Early childhood is defined as the ages between birth and four. It is during this time period the child will reach physical growth milestones along with developmental milestones within the areas of play, speech, learning and social development. The external environment of the child is the most crucial at this point of life to develop social, cognitive and emotional skills.
Birth to 6 months
Milestones a child will attain during the first six months of life include copying sounds, sitting without propping; recognizing their own name, enthusiasm and enjoyment shown when playing with others and babbling. Babbling is the process of stringing together sounds such as ma, da, goo-goo and so on.
6 to 12 months
Between the ages of 6 and 12 months, a small child will begin to make simple gestures such as shaking her head back and forth to mean no, waving bye-bye, playing patty cake and showing with her arms "how big" she is by placing their arms straight above herhead. These simple gestures mimic what she sees during this time period. Other milestones include saying mama and dada, pulling herself up to stand and responding to simple requests.
12 to 18 months
It is between the ages of 12 and 18 months that a child begins to say single words, walk without help and recognize common objects when the word is spoken such as a spoon, blanket, cup, bottle and so on. Playing pretend like feeding a doll or wrapping a doll in a blank is a second milestone this age child will attain. The third milestone is pointing to show someone what he sees that is interesting.
18 to 24 months
Two to three word sentences begin to form between 18 and 24 months. Excitement is evident within the child when they are with other children. Coordination is beginning to develop, which allows the child to do such things as kick or roll a ball. Simple instructions are easy to follow and will point to common objects when prompted.
2 to 3 years
Development continues to advance rapidly during the 2 to 3-year time period. Milestones include copying the actions of others; the ability to carry on a two to three sentence conversation; make-believe play with others or with objects; affection is shown without prompting; and coordination is developed to the point of making climbing easy.
3 to 4 years
Throughout the third and fourth year of life, a child learns to hop and stand on one foot for two seconds. Playing with others is highly enjoyable and they would rather play with someone than play by themselves. Cooperative play has been learned and is handled with ease. Story telling and drawing a person with two to four body parts is mastered.
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