This is an age (18 – 36 months) of rapid mental and physical development. Children strive for autonomy as they begin to be aware of themselves, the environment, and the people around them. They wobble about exploring objects and the environment and start to transform into social beings with an awareness of self and the power of ‘ME’ with a voice.
Key Developmental Domains
Self Recognition: Children can recognize themselves in a mirror and photograph and can distinguish themselves from peers.
Attachment Building: Firm attachment is built with primary caregivers.
Separation Anxiety: Shows heightened separation anxiety when separated from primary caregivers.
Secondary Relationships: Children build secondary attachment with other familiar adults and separate more easily with parents-primary caregivers.
Emotions: Children express different feelings and emotions.
Rapid Mood Change: Children quickly go from one emotion to another and can throw tantrums easily when angry or frustrated.
Empathy: Children begin to show understanding of the feelings and needs of others.
Territorial: As the sense of self (“Me”) develops, children become territorial with play items and get upset when others take them.
Peer Play: Children can observe others play and join for a short time.
Independence: Children show a preference to do things by themselves but still need primary caregivers' security.
Predictability: Children need a clear and ordered routine for time sequencing and to participate in group activities.
Assertiveness: They begin to be assertive with needs and preferences and use ‘no’ and body language to show defiance.
Imitation: They imitate the words and actions of adults.
Cognitive Development: Reasoning & Problem Solving
Cause and effect: Children understand that actions come with consequences. They do and repeat things to trigger the effect.
Personal differentiation: Children can differentiate between self and others (“You and Me”).
Object manipulation: Children can pull objects apart out of curiosity and can put them together.
Object grouping: Children can group and sort objects by simple category (animals, food, cars, etc.).
Object Permanence: Children discover that objects still exist even when they are out of sight.
Object Exploration: Children engage in different sensory exploration using hands, ears, mouth, eyes, nose.
Exploring Texture: Children explore different textures, patterns and can notice the similarities and differences.
Locating Objects: Children can explore to find play objects.
Filling and Emptying: Children can fill containers with liquid and toys and empty them to explore what’s inside.
Puzzle Placement: Children can put together simple puzzles (3-5 insets).
Action relay: Children can tell others what they are doing.
Time Awareness: Children can follow time through routine and predict what’s coming next at the end of an activity.
Viewing People Differently: Children understand that people are different and approach individuals from different perspectives.
Rule Awareness: Children understand simple rules, instructions, and commands and respond to them. Sometimes they are guided by the caregivers to do so.
Cognitive Development: Language & Communication
Speaking: Children can speak in short sentences (“me like it,” “I do it”) and do mix actual words with jargon.
Nonverbal Communication: Children are great at communicating with their bodies and facial expressions.
Listening and Comprehension: Children can listen to simple instructions and commands and respond accordingly (“Go and bring that book”).
Attention with words: Children seek attention with words such as “watch me,” “see,” “ look.”
Book-Print Exploration: Children love to explore books and printed materials. They love to hear popular stories over and over.
Object Communication: Children carry out conversations with toys, dolls, puppets, and make-up stories.
One-to-one Communication: Children engage in one-to-one conversations and can ask questions such as “what’s this?”
Sensory Exploration: Children explore different sensory objects using hands, nose, eyes, mouth, and ears.
Dramatizing and Imagining: Children act out scenes and role-play characters in pretend play.
Art Materials Exploration: They explore different art materials for building, science experiments, drawing, molding, crafting, collage making, etc.
Art Expression: Children can express their ideas, observations, and interpretations through drawings, songs, and dance.
Music: Children react to music and melodic sounds. They sing along, dance, and can use musical instruments to make their music.
Sounds: Children react to sounds and imitate them (animal sounds, car sounds, musical objects, etc.).
Physical-Visual Images: Children explore the natural environment, identify pictures.
Print Care: Children explore books and can turn pages singularly.
Physical & Health Development
Gross Motor: Children develop strength large muscles and move about walking, running to explore the environment.
Heightened Mobility: They move parts of their body to engage in intensified exploration (jumping, kicking, riding, catching, climbing).
Balancing: They show dexterity balancing on one leg, beam, and stair climbing).
Object Control: They show an ability to move with an object simultaneously (running and kicking a ball).
Rhythmic Movement: Children can follow the rhythm and beats of a sound and move their bodies accordingly.
Fine-finger Motor: The small muscles of the hand begins to strengthen to hold crayon, pen, pencils to scribble, color and to draw straight lines and circles.
Healthy Practices: Children learn how to wash hands, cover nose when sneezing and mouth when coughing to protect themselves and others.