PBS Child Development Tracker

I have been reading up recently on childhood development.  I have two young boys (1yo + 3yo), plus I am planning to write up some more iPhone app reviews targeted at childhood development.  That is, reviewing the application or game based on educational/developmental merits rather than purely fun-factor.  Not having any formal training in the area, I thought it a good idea to do some reading.

The PBS site has some really interesting material, including a Child Development Tracker.  I thought I would summarize it here.  There is a lot more information available, but this might give you a taste to see if its worth reading further.  The following are the first sentences from full paragraphs on each point.

They state at the top of every page that each child is an individual and different. “Although children develop through a generally predictable sequence of steps and milestones, they may not proceed through these steps in the same way or at the same time.”  Still, I found this site particularly interesting reading.  Here is the summary:

  • One year old
    • Everything is new and interesting to one-year-olds.
    • Emotionally, one-year-olds are just learning to recognize and manage their feelings.
    • During this year, language skills typically progress from grunting and pointing to speaking single words and experimenting with simple word combinations.
    • Even though one-year-olds have no awareness of print at this age, they take pleasure in nursery rhymes and books with single pictures of familiar and related items.
    • As one-year olds play, they start to build their mathematical thinking by recognizing patterns and understanding shapes.
    • One-year-olds are just discovering their creative abilities.
    • Some of the most obvious changes that you will notice in your child this year are in the area of physical development.
  • Two year old
    • Two-year-olds enjoy using their senses and motor skills to explore the world and are highly curious about unfamiliar objects, events and phenomena.
    • New discoveries are also facilitated by a two-year-old’s blossoming language skills that prompt many “why,” “what” and “how” questions.
    • Children this age are laying the groundwork for reading and writing.
    • As they play and complete their daily routines, two-year-olds learn important math skills.
    • Physically, two-year-olds explore all the ways to travel from here to there, including rolling, crawling, creeping, walking, running, jumping and climbing.
    • Two-year-olds also use their motor skills to explore the creative arts.
    • Two-year-olds enjoy playing alongside other children, but usually keep to themselves.
  • Three year old
    • Three-year-olds learn primarily through exploring, using all the senses.
    • Language for three-year-olds is taking off.
    • Three-year-olds are also able to listen to and understand conversations, stories, songs and poems.
    • Children this age develop their logical reasoning skills as they play.
    • Physically, three-year-olds are less top-heavy than toddlers and move with greater sureness.
    • Emotionally, three-year-olds need familiar adults nearby for security as they explore and play.
    • Three-year-olds build on their abilities in the creative arts by developing greater control over their voices and by recognizing, naming and singing their favorite songs.
  • Four year olds
    • When it comes to learning, four-year-olds are developing greater self-control and ingenuity.
    • The language skills of four-year-olds expand rapidly.
    • Four-year-olds are building their knowledge of written language.
    • Four-year-olds have an increased capacity for learning math concepts.
    • Children this age can engage in long periods of active play and exercise.
    • Four-year-olds approach the world with great curiosity and use their imaginations to help understand it.
    • Emotionally, four-year-olds continue to learn what causes certain feelings and realize that others may react to the same situation differently.
    • In exploring the creative arts, children this age can identify changes in pitch, tempo, loudness and musical duration.
  • Five years old
    • Five-year-olds are creative and enthusiastic problem solvers.
    • The language skills of five-year-olds are well developed.
    • Five-year-olds begin to extend their oral language skills to reading and writing.
    • The mathematical thinking of children this age becomes more abstract and expands to include a greater understanding of the characteristics of shapes and numbers.
    • Physically, five-year-olds abound with energy and seek active games and environments.
    • Five-year-olds really want to know more about how the world works.
    • Children this age can manage feelings and social situations with greater independence.
    • In the creative arts, five-year-olds have a varied repertoire of music and are able to compose and arrange music within specified guidelines.
  • Six year olds
    • Six-year-olds have longer attention spans and continue to prefer structured activities to more open-ended experiences.
    • The language skills of six-year-olds become increasingly sophisticated throughout the year.
    • In first grade, children transform into true readers.
    • In mathematics, six-year-olds can typically count up to “200” and count backwards from “20.”
    • Scientific discovery for children this age is affected by their tendency to straddle the world between make-believe and reality.
    • Six-year-olds continue to enjoy moving in a variety of ways.
    • In terms of social and emotional development, six-year-olds are confident and delight in showing off their talents.
    • A child’s development in the creative arts varies greatly based on the child’s experiences with art, music, dance and theater.
  • Seven year olds
    • Seven-year-olds enjoy having the opportunity to share their knowledge with others.
    • The language skills of seven-year-olds reflect the increasing impact of language and literacy instruction.
    • In second grade, children recognize more words by sight and can apply reading comprehension strategies in flexible ways so that they read with greater fluency (speed, accuracy and expression) and independence.
    • Mathematically, seven-year-olds have strong number sense and estimation skills.
    • This is the age when children begin to effectively combine motor skills like running to kick a ball, rolling after landing from a jump or traveling in rhythm to music.
    • In terms of social and emotional development, seven-year-olds enjoy having and making friends and take pleasure in imitating the actions of friends and peers at school.
    • A child’s development in the creative arts varies greatly based on the child’s experiences with art, music, dance and theater.
  • Eight year olds
    • Eight-year-olds enjoy having the opportunity to solve problems independently.
    • The language skills of eight-year-olds continue to show the impact of their developing literacy skills.
    • In third grade, children select and combine skills and strategies to read fluently with meaning and purpose.
    • In mathematics, eight-year-olds can count to “1,000” and gauge the relative proximity of three- and four-digit numbers to one another.
    • Physically, this is the age when the amount of practice and play done in the earlier years begins to manifest itself in skillfulness and in what might be called “athleticism.”
    • When interacting with others, eight-year-olds enjoy sharing their viewpoints on a variety of topics.
    • A child’s development in the creative arts varies greatly based on the child’s experiences with art, music, dance and theater.

Additional side bar items for each age group:

  • Approaches to learning
  • Creative arts
  • Language
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Physical health
  • Science
  • Social and emotional growth

The site also talks about the use of computers with preschool children.  Here is what it has to say:

  • 6 ways to maximize computer time
    • Ask lots of questions as your child uses the computer.
    • Don’t let screen time substitute physical activity.
    • Introduce your child to software and Web sites that fan their creativity.
    • Get your child playing electronic games alongside others.
    • Find opportunities for your child to make decisions and try something new.
    • Keep one child or group from dominating program choices.

In future posts I plan to summarize some more sites like the Raising Children web site.

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