Infants and toddlers are in prime years for learning, exploration, and adventure. In order to stimulate their natural curiosity and discover the best ways to encourage emotional, physical and mental development, early childhood assessments are very useful for parents and childcare providers.
We provide ongoing, daily observation as well as formalized assessments beginning at 4 months. These evaluations assess your child on an individual basis. We look at strengths, talents, and any developmental concerns. Every child develops at his or her own pace, but here are developmental areas we look at as your little one grows.
Social and Emotional Skills
Social-emotional development begins at birth. At U-GRO Learning Centres, we support infant development through daily one-on-one time with each child to help develop positive, trusting relationships. Here are some indicators of infant social-emotional development that our team members may look for:
- Mimic facial expressions, like smiling when someone smiles
- Smile spontaneously
- Enjoy interacting with other people
- Like to play with caregivers
Here are some milestones children may reach as toddlers:
- Show feelings of affection for familiar people
- Show pride and pleasure at their own accomplishments
- Recognize themselves in the mirror and make faces at themselves
- Display and communicate feelings
Physical development generally looks at fine and gross motor skills. In infancy, team members are looking for fine motor indicators like moving arms together or apart, rolling over, grabbing objects within reach, and more. These are typical milestones, but they will vary depending on infants’ age. A lot of growth and development occurs in the first 12 months.
For gross motor skills, infants are learning how to their lift their heads, sit up with little support, bend knees, and crawl.
Once children reach toddler years, their ability to jump, catch a ball, stand on one foot, and run grows significantly. Toddlers are on the move!
For fine motor skills in toddlers, our team members look for things like grasping objects, stacking blocks, holding a fork or spoon, or using snaps or velcro when getting dressed. In our toddler classrooms, we work on fine motor self-help skills to help prepare children for preschool classroom.
Communication and Language
We teach infants sign language, including signs for “please” and “thank you!” We hope to see children use simple signs to communicate their needs before they are able to do so verbally. Sign language also helps infants use eye-to-eye contact and tactile contact, which can improve parent/child bonding.
Toddlers are at a prime age to absorb language skills. Many children may expand their sign language skills, followed by saying one or two words at a time. Toddlers are learning word and object associations. Generally, we look for children to continuously expand their vocabulary.
Newborns are taking in information beginning at birth. Infants are learning how to recognize faces and sounds, imitate gestures, and more.
Developmental assessments for toddlers promotes exploration, problem-solving, imagination and creativity. Children are beginning to understand and follow instructions. They are also more likely to want to be independent. Our team members seek growing interest in discovery at this age.
Infants should be exposed to books and reading, and we read stories in our infant classroom daily. At this age, we hope to see children show interest in books, whether that’s the images on the page or simply wanting to touch or chew the book.
Toddlers will begin to express interest in images or objects within the story. They may begin to recognize things in books that they come in contact with in their daily life. They may also develop interests in books on certain topics that they enjoy, like books about baseball or firetrucks.
Assessments look at how children’s understanding of math concepts. Toddlers begin to understand numbers and counting, patterns, shapes, sizes and groups of objects. One-year-olds may not be counting in order, but importantly, we hope to see them express interest in counting. Older toddler children may be able to identify some numbers, but we build upon these skills in the preschool classroom.
Science and Technology
Toddlers are becoming more familiar with nature at this age, learning about seasons, animals and living things. They also show an interest in sensory experiences. Our STEAM curriculum allows children to engage in activities that promote curiosity. At this age, it’s important for children to practice discovery.
Social studies for toddlers begins with learning their own sense of self. Eventually, toddlers’ understanding of important concepts like people and places should grow as they learn more about the world around them. Children may begin to identify the places in their neighborhood or community helpers.
Art and music expose young children to sensory experiences, and both are important components of our curriculum in all of our classrooms. Even our infants listen to music in their classrooms. Songs with simple hand gestures are great for infants to practice mimicking and using their hands.
Our toddler curriculum uses music to teach creativity, self- regulation, and other social-emotional skills. At this age, children are also using music to develop their cognitive thinking. For example, toddlers learn how to make connections to music and directions. For example, the teacher might use music for cleanup or to transition. Music is also a great way to teach toddlers new vocabulary.
Toddlers are learning how to use different tools to make things, like paint brushes or crayons. Learning how to hold a paint brush also reinforces fine motor skills. With art and music, toddlers are looking to express their individuality and practice creating something.
The purpose of early childhood assessments is to stimulate your son or daughter’s growth and provide opportunities to further develop their unique abilities. Effective educational experiences aren’t about a single evaluation, but instead about continued, personalized instruction that adapts to your child’s current and future needs.
U-GRO Learning Centres is a partner in your child’s educational journey from the very beginning. When your child transitions from the toddler classroom to the preschool classroom, he or she will continue to receive assessments to monitor progress.
Have further questions about our curriculum and how we assess your infant or toddler’s development? Reach out to learn more.