The brain develops rapidly during the early years learning many skills during this time so it’s important to maximise their early learning experience now.
The term development…. It does not only refer to physical growth but rather is the process that children learn and master skills.
These skills are called developmental milestones. These milestones occur during predictable time periods. For example, we can expect a child to walk between 9 months and 15 months. They also happen sequentially, that means some skills need to be developed first before they can develop new skills. For eg. crawling and standing before walking and babbling before talking.
These milestones are grouped into the 5 Main Areas of Development.
1. Cognitive Area – the Thinking Skills – the ability to learn and solve problems
2. Social and Emotional Area – the ability to interact with others, help themselves and develop self control.
3. Speech and Language Area – the Communication Skills – the ability to understand and use language.
4. Fine Motor Area – the Small Muscle skills – the ability to use these small muscles specifically the hands and fingers for buttoning and writing
5. Gross Motor – the Large Muscle Skills – the ability to use these large muscles from sitting to skipping.
BUT here’s the thing … All children are UNIQUE and they develop at different rates in different areas so some children can meet their milestones earlier or later than their peers. However, there are definitely blocks of time when most children will meet a milestone. It is important therefore to use these milestones as checklists to ensure your child is typically developing and there are no warning signs or red flags. If they are outside a milestone window, it is recommended to contact your paediatrician or a specialist.
Before we get into exactly what milestones your child should be achieving, there is an important point to note.
There are 2 Main factors influencing Development in terms of the success and growth of your child. They are Genetics and Environment.
Genetics or Genes are what we pass onto our children, what they are born with, things that cannot be changed… like their eye colour or whether they are left or right handed.
Environment refers to the experiences children have at home, school, and community environment.
Our beliefs and attitudes towards children either enhance or diminish their development and affect their milestones as well.
So now that we know what areas they should be working on, what milestones should they be
achieving for their age.
Many educational websites have developmental checklists that you can use, including one from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) that you can use to check for children ages 3,4 or 5 years old.
At Fast Learners, we use our developmental checklist every term to evaluate and plan for our
We use it to :-
1. Start with what they know
2. Ensure we create activities to help in their weaker areas
3. To identify warning signs or Red flags.
These warning signs or Red flags are skills or behaviours that either have not been seen within the milestone period or should not be seen or done at that time. Either way, a visit to your pediatrician would be important as Early Intervention is Key. If you believe that your child is struggling with a particular milestone or may have a developmental delay, don’t second guess yourself… Check it out.
And I can leave you with 3 general tips that you probably are doing already but as a reminder:-
1.Interact with your child regularly
2. Show them lots of affection and love
3. Read, read, read.
Now let’s evaluate… how have you been doing? Have you been working in all areas of development with your child? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for more information every Monday at 3pm over on our Facebook page for the After School Advantage with Dairy Dairy on Surviving with preschoolers during Covid.
Next time we will talk about Preparation.