The Early Development Process

Birth to three is a critical learning period for all children. Within these years, children learn basic skills that will carry though the rest of their lives. But early development doesn't happen in the same way, at the same time, for all children. Each child develops at his own pace and in his own way. This section includes information and resources about how early development unfolds and what you can do to support young children's healthy growth. In addition, you can search by clicking on the developmental age ranges below to find out when typical developmental milestones occur.

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Developmental Milestones

Gross Motor Skill Development

Gross motor development includes skills that involve the large muscles of the body. These are the muscles that enable us to walk, kick, sit, lift, throw and jump. Development of gross motor skills depends upon a person's muscle tone and strength. Balance and coordination are also part of gross motor skills.
Gross Motor Development Handouts

Fine Motor Skill Development

Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements usually involving the fingers in coordination with the eyes. These skills include: writing, grasping small objects and fastening clothing. Development of fine motor skills involves strength, dexterity and fine motor control.
Fine Motor Development Handouts

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development for a child means the learning process of memory, language, thinking and reasoning. A child is also learning how the world works by playing and exploring, using their five senses. From birth to three, children learn many skills that will set the foundation for the rest of their lives.
Cognitive Development Handouts

Speech and Language Development

Communication is a three-part skill which includes expressive and receptive language and speech. Expressive language is the ability to communicate with others, which can include using gestures, sign language, words or word approximations. Receptive language is the ability to listen and understand what another person is saying. Speech is the ability to speak clearly and produce specific sounds.
Speech and Language Development Handouts

Social Emotional Development

The social emotional development defines the way a child interacts with others, the environment and herself. During the early stages of life, your child is developing bonds of love and trust with you. The way you cuddle, hold, talk to and play with your children will set the basis for how he they will interact with you, others, themselves and their environment.
Social Emotional Development Handouts

Self-Help Development

Self-Help skills are a child's ability to participate in caring for their daily needs. For children between the ages of birth to 3, these skills primarily relate to gaining independence in feeding and dressing.
Self-Help Development Handouts

Sensory Development

Sensory development includes the use of the five sentences senses to explore and learn about the world around you. This includes how you taste, smell, touch, hear and see. Sensory processing involves the way our brain processes information collected from these senses.
Sensory Development Handouts