

Fish Tales


Christmas Decorations


Winter Sports
Preschool Teacher and Students
bottom of page